Westmoreland County softball notebook: Ligonier Valley specializes in perfection

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Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | 9:01 AM


Ligonier Valley has only been in the WPIAL since 2020, but the softball program’s stay has been, in some ways, perfect.

How many programs can say they have thrown six perfect games in two years? How many have six perfect games in their history?

Senior Maddie Griffin tossed the fifth perfect game of her career Monday in a 3-0 victory over Seton LaSalle. She struck out all 21 batters, a most impressive feat, even for a player of Griffin’s ilk.

Just more than 19 days before that, Rams sophomore Cheyenne Piper pitched a perfect game in a 7-0 victory over Punxsutawney. It was her first career start. She struck out 15.

Griffin was perfect four times last season when she produced 11 no-hitters.

Ligonier Valley has shut out six opponents this season. The Rams reached the PIAA Class 2A final last season after losing in the WPIAL semifinals.

In Monday’s impressive outing, Griffin (5-2) only allowed one hitter to reach a 3-0 count.

Griffin has only allowed 11 hits and two earned runs in 4313 innings and has 93 strikeouts.

Dilly, Dilly

Dairy Queen is a key sponsor at Belle Vernon’s softball field, and there is incentive for the home team. Yes, ice cream.

If a player hits the Dairy Queen sign over the fence in left field during a game, the Leopards get free Dilly Bars.

Junior outfielder Maren Metikosh drove one off the square sign with an opposite-field homer Monday in a 9-6 loss to Elizabeth Forward. She later tweeted, “I don’t know what it is about me, but I always hit better when I have two strikes. … Free Dilly Bars on me.”

Metikosh was leading the WPIAL with a .750 batting average, starting 21 for 28 at the plate.

Playoffs approaching

May 11 is the final day for teams to complete section play. The top four teams in each section qualify for the WPIAL playoffs, set to begin May 16.

The top three WPIAL finishers in Class 4A, 3A and A, the top four in 5A and 2A, and the top two in 6A will advance to the PIAA playoffs.

Home sweet home?

The Norwin softball team thought it finally was going to play on its home field earlier this week, but North Allegheny asked to postpone the teams’ Section 1-6A game.

Norwin had been dealing with unplayable outfield conditions on its home diamond, which has a turf infield and grass outfield. But the field was ready to go before the change of plans.

Norwin has not played a home game since March 25.

The North Allegheny makeup will be May 5. Maybe.

Fresh impact

Freshmen continue to make noise in Westmoreland County softball. Another ninth grader to watch is Sophia Doherty of Derry.

The Trojans are winless so far, but Doherty has been a bright spot. When Derry nearly clipped third-place North Catholic in Section 1-3A, she drove in six runs with a double and a grand slam in a 7-6 loss.

Rankings update

Hempfield remained the top team in the latest Trib HSSN Class 6A rankings. One of only six undefeated teams in the WPIAL through Tuesday, the Spartans were 8-0.

Other local teams in the rankings included Franklin Regional (No. 4, 5A), Penn-Trafford (No. 5, 5A), Yough (No. 3, 4A), Burrell (No. 5, 4A), Southmoreland (No. 4, 3A), Ligonier Valley (No. 2, 2A) and Greensburg Central Catholic (No. 4, A).

Top games

Some local matchups to keep an eye on:

Monday: Hempfield at Norwin, Penn-Trafford at Latrobe, Mt. Pleasant at Southmoreland, and Serra Catholic at Ligonier Valley.

Tuesday: Hempfield at North Allegheny, Yough at Elizabeth Forward.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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