West Greene Pounds Monessen to Repeat as WPIAL 1-A Softball Champs

Thursday, June 1, 2017 | 3:56 PM

The West Greene Pioneers won their second consecutive WPIAL title on Thursday at Cal U’s Lilley Field with a 10-0 win over section-rival Monessen. 

In two regular season meetings this year, West Greene won much closer games with finals of 6-2 and 1-0, but the Championship Game looked more like the two matchups from a year ago when the Pioneers defeated the Greyhounds 10-0 in the regular season and again, 10-0 in the WPIAL Semifinals on the same field as Thursday’s 10-0 win.

The tone in the 2017 1A WPIAL Championship Game may have been set with the coin toss.  Monessen head coach Bo Teets won the toss and admitted he wasn’t so sure he should choose home team, which he ultimately did. If he had reservations, it was for good reason, because West Greene came out of the gate strong to take control of the game before Monessen ever got to the bat rack.

On the first pitch of the game from Monessen’s hard-throwing Dana Vatakis, McKenna Lampe slapped a grounder to the left side and beat out an infield single. She would steal second and then score on a 1-out RBI single by Madison Renner in what turned out to be the game-winning run just three batters into the game.  The Greyhounds could have limited the damage to just the one run in the first inning, but two more unearned runs would follow when a 2-out ground ball by Jade Renner went through the legs of Monessen shortstop Maddie Guzzie and then was misplayed by the leftfielder Cara Wheeler.  The two errors allowed Kaitlyn Rizor, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, to score, and brought Marissa Rode to the plate.  Rode crushed a double to right-centerfield to drive in Jade Renner’s runner, Brianna Goodwin, and the Pioneers got out to a quick 3-0 lead. 

West Greene’s defense started strong as well with Jade Renner inside the circle. Guzzie gave Monessen a baserunner with a 1-out single but was forced out at second on a grounder by Vatakis, who was eventually stranded at second base.

The Greyhounds maybe ruined their best chance to score, when in the bottom of the second, they made a critical mistake on the base paths. Maddie Telegraphis led off the inning with a double over centerfielder McKenna Lampe’s head.  Then, when Carly Rock grounded to shortstop, Madison Renner looked Telegraphis back to second base before throwing on to first to retire Rock. Telegraphis still broke for third on the throw and a strong throw from first baseman Lexie Mooney across the diamond to Madison Lampe got Telegraphis for the unconventional double play to end the Greyhound threat.

West Greene added a couple of runs in the third inning after a Guzzie error got the inning started on a Madison Renner grounder.  Renner would score on her sister Jade’s sacrifice fly to center and Rizor, who had singled, scored on an RBI single by Mooney.

The lead would be extended to 6-0 in the fourth as McKenna Lampe led off with a single, moved to third on two wild pitches, and then scored on a Madison Renner RBI single. 

Monessen would again threaten in the fourth inning after Kelsey Bachinski produced a 2-out single and a Madison Renner error, on a grounder hit by Telegraphis, kept the inning alive. Rock would then single to left but Bachinski was gunned down at the plate on a strong throw from leftfielder Linzee Stover to catcher Shelby Morris and the Greyhounds were kept off the board.

Both teams stranded runners in the fifth inning and then West Greene put the game away in the sixth. Madison Lampe led off with a single and Madison Renner absolutely crushed a line drive over the left field fence for a 2-run blast.  Still with nobody out, Rizor tripled to centerfield and scored on a Jade Renner single.  Jade Renner’s runner, Goodwin, would score later on a Stover single to put the game into mercy rule territory at 10-0.  After a quick two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Monessen did get runners on the corners after singles by Bachinski and Telegraphis, but Rock foul-tipped strike three into the mitt of Morris for the final out.

Jade Renner got the win, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing 6 hits and no walks.  She struck out two. The loss went to Vatakis who struck out only 3 and walked two.  In a previous meeting during the regular season, Vatakis had punched out nine Pioneer hitters. 

For the Pioneers it marks the first time in school history that one sport has delivered multiple WPIAL titles. West Greene will move on to face District 5 Runner-up Shanksville on Monday in the PIAA playoffs, while Monessen will face District 10 Champion Commodore Perry.

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