Top-seeded West Greene captures 4th straight WPIAL softball championship

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 2:08 PM

West Greene coach Bill Simms doesn’t mind seeing his team have a target on its back.

The reward is a mention along with the WPIAL’s great softball programs.

The top-seeded Pioneers won their fourth consecutive Class A title early Wednesday afternoon with an 11-0 decision over Union at Peterswood Park.

West Greene exploded for six runs in the third inning and kept up its offensive pressure the rest of the way to record the victory in a game shortened to six innings by the 10-run rule.

“It’s very humbling to be mentioned in the same neighborhood as Vincentian, Sto-Rox, Hempfield and all of them,” Simms said. “In our classification, we’ve had a nice run at things with this group of girls in several sports, not only softball.”

The Pioneers (19-4) have more work to do. West Greene will seek a third consecutive PIAA crown when the state playoffs begin Monday. Simms’ team will face the loser of Thursday’s District 5 final between Shanksville-Stoneycreek and Southern Fulton.

But first, the Pioneers will take a little time to savor their WPIAL domination.

“It’s awesome,” junior lefthander Jade Renner said moments after West Greene received its fourth set of gold medallions. “It’s nice when softball season comes, and we say we’re going to try our best to get back here. It’s always the best experience. It’s our highlight.”

Renner helped herself with three runs batted in on two singles and an infield grounder.

West Greene again employed its tried and true formula of a relentless offensive attack with bunting, slap hits, steals and taking chances on the basepaths.

Senior McKenna Lampe started the day by bunting to third for a single, then taking second on a bad throw to first. She took third on a passed ball and came home on Renner’s single.

It was much the same in third. McKenna Lampe bunted a single, stole second and took third on a dropped fly to short center off the bat of twin sister Madison Lampe.

McKenna scored on a sacrifice fly and Madison came home on Renner’s second base hit to left.

Katie Lampe, courtesy running for Renner, tallied on a wild pitch, and Brianna Amos and Jersey Wise both singled and scored as Kiley Meek’s triple was the only extra base hit of the inning as West Greene sent 10 batters to the plate.

Union, making its first WPIAL title game appearance, committed seven errors.

“It was fantastic getting here,” Scotties coach Doug Fisher said. “We’ve played great, but today, not so well. Playing a good team like this, it hurts to make errors. Other than that, the road here was great.”

With an offensive attack like that, Simms doesn’t mind serving as the visiting team.

Said Simms: “In a lot of ways, to be quite honest, they’re hoping I lose the toss so I don’t have to make the decision to go visitor or home. The men’s fast-pitch coach I played for in the 90s always wanted us to be visitors because we could hit. Sometimes when you can put pressure on them at the top of the order, it makes it nice.”

The Pioneers put the icing on the cake with a three-run sixth. Renner yielded only singles to Shae-Lynn Quinn and Raquel Zarlingo.

Sparkling defensive plays were part of the Pioneers victory.

Center fielder Madison Lampe went far to her left to snare Katelynn McCurdy’s drive in the second inning, and shortstop Kaitlyn Rizor threw out McCurdy from her knees in the fifth inning.

The Scotties (12-6) aren’t finished either. Union will take on the winner of Thursday’s District 6 title game between Glendale and Claysburg-Kimmel in the PIAA opener Monday.

Check out an archived video stream broadcast of this game on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

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