Vidic’s pitching powers Hampton to 1st-round softball victory over Greensburg Salem

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Monday, May 15, 2023 | 8:45 PM


When Cassie Vidic is grooving her pitches, you might hear a grunt or two come from the Hampton sophomore right-hander.

“I don’t know. I guess maybe it helps me throw harder and pitch better,” she said of the low-volume sound that signifies a little extra oomph and mph.

Vidic was grunting more than usual Monday as she powered No. 8 seed Hampton to a 6-1 victory over No. 9 Greensburg Salem in a WPIAL Class 4A first-round playoff game at Fox Chapel.

She gladly did the grunt work, striking out a career-high 14, giving up only three hits and issuing one walk for the Talbots (12-5), who collected their first playoff win since 2019.

After enjoying a cupcake, Vidic said she felt some relief after losing to Armstrong in the first round last year.

“I was looking forward to getting back here,” she said.

The Talbots advance to play No. 1 Elizabeth Forward (16-0) in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

“Offensively, we were too anxious,” Greensburg Salem coach Bill Wright said. “(Vidic) got us to chase a lot today. We weren’t in a rhythm and didn’t get comfortable.”

Greensburg Salem (10-8) also was seeking its first win in the playoffs since ’19.

The Golden Lions did not get a hit against Vidic until the fifth inning, when senior Heather Bolen launched a long single off the fence in left center. But the Golden Lions, down 5-0 at the time, left two runners stranded.

Another sophomore, Alaina Dittrich, connected for a double in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-0.

The Golden Lions began to move runners in the top of the seventh, but it was too late.

Senior Mia Peticca singled with two on to make it 6-1. But two batters later, Peticca was called for interference when she ran into a defender while running from second to third. That was the final out.

“That was a tough way to end it,” Wright said. “Mia is a senior, and she took it hard. But it’s only one play in a career, a career she should be proud of. She was making a softball play, and there was nothing she could do.”

Vidic struck out junior Gionnah Ruffner three times and did the same to senior Kaidence Thomas.

Ruffner, who had faced Vidic in travel ball, finished the season with nine home runs, one shy of the school record for a season.

The top five hitters for Greensburg Salem were a combined 1 for 13 with eight strikeouts.

“Cassie pitched a great game,” Hampton coach Ron Fedell said. “She did a nice job with their lineup. They were new to us, and we were new to them. The thing about Cassie is she maintains, and stays sharp.”

Hampton broke a scoreless tie in the third on a bases-loaded walk to sophomore Aliza Michielli.

Junior Jessica Lange followed with a two-run single, and Vidic reached on an error, allowing another run to score for a 4-0 lead.

“Everyone backs each other up on this team,” Vidic said. “We win as a team and lose as a team.”

In the fourth, after a leadoff double by junior Brooke Murgenovich and a walk to junior Charlotte Lomb, another infield error pushed in the fifth run.

“It wasn’t the prettiest, but the key is that you win, not always how you win,” Fedell said. “It’s nice to see the kids get the win.”

Hampton had only five hits against a pair of Golden Lions pitchers, freshman Alle Scarpa and senior Thomas. Both had five strikeouts.

“The mistakes killed us,” Wright said. “We tried to take the top three hitters out of their lineup. For the most part, we did that. But we didn’t play a complete game. This was the first playoff game for these girls.”

“We’re turning things around here. We started hitting this year. We played with 11 for awhile. We’re in a good spot.”

Hampton will lose only one senior.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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