West Greene drops Class A softball semifinal to DuBois Central Catholic
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 4:22 PM
And suddenly, it was over.
West Greene’s tremendous four-year run that included four WPIAL Class A softball titles came up short in a try for a fourth straight PIAA title game appearance.
A lead-off home run in the third inning by DuBois Central Catholic’s Shay Gulvas put the Cardinals in front, 3-2, and the slim margin held up in Tuesday afternoon’s semifinal victory over the Pioneers at Slippery Rock.
DuBois Central had come up short in the 2016 and ’17 state semifinals against West Greene. The Pioneers compiled a 96-12 record during the four-year span and 21-5 this year.
The Cardinals (17-9) will play (Williams Valley/Millersburg) for the PIAA title Friday at 11 a.m. at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Softball Park. Williams Valley had played West Greene for PIAA gold each of the past three seasons.
DuBois Central is 26-0 on the field, but nine games were forfeited because of an erroneous paperwork submission earlier this season.
Gulvas clubbed a drive over the left centerfield fence and felt good after connecting.
‘I was already home run trotting to first base,” the Cardinals shortstop said. “I felt good and knew it was going to go over. It was launched.”
Meanwhile, the Pioneers had a number of opportunities all day. West Greene left 12 baserunners stranded, including the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings.
“We had some chances there, we left the bases loaded twice,” said Pioneers coach Bill Simms. “We had two on another time and made a late charge at the end. But hats off to them.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Jade Renner led off with a smash to left that Maia Cogley caught slicing toward the foul line. Brianna Amos bounced out.
Jersey Wise walked on a 3-2 pitch and Mackenzie Carpenter singled with two strikes, sending Wise to third.
But Kiley Meek bounced out to deep short, with Gulvas making the play to first to end the game and put the Cardinals in the state title game for the first time.
Said Simms: “The last ball there, I thought when it left the bat it had a chance to sneak in the hole and the shortstop made a heckuva play on top of the home run, so she made some big plays on the big stage.”
“It feels good,” DuBois Central coach George Heigel said of his program’s breakthrough victory. “West Greene has been an issue for us, but we have a totally different team that we had two or three years ago. We controlled the top four batters in their lineup fairly well. We left some runners stranded on second and third, but they did, too.”
In the top of the first, a single by Carley Semancik scored Avery Sickeri and Mia Meholich, who both stole bases.
In the West Greene first, twins McKenna and Madison Lampe both singled and Kaitlyn Rizor hit a grounder to short. Gulvas bobbled the ball and hastily threw wide of third base, allowing McKenna to score. Madison came home on Wise’s sacrifice fly. On a slight misplay at third, Rizor was out trying to score.
“I might have cost us a run there when I sent Rizor, we could have scored a couple more there, and that’s on me,” Simms said. “I’m not going to pin it on one thing, these kids have buttered my bread for four years.”
After centerfielder Jordy Kisko made a shoestring catch on McKenna Lampe’s drive with runners on second and third, Heigel relieved starter Ashley Wruble with a 2-0 count on Madison Lampe and brought freshman Morgan Tyler to the circle.
Tyler intentionally passed Lampe and Rizor grounded to second to end the inning.
Said Heigel: “Wruble had her changeup going, but the strike zone got a little tight there and that’s what prompted me to bring Tyler in. She controls the ball a little better and throws a backdoor curve.”
West Greene will lose five starters but returns Renner and Wise as a nucleus.
Tags: West Greene