Tri-Valley scores twice in bottom of 7th to defeat West Greene in PIAA Class A softball final

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Friday, June 18, 2021 | 1:54 PM


UNIVERSITY PARK — Tri-Valley scored two runs in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun WPIAL champion West Greene, 2-1, in the PIAA Class A softball championship game Friday at Penn State’s Beard Field.

Senior Allison Huhn’s double to the right-center gap scored freshman Grace Header for the walk-off win. Header’s infield single tied the score, driving in pinch-runner Samantha Masser from second base.

It was Tri-Valley’s first state title. This was West Greene’s fourth trip to the finals. The Pioneers won in 2017 and ‘18.

Tri-Valley benefited from a controversial call at home plate in the top of the seventh inning that kept the Pioneers from scoring a second run.

Taylor Karvan was trying to score on a throwing error and appeared to slide in safely, but the umpire called her out on a tag by the catcher.

West Greene coach Billy Simms took the high road on commenting on the play, even though a Tribune-Review photo shows the tag was late and the run should have scored.

“I have to be better as a coach making decisions,” Simms said. “You never know what’s going to happen, but I took it out of the player’s hands. They played too good of a game to not to come out with a win.

“We had the top of the order up, and I probably should have held her. But we’re an aggressive team and I sent her.”

Simms later instructed his players not to talk about the play at the plate.

Tri-Valley pitcher Emma Maurer had a good view of the play.

“It could have gone either way,” she said. “It was that close. I’m glad we got the call.”

West Greene (21-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning when BreAnn Jackson doubled home pinch-runner Anna Durbin.

The Pioneers’ defense kept Tri-Valley off the board through six innings.

In the fifth inning, right fielder Olivia Kiger gunned down a runner at the plate, and then catcher London Whipkey threw out a runner at third for an inning-ending double play. Tri-Valley had strung together three consecutive hits, but walked away with no runs.

“We call Olivia the banker,” Simms said. “She’s had so many putouts at first base from right field. She made a great throw, and London was heads up and got the girl trying to take third.”

West Greene managed five hits, including ones from Jackson and Kiger, who also singled. But it couldn’t get the key hit when needed.

Tri-Valley (25-2) collected nine hits, including two each from Alexius Snyder, Header and Huhn.

Simms said his team missed getting the tying run at the plate by a half-inch.

“We were a touch late to first base and they were wheeling the girl round,” Simms said. “It was good aggressive base running on their part.”

Whipkey, a sophomore, was holding back tears. She’s already set her goals to get back to Penn State next season. The Pioneers graduate two seniors.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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