Westmoreland County softball notebook: Playoff picture still cloudy

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 | 7:08 PM

A nearly washed-out week did not help to uncover more local qualifiers for the WPIAL playoffs.

The deadline to finish section games is May 7, although the league may have to grant an extension with this week’s rash of postponements.

The playoffs are supposed to start the week of May 17.

So, who has qualified from Westmoreland County?

Aside from a couple of regular visitors to the postseason, WPIAL newbie Ligonier Valley is headed to the Class 2A tournament. The Rams began the week with a 12-1 record and a perfect 9-0 mark in Section 2.

The other local teams to clinch are Norwin in 6A and Penn-Trafford in 5A. Penn-Trafford won a PIAA title in 2019.

The top four teams in each section qualify, as the format stands now. It could change based on how covid shutdowns affect schedules.

The race in Section 1-5A could get dicey. Armstrong (8-1) had a one-game lead over Plum (6-1), but Indiana (4-4), Franklin Regional (4-4) and Woodland Hills (3-4) also were in contention. Kiski Area was 3-5.

Touch ‘em all

The team to keep an eye on in 6A is Norwin.

The Knights etched their third straight win — a fine bounce back after a loss to Hempfield — with a 7-1 win over North Allegheny, a team that beat the Knights three times in 2019.

Bailee Bertani went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run to lead Norwin (10-2, 7-1) to a Section 2-6A victory. Madie Kessler and Olivia Mastrilli also homered. Winning pitcher Sydney Lokay didn’t allow an earned run and went 2 for 3 with a double. Norwin opened a two-game lead over Hempfield.

Special K

Some of the top strikeout pitchers in the WPIAL are from Westmoreland schools. That shouldn’t come as a shock since it seems to happen every spring, but the latest crop of fireballers are keeping with tradition.

Ligonier Valley junior Maddie Griffin tops them all with 148 punchouts, while five more pitchers from the area checked in with 70 or more Ks: Katie Armstrong of Burrell (115), Mia Smith of Penn-Trafford (86), Jordan Tallman of Latrobe (78), Hannah Simpson of Kiski Area (74), and Emma Augustine of Latrobe (72).

Sharing fields

Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson tried to get crafty with scheduling in an attempt to get games played in what has been a drippy week. He tried to schedule section games at local turf fields, but to no avail.

He tried Penn-Trafford, Plum, Seton Hill and even Cal U. Despite the schools offering their services, none of the fields were available because of other usage or water-logged conditions themselves.

Mt. Pleasant has been trying to play Southmoreland for weeks, but covid shutdowns and weather have forced postponements.

Greensburg Central Catholic played Jeannette at Seton Hill on Tuesday and was scheduled to play Monessen there Thursday.

Yorty to Waynesburg

Monessen senior Hannah Yorty is headed to Waynesburg to continue her playing career. The four-year starter is a pitcher and outfielder.

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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