West Greene softball team downs Springdale, goes for 6th straight WPIAL title

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 9:40 PM

The West Greene machine just keeps on rolling.

The Pioneers have a chance at an unprecedented sixth consecutive WPIAL softball title after Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over Springdale in a Class A semifinal at Upper St. Clair’s Boyce-Mayview Field.

West Greene (14-3) will play Union on June 1 at Lilley Field at Cal (Pa.) at a time to be determined. Sto-Rox (2000-04) and Hempfield (2015-19) also won five straight WPIAL titles.

The Pioneers scored three runs in the bottom of the second and added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, making the most of their opportunities.

“We made our opportunities, too,” said West Greene coach Bill Simms. “You have to have a little bit of luck, too, anytime you win. We’re not saying we won because of luck, but it has to be on your side. But I thought we forced the issue, put some pressure on them. We had a couple of unearned runs, but we’ll take them.”

Olivia Kiger led off the Pioneers third with a walk. Freshman Payton Gilbert then slammed a triple to the right-field fence. Taylor Karvan walked.

Gilbert came home on a passed ball and Karvan on a wild pitch.

Kiger reached base on an error in the fourth and scored on Gilbert’s single. In the sixth, Lexi Six reached on an error to start the inning, advanced to second on a bunt by Kiger and scored on BrieAnn Jackson’s base hit.

Springdale (11-2) will play in the consolation game Thursday against GCC, with the winner entering the PIAA tournament that begins June 6. The Dynamos are coming off their first section title since 1998.

“They’re a good team, and they’re coached well,” said Springdale coach Anthony Pototo. “They’ve got some good players, their pitcher’s good and they’re solid defensively. They play smart, and that’s why they’ve won the WPIAL five years in a row. We knew coming in that we’d have to play a flawless game and make the routine plays. They got girls on base and made us pay for it.”

Pioneers senior Kiley Meek gave up five hits, three in the fourth inning. Brianna Thompson led off with the second of her three singles and went to second on Alexis Hrivnak’s single. Maggie Dvorsak followed with a single to right, and Thompson was thrown out at the plate.

The Dynamos scored on a groundout by Autumn Sprouse.

Springdale got on the scoreboard again in the sixth as Thompson came home on Dvorsak’s grounder to second.

Meek struck out 12, including three of the last four batters of the game.

Hrivnak also pitched a strong game, striking out nine and yielding just five hits.

“We ride her arm. She’s solid out there. Her and Brianna are a great 1-2 combination,” Pototo said. “I told the girls our season’s not done. We’ll come out to work Wednesday and find out who we play and see if we can make a run.”

Thompson made a great catch on a foul ball against the backstop in the first inning with her back to home plate.

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