West Greene wins 5th straight WPIAL softball title in dominant performance

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 1:59 PM

Not even a global pandemic can slow down the West Greene softball team.

What many thought would be a fifth straight WPIAL softball championship in 2020 had to wait a year after last season was postponed due to the covid-19 outbreak. Now the Pioneers have their one for the thumb on 2021.

For the fourth time in five seasons, West Greene captured district gold by winning the Class A title game in mercy rule fashion, defeating Union, 17-2, on Wednesday at Cal U.

In 2016, 2018 and 2019 , the Pioneers won with the 10-run mercy rule. This time, they cranked it up and won via the 15-run mercy rule in a game that last only four innings.

“It might be five on paper, but we are considering this one like a first one for this group,” West Greene coach Billy Simms said. “We had a dramatic changeover in our roster from the last one we got to play. We thought we had a good shot with last year’s team, but when we didn’t get to play. Then you have the big question mark, the unknown.”

West Greene took advantage of eight Union errors and nine walks to score 17 runs on only seven hits.

The top two hitters in the Pioneers lineup, senior Jersey Wise and junior Katie Lampe, had only two hits combined, but they reached base eight times and each scored four runs.

“I got walked every at bat, but I was able to put pressure on them with stealing bases and it worked out,” Wise said. “I knew if I started it, Katie and our whole lineup would fall right into place with it, which we did. We kept the bats rolling.”

Lampe drove in five runs, three coming on a bases-loaded triple in the second inning.

After scoring two unearned runs in the first, West Greene took control by sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring six runs in the second inning.

The Pioneers sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth inning and scored six more runs to make the score 17-2.

“We were figuring this would be a dogfight,” Wise said. “Union is a good team. We’ve met them before in the past, and we knew they would be hungry for us as well.”

While nothing seemed to go right for the Scotties on defense, the Pioneers were sharp in the field with Wise taking away two would-be hits with her speed in center field and left fielder Anna Durbin throwing a one-hop dart to catcher London Whipkey to cut down Mallory Gorgacz at the plate after the Union freshman had doubled home two in the third inning.

“We call those splash plays to steal off of (Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike) Tomlin,” Simms said. “We’re always looking to make the routine, everyday play and the splash plays will come.”

The eight errors were uncommon for a Union team that had played fundamental softball in postseason wins over Greensburg Central Catholic and Leechburg to reach the finals for a second straight season.

“That’s a big stage, and you’re over aggressive, and you’re trying to make things happen, then bad things happen,” Union coach Doug Fisher said. “As long as you can swallow that up and come back again, then we’ll be fine.”

Union (12-8) will try to come back in the PIAA playoffs Monday when it opens up against District 6 champion Glendale.

West Greene (18-2) ties Hempfield and Sto-Rox for the most consecutive softball championships in WPIAL history with five straight.

The Pioneers begin a quest for a third PIAA Class A softball crown in four seasons when they play the loser of the Meyersdale vs. Shade District 5 Class A championship game Thursday.

Watch an archived video stream broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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