Westmoreland high school softball playoff preview capsules for May 14, 2024

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Monday, May 13, 2024 | 4:25 PM


WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 3A

First round

2-Ligonier Valley (13-5) vs. 15-Keystone Oaks (8-9)

4 p.m. Tuesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 10-Ellwood City/7-Burrell on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Cheyenne Piper, Ligonier Valley; Kylie Stahl, Keystone Oaks

Extra bases: Ligonier Valley has yet to miss the WPIAL playoffs since joining the league in 2020 from District 6. Piper is one of the WPIAL’s craftiest pitchers, using spin and movement to shut down hitters or turn them over to her defense. Piper threw a no-hitter against 5A Indiana last week, striking out 16 in a 7-0 victory. The Rams were outright section champions because they swept Southmoreland. … Keystone Oaks tied for fourth in its section with Brownsville and Seton La Salle, but those two did not make the playoffs. Stahl is hitting .452 with 28 hits, four doubles and 13 RBIs.

9-Yough (8-4) vs. 8-McGuffey (10-4)

5 p.m. Tuesday at Norwin

Winner plays: Winner of 16-Hopewell (7-11)/1-Avonworth (12-3) on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Kylie Odelli, Yough; Katie Grimm, McGuffey

Extra bases: Yough played a low number of games (12) but won enough of the key ones to make the tournament. The Cougars had three of their last four games postponed because of weather. Waldier carries the heaviest bat in the order, but watch Makayla Spoonhoward. … Yough made the quarterfinals last year but came up short in a slugfest with Southmoreland, 15-14. … McGuffey finished second in Section 4 behind one-loss South Park. The Highlanders won seven of their final nine regular-season games. Grimm has 10 runs and 12 RBIs, and Julia Barr is batting .500 with 13 runs and 11 RBIs.

11-Mt. Pleasant (11-8) vs. 6-Central Valley (11-2)

5 p.m. Tuesday at West Mifflin

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Deer Lakes (9-10)/3-South Park (16-1) on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Danica Trainer, Mt. Pleasant; Abigale Stewart, Central Valley

Extra bases: Perennial playoff team Mt. Pleasant finished fourth in a tough Section 3, scoring 125 runs on the way to a 19th straight postseason trip. The Vikings won six out of seven heading into their final regular-season game. Trainer is a hard-throwing freshman pitcher with upside. She also is one of the team’s top hitters in a mostly young lineup, along with Ally Jones, Kendall Waters and others. … Central Valley, the Section 1 runner-up to Mohawk, only allowed 41 runs in 13 games. The Warriors open the postseason on a six-game winning streak. Stewart and Emma Weaver have formed a nice one-two punch in the pitching circle. Central Valley lost in last year’s quarterfinals 10-0 to Avonworth.

12-Freeport (10-6) vs. 5-Southmoreland (14-2)

2 p.m. Tuesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 4-Mohawk (14-5)/13-Waynesburg Central (7-11) on Thursday in quarterfinals (site/time TBD)

Players to watch: Sydney Selker, Freeport; Amarah McCutcheon, Southmoreland

Extra bases: Freeport is back in the WPIAL playoffs after a one-year hiatus. The Yellowjackets had made the postseason the previous 12 seasons. Freeport finished tied for third in Section 1 with Deer Lakes. It won five of seven to conclude the regular season, including a 5-2 victory over No. 7 Burrell. Selker, an Akron commit, leads the way in the pitching circle, whereas senior shortstop Abby DeJidas gets it going at the top of the lineup. … Southmoreland is three runs separated from an undefeated regular season. The Scotties finished second in Section 3 with a pair of losses to champion Ligonier Valley, 2-1 and 1-0. They have won five in a row since those setbacks. Southmoreland won a WPIAL title in 2018 and came close last year, falling to Avonworth in the title game. McCutcheon, a senior shortstop, is a Cal (Pa.) commit. Junior Makayla Etling also is a strong hitter in the Scotties lineup.

Class 2A

First round

11-Greensburg Central Catholic (7-6) vs. 6-Charleroi (13-4)

3 p.m. Tuesday at Norwin

Winner plays: 3-Laurel (16-4) on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Makenzee Kenney, GCC; Emma Stefanick, Charleroi

Extra bases: Greensburg Central Catholic, under first-year coach Chelsey Frock, ended up third in Section 2. The Centurions almost beat first-place Serra Catholic in a 13-12 loss. Macee Magill, Grace Kindel, Julianna Sacion, and Madison Keller are other offensive threats for the Centurions, who reached the semifinals last season, clipping Charleroi in the quarters 4-3. … Charleroi, a third-place section team, picked up four straight wins before the playoffs, including shutouts against Peters Township and Ringgold. The Cougars opened the season in Campbell County, Tenn. In addition to Stefanick, Riley Jones is a key bat in the order.

Class A

First round

10-Monessen (7-6) vs. 7-South Side Beaver (12-4)

3 p.m. Tuesday at Montour

Winner plays: 2-Carmichaels on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Joey Hurst, Monessen; Alison DeLong, South Side

Extra bases: Section 1 runner-up South Side is one of the highest-scoring teams in Class A, averaging 12 runs. The Rams have scored 11 or more runs in four straight wins. DeLong is an experienced senior shortstop who has been in the lineup since she was a freshman. The Rams lost to Leechburg in the first round last season. … Monessen was third in Section 3 behind heavy hitters Frazier and Jeannette. The Greyhounds, who average 8.3 runs, lost 2-1 to Jeannette in the teams’ second meeting. Hurst not only bats over .500, but she is the top pitcher. Hurst had a seven-RBI game, and teammate Sidney Campbell drove in six in a game.

6-Jeannette (11-2) vs. 11-Northgate (6-9)

3 p.m. Tuesday at West Mifflin

Winner plays: 3-Chartiers-Houston (15-2) on Thursday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Grace Stein, Jeannette; Johna Abramowicz, Northgate

Extra bases: Jeannette is powered by Stein, one of the up-and-coming arms in WPIAL softball. Stein is 10-3 with a 0.53 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 79 innings. Stein also bats .500 and leads Jeannette with 15 RBIs. Abigail Shaw is hitting .413 with 19 hits and 19 runs, and Mackenzie Lewis has 18 runs. The Jayhawks made the quarterfinals last year and lost to eventual champion Union. … Northgate tied Carlynton for third in Section 1. The Flames are giving up 10.4 runs a game and have only won once since April 24. Abramowicz is hitting .509 with nine doubles, 30 RBIs and 15 runs. Cassandra Tadda has 22 RBIs and Zoy Lenhart has 17. Sa’Niyah Wilson has scored 19 runs. The Flames lost in the first round last year.

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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