Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week: June 7, 2021

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Sunday, June 6, 2021 | 10:06 PM


Every once in a while, the stars align and a special group of young athletes comes up through the program to make good teams great and great teams champions.

The sign of a strong program is when that special group comes and goes, yet the titles keep coming.

Take as evidence the West Greene softball team.

The Pioneers tied Hempfield and Sto-Rox for the longest WPIAL softball championship run when they defeated Union, 17-2, to win a fifth straight Class A crown.

“No, never saw five in a row coming,” West Greene coach and athletic director Billy Simms said. “One of our goals was to potentially win it all four years with what we thought was ‘our group to do it’. Once it started rolling though, it has just caught our program by storm with multiple kids wanting to pitch at all levels, kids wanting extra games and extra tournaments, parents taking their kids to everything extra we can schedule. But this group has always been competitive in all settings we have thrown them into. We have always played them up a classification to put them in difficult scenarios, and they have responded well.”

West Greene was facing Union in the finals for a second straight time after the Pioneers beat the Scotties to win gold in 2019.

The Pioneers scored two runs in the first inning then took control with a six-run second inning.

“The early start versus Union was huge,” Simms said. “They had a very large student section in attendance, with the victorious boys ready to get rowdy on their behalf. We knew we had to quiet them early and not allow them to become a momentum factor. The two runs in the first were big, and the second inning really took the wind out of their sails.”

The lone senior in the lineup is Jersey Wise. She did not have a hit but set the tone with four walks, three stolen bases and four runs scored.

“Our motto is: 1, be aggressive, 2, play hard, 3, have fun,” Simms said. “If we take care of the first three, the fourth will take care of itself, which is to win games. Being aggressive is coached into every facet of our daily practice. Speed is paramount, but being aggressive in the correct situations is probably more important than being just fast.”

Wise and junior Katie Lampe, the first and second hitters in the lineup, reached base a combined eight times and scored eight runs, with Lampe driving in five runs.

“The Jerseys and Katies of the world are going to be leadoff and No. 2 hitters in most lineups,” Simms said. “They are asked to set the table for the rest of the order, and when they are getting on, it is problematic for many teams.

While the bats were rocking, junior pitcher Kiley Meek got the job done in the circle, as she has all year. She limited the Scotties to two runs on four hits in four innings of work.

“Kiley Meek is our bread and butter,” Simms said. “Her work ethic is impeccable in and out of season, and her best quality might be her humility. She deflects any and all credit for success to a bevy of teammates and allows them to feel true team unity. Getting ahead of the hitters is the key for her, and she threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. She is complimented so well by our sophomore catcher, London Whipkey.”

Now West Greene will begin the two-week process of the PIAA postseason in pursuit of a third state softball championship in the last five years.

First up Monday is a meeting against District 5 runner-up Shade.

“We don’t know much about Shade,” Simms said. “Have never played them before, and we had a parent go watch them against Meyersdale. Like most teams, we tend to focus more on how we play, and what we can control about our game, than desperately trying to get a formal scouting report. Knowing an opponent is nice, but it really boils down to how you play that day, anyway.”

2021 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week:

Week 9 — Beaver Bobcats

Week 8 — Ellwood City Wolverines

Week 7 — Armstrong River Hawks

Week 6 — Laurel Spartans

Week 5 — Avonworth Antelopes

Week 4 – Montour Spartans

Week 3 — Central Valley Warriors

Week 2 — North Hills Indians

Week 1 — Norwin Knights

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