Westmoreland PIAA softball playoff preview capsules for games of June 11, 2018
By: Jerin Steele
Sunday, June 10, 2018 | 4:42 PM
Hempfield (22-3) vs. Nazareth (21-4)
4 p.m. Monday, Chambersburg
Winner plays: Neshaminy (21-4) or Parkland (23-3)
Coaches: Bob Kalp, Hempfield; Tony Cocca, Nazareth
Players to watch: Maddie Uschock (Sr., P), Hempfield; Samantha Gorkos (Jr., P), Nazareth
Extra bases: Megan Monzo hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth inning to propel Hempfield to a 2-1 win over Baldwin in the quarterfinals. The Spartans are in the state semifinals for the third consecutive season and are seeking their third PIAA crown in a row. Hempfield has a 22-game winning streak in the playoffs. Uschock, a Dominican recruit, struck out 12 in the win over Baldwin. She has held opposing teams to three or fewer runs in each playoff game and has allowed one run or none in the last three games. The Spartans have won three games this postseason by a run and two were in extra innings. They won a state title in 1999 to go along with titles the last two years. Hempfield is on an eight-game winning streak. … Nazareth, the District 11 runner-up, blanked Latrobe, 6-0, in the quarterfinals. The Eagles are seeking their first state finals appearance. Gorkos is a two-way standout, hitting .527 with six doubles and two homers and she has a 1.77 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 114 2⁄3 innings. She has 11 shutouts. Serena Smith, a junior, has a .515 batting average with a team-high five homers.
Mt. Pleasant (19-1) vs. Punxsutawney (17-3)
2:30 p.m. Monday, St. Francis (Pa.), Loretto
Winner plays: Bethlehem Catholic (20-5) or Greater Nanticoke (13-6)
Coaches: Lauren Armanious, Mt. Pleasant; Al Pifer, Punxsutawney
Players to watch: Chloe Poulich (Sr., 3B), Mt. Pleasant; Kylee Lingenfelter (Sr., P), Punxsutawney
Extra bases: Defending state champ Mt. Pleasant is a game away from playing for a second consecutive title after knocking off WPIAL champ Belle Vernon, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. It was the second year in a row the Vikings exacted revenge on the Leopards in the state playoffs after a WPIAL playoff loss. Poulich was 2 for 3 in the win with a two-run homer. Carolyn Alincic struck out eight over 5 1⁄3 innings before Meadow Uncapher came in relief for the final five outs. The pair has allowed only 15 runs this season, and Mt. Pleasant has scored 166. … Punxsutawney, the District 9 champion, is looking to make its first state championship appearance in a dozen years after an 8-0 win over District 3 champ West Perry in the quarterfinals. The Chucks lost to Donegal in the 2006 state title game. Lingenfelter, a Penn State recruit, has 213 strikeouts in 101 2⁄3 pitched. She's allowed only 39 hits and 22 runs (11 earned). She also carries a .475 batting average with a team-high 10 doubles. Grace Aikens, a junior, leads the Chucks with a .592 batting average.
Southmoreland (12-7) vs. Phillipsburg-Osceola (23-1)
5 p.m. Monday, St. Francis (Pa.), Loretto
Winner plays: Holy Redeemer (19-2) or North Schuylkill (25-2)
Coaches: Todd Bunner, Southmoreland; Jim Gonder, Phillipsburg-Osceola
Players to watch: Jess Matheny (Fr., P), Southmoreland; Kamryn Harris (Jr., P), Philipsburg-Osceola
Extra bases: Southmoreland's surprising season continued in the PIAA quarterfinals with a 7-0 win over District 10 champion Hickory. So far this season, the Scotties won their first WPIAL title, made the PIAA playoffs for the first time and earned two state playoff victories. They are the first state semifinalist at the school, which opened in 1964. The Scotties finished the regular season on a four-game losing streak. Matheny is playing on a torn lateral meniscus that will require surgery once the season ends, but she struck out 11 Hickory batters in the quarterfinals. She also had three hits and three RBIs in the win. … The third time against South Park was that charm for Phillipsburg-Osceola which topped the Eagles, 8-6, in the quarterfinals after losing the previous two years to them in the state playoffs. The Mounties, the District 6 champ, are seeking their fifth trip to the state finals and first since their 2011 state championship. They won also won a state title in ‘07 and were runners-up in ‘10 and ‘00. Harris had 10 strikeouts in the South Park win. The Mounties' lone loss came to Bald Eagle Area, 6-5, in 9 innings April 25. They've won 15 games in a row.
Monessen (17-4) vs. West Greene (21-4)
2 p.m. Monday, Peters Township
Winner plays: Williams Valley (22-2) or Claysburg-Kimmel (19-4)
Coaches: Bo Teets, Monessen; Bill Simms, West Greene
Players to watch: Dana Vatakis (Sr., P) Monessen; Madison Renner (Sr., SS/P) West Greene
Extra bases: Monessen let a three-run lead slip away in the bottom of the seventh of the WPIAL finals against Section 2 rival West Greene, and the Pioneers walked off with a 5-4 victory and a third consecutive title. The Greyhounds advanced to the state semifinals for the first time with a 5-0 win over Union in the quarters. Monessen and West Greene split during section play with the Pioneers taking the first meeting 8-1 on April 6 and the Greyhounds winning the rematch 2-1 on April 26. Vatakis, a Robert Morris recruit, had a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts in the win over Union, and Destiny Habeck had a 2-RBI double. Vatakis had 132 strikeouts in 71 innings in the regular season. The Greyhounds topped District 10 champion Cambridge Springs, 3-2, in the first round. … West Greene, the defending state champ, is seeking a third consecutive trip to the finals. The Pioneers rolled past District 5 runner-up McConnellsburg, 10-0, in six innings in the quarters and won 12-2 over Glendale in the first round. Renner has a .567 batting average with 10 homers and seven doubles.