Westmoreland County WPIAL softball playoff capsules for Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM


WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 6A

Semifinals

5-Norwin (9-10) vs. 1-Hempfield (18-1)

5 p.m. Wednesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 6-Canon-McMillan (7-11)/1-Seneca Valley (19-1) in championship game (date, time TBD) at Cal (Pa.)’s Lilley Field

Players to watch: Bailey Snowberger, Norwin; Maggie Howard, Hempfield

Extra bases: Hempfield is looking for back-to-back WPIAL titles but must overcome a section rival for a third time this season to get back to the finals. The Spartans had a quarterfinal bye and have not played a game since May 8. Nine starters are back for the Spartans, who have only 13 errors in 19 games and have 48 stolen bases. Pitcher Riley Miller has proven to be at her best in the postseason. Howard is hitting .540 with 16 RBIs and Lauren Howard bats .488 with 23 hits. … Norwin, which dropped section games to Hempfield by scores of 6-0 and 9-1, defeated No. 4 Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals, 3-1. Pine-Richland beat the Knights twice this season, 13-1 and 5-2. Josey Michalski, Addison Grimes, Rachel Minteer and Diem Wardzinski all doubled, while pitcher Brooklyn Kotch allowed five hits in the quarterfinal win. Snowberger, a Holy Cross commit and leadoff hitter, anchors the defense. … This is a semifinal rematch from last season when the teams met at Gateway and Hempfield won, 8-5. Norwin used home runs by Maddie Kessler, Alyssa McCormick and Snowberger to build a 5-1 lead before the Spartans’ bats came to life and Miller settled in to shut down the Knights. Peyton Heisler homered, Ella Berkebile had two RBIs, and a few walks allowed Hempfield to pull in front to stay. Eight-time WPIAL champion Hempfield also knocked out Norwin in the 2022 quarterfinals, 5-4. … Norwin has never played in the WPIAL finals in softball.

Class 5A

Semifinals

4-Penn-Trafford (14-5) vs. 1-Armstrong (16-3)

3 p.m. Wednesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 11-Latrobe (11-10)/10-Thomas Jefferson (10-7) in championship game (date, time TBD) at Cal (Pa.)’s Lilley Field

Players to watch: Erin Drotos, Penn-Trafford; Emma Paul, Armstrong

Extra bases: Big-hitting Penn-Trafford stomped Shaler, 13-4, in the quarters to reach the semifinals for the third time in five seasons. Mack Keenan homered twice and drove in three, while Cam Ponko and Drotos also homered, the latter also knocking in three RBIs in the 17-hit barrage. The Warriors now get to play the team they lost to in the 2022 WPIAL championship game and PIAA semifinals. Armstrong, which has outscored teams 182-55, took care of Connellsville in the quarters, 4-1. Paul and Lily Guthrie each went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, with Paul hitting a homer. Madison Baker was the winning pitcher. She struck out 10 and scattered five hits. The Section 2 champs lost in the WPIAL final last year and also reached the PIAA semifinals.

11-Latrobe (11-10) vs. 10-Thomas Jefferson (10-7)

7 p.m. Wednesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 4-Penn-Trafford (14-5)/1-Armstrong (16-3) in championship game (date, time TBD) at Cal (Pa.)’s Lilley Field

Players to watch: Sarah Blossey, Latrobe; Zoe Krizan, Thomas Jefferson

Extra bases: It’s a surprise matchup in the final four with a pair of double-digit seeds. Latrobe returns to the semis for the first time since 2018 when it was the WPIAL runner-up to Hempfield. In a 5-4 upset of No. 3 West Allegheny in the quarterfinals, Kayla Williams struck out seven and earned the win, while also driving in three runs, and Corrine Wright went 3 for 3. Williams (Slippery Rock) and Wright (Gannon) are future PSAC players. Latrobe lost in the quarterfinals last year to eventual champion Trinity, 13-3. … Thomas Jefferson also pulled a stunner in the quarterfinals, knocking back No. 2 North Hills, 6-4. Emma DiSimone went 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBIs, Allie Chalovich drove in two, and Morgan Alisesky and Krizan each went 2 for 3. Aubrey Shaffer was the winning pitcher. Thomas Jefferson last made the semifinals in 2019 when it lost to Mt. Pleasant. The Jaguars have one WPIAL title, in 2014.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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