West Greene rallies past Monessen for third consecutive WPIAL Class A softball title

Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 4:36 PM

Good things came in threes for the West Greene softball team Thursday.

The top-seeded Pioneers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat No. 2 Monessen, 5-4, in the WPIAL Class A championship game at Seton Hill and captured their third consecutive district title.

Now, the Pioneers (19-4) can set their sights on getting back to Penn State to defend their PIAA title.

“I read in the paper that there has only been a couple teams win three in a row,” West Greene coach Bill Simms said. “To win one of them is unbelievable, but to win three is beyond words.”

West Greene second baseman Kaitlyn Rizor reached on an infield single that scored courtesy runner Brianna Goodwin from third base with the winning run to cap off a wild seventh inning.

Monessen (15-4) took a 4-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning on a two-run double by Destiny Habeck, but winning pitcher Jade Renner's two-run double in the bottom of the inning tied the score, 4-4.

“I've been in a hitting slump, and I was trying to get a few key hits,” Jade Renner said. “My previous at-bat when I singled got my confidence up. Apparently, when Madison (Renner) gets intentionally walked I hit better. I think it's a little anger that they walked her to get to me.”

Monessen jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double by Hannah Yorty.

West Greene scratched single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the score on RBI hits by Jade Renner and Rizor.

“My teammates are amazing,” Jade Renner said. “They're the best defensive team I've ever seen. I know I have someone backing me up. I trust my team that we'll come back.

“After I gave up the big hit in the seventh, I felt I owed so much to my team. I felt awful, and I felt I had to give back.”

The game stayed tied until the seventh when Monessen struck with some two-out hits. Pitcher Dana Vatakis singled and stole second. Sydney Caterino bunted for a hit and swiped second. That's when Habeck stepped to the plate and drilled a double to right.

“I think it's just karma, you have to be good from top to bottom, and I think we get pressure on every at-bat,” Simms said. “When you get down to the finals, I can't take my hat off enough for Bo and Dana over there. Monessen did a (heck of a) job, and it's a shame one of these two teams got to come up short.”

West Greene, which struggled against Vatakis, got an infield hit by McKenna Lampe. After she moved to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch, Monessen coach Bo Teets decided to walk the dangerous Madison Renner, a Cal (Pa.) recruit.

Jade Renner then drilled a double to the left-center gap to tie the score. After Goodwin moved to third on a passed ball, she scored when Rizor beat out an infield hit.

“Against a great team like that you can't make mistakes, and it was more of my mistakes,” Teets said. “I ran us out of innings, and this falls on my shoulders squarely. We battled and battled. We gave them everything they could handle, and we just didn't make a play when we needed to.”

Both teams will advance to the PIAA playoffs, which begin Monday.

West Greene will face District 6 runner-up Glendale (15-6) at 2 p.m. at Peterswood Park. Monessen takes on District 10 champion Cambridge Springs (10-8) at a site and time to be determined.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.


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