Westmoreland PIAA playoff preview capsules for June 14, 2021

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Sunday, June 13, 2021 | 4:49 PM


PIAA softball playoffs

Class 2A

Semifinals

Ligonier Valley (21-2) vs. Union City (20-1)

2:30 p.m. Monday at Slippery Rock University

Coaches: Mark Zimmerman, Ligonier Valley; Jerry VanZandt, Union City

Players to watch: Ruby Wallace, So., Ligonier Valley; Cyaira Zielinski, Sr., Union City

Winner plays: Winner of Line Mountain/Williams Valley (21-4) 11 a.m. June 17 in championship at Beard Field, Nittany Lion Softball Park, Penn State

Extra bases: A long day in the mountains of Cambria County was worth it Thursday for Ligonier Valley, which clinged to a 1-0 lead through more than two hours worth of rain delays at Mt. Aloysius before its quarterfinal was moved to Central Cambria High School, where it was called because of rain. Because the contest went five innings, it counted as a full game and the Rams moved on to the semis for the first time in school history. Wallace provided the only offense with an RBI double to score Bella Vargulish in the top of the fourth, and pitcher Maddie Griffin did the rest. Cheyenne Piper and Bella Schueltz also had hits. Griffin allowed one hit and a double but struck out 11 to bring her season total to 287 Ks. The Rams have allowed 10 runs all season. Zimmerman is in his 22nd season, but this is the program’s first in the WPIAL. … District 10 runner-up Union City edged past WPIAL champion Laurel Monday, 6-5 in 10 innings, to advance to the state semifinals for the first time. Laurel was down to its last strike but homered to tie it in the seventh to force extras. Heading into the state postseason, the Bears had a .456 team average, 38 stolen bases, 15 home runs and a 0.80 ERA. Sophomore Elylee Zielinski was hitting .508 with 32 hits, 30 runs and 27 RBIs. Junior Abigail Tingley had a .516 average and 16 RBIs, and Cyaira Zielinski also had impressive numbers (.467, 3 HRs, 29 RBIs, 27 runs). Tingley is the main pitcher. She had 18 wins and 157 Ks in the 95 2/3 innings. She one-hit Moniteau in the state first round. While the Bears only have a small taste of WPIAL pitching, they hammered District 10 arms, scoring 10 or more runs 13 times, including wins of 35-0, 25-0 and 23-0.

Class 3A

Semifinals

Mt. Pleasant (19-3) vs. Punxsutawney (11-10)

1 p.m. Monday at St. Francis (Pa.), Loretto

Coaches: Chris Brunson, Mt. Pleasant; Al Pifer, Punxsutawney

Players to watch: Abby Swank, Jr., Mt. Pleasant; Ciara Toven, Fr., Punxsutawney

Winner plays: Winner of Central Columbia (13-4)/Mid-Valley (21-2), 1:30 p.m. June 18 at Beard Field, Nittany Lion Softball Park, Penn State

Extra bases: Mt. Pleasant won its quarterfinal, which was split over two days, 3-0 over Avonworth, to secure its fourth straight state semifinal appearance. The game began Monday at Norwin, was suspended after a near-two-hour weather delay and resumed Friday at Fox Chapel. Swank had a two-run double to get the offense started, and senior Hannah Gnibus tripled in a run. Senior Mary Smithnosky moved to 5-0 in the postseason, and she has pitched a shutout in every game. Her scoreless innings streak is at 33. Senior Haylie Brunson played the field and hit after only doing the latter in the first round when she dislocated her finger during warmups. The Vikings are aiming to become the first team in school history to win a WPIAL and PIAA title in the same year. … Punxsutawney, the champion of District 9, advanced to the semis with a 6-4 win over Cambria Heights. The Chucks, with their unsavory yet deceiving record, are now a win away from playing for a state title at University Park. The Chucks led then-one-loss Cambria Heights, 6-0, before holding on for the victory. Toven hit a three-run homer for Punxsy, and ace Kendal Johnson pitched a complete game with just two earned runs and six hits. Catcher Madi Shiock doubled, and shortstop Brooke Skarbek and center fielder Allie Meko made key defensive plays. Punxsutawney made the 4A state tournament in 2019 and lost to Elizabeth Forward in the quarterfinals 8-2. Elizabeth Forward then defeated Mt. Pleasant in the semifinals 2-1.

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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