Westmoreland softball notebook: Hempfield pitcher Callie Sowers nears return

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | 6:21 PM

Hempfield is hoping to get senior pitcher Callie Sowers back sooner rather than later.

Sowers, who broke the thumb on her throwing hand during a scrimmage, has yet to pitch this season for the five-time defending WPIAL champion Spartans.

Longtime coach Bob Kalp said Sowers is “progressing.”

“She is doing some wrist snaps,” Kalp said. “She doesn’t have any pain, but she needs to be released by the doctor.”

Sowers initially said in late March she hoped to return “in a few weeks.” Kalp thought it would be more like a month.

Sowers went 18-6 with a 2.29 ERA and 121 strikeouts in her first year as a pitcher in 2019.

Hempfield got off to a 2-1 start without Sowers, leaning more on its bats in big wins over Greensburg Salem (17-4) and Franklin Regional (12-2).

Kalp has turned to freshmen Hannah Uhrenek and Peyton Heisler to fill in for Sowers. They also are gaining varsity experience in a trial-by-fire kind of way.

Ram tough

Ligonier Valley had two words for the WPIAL when it made its softball debut: Hello, world.

With one monster inning and a decisive debut, the Rams were off and running in District 7 after decades in District 6.

After scoring once in the first inning of their season opener, they erupted for 14 runs in the second to post a 15-0 victory over Brentwood in three innings.

Haley Boyd went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs, and senior Eden Krouse also drove in three for the Rams. Boyd, a sophomore, is playing at the varsity level for the first time.

“For this time of year, we’re pleased with where we are,” coach Mark Zimmerman said about his team’s talent level and makeup. “I’m excited about playing in the WPIAL. This is where we always felt we should be.”

Streak intact

Mt. Pleasant saw one streak come to an end, but the Vikings will look to keep another one going. A 6-4 loss to Norwin ended a 36-game regular-season streak for Mt. Pleasant, the top-ranked team in WPIAL Class 5A. The Vikings open Section 3 play Friday at South Allegheny, where they will put their 24-game section winning streak to the test.

“That loss helped us,” coach Chris Brunson said. “We had three walks and three errors (against Norwin). When you first get back at it, seven innings is a long time. We needed to get settled in and (not panic).”

Going, gone

Mt. Pleasant has plenty of firepower in its lineup, and the Vikings are proving it early in the season. They blasted eight home runs in their first four games, three by senior Haylie Brunson, two from junior Katie Hutter, and one each from senior Hannah Gnibus, sophomore Sophia Smithnosky and senior Courtney Poulich.

“We practice hitting them all the time,” Chris Brunson said. “They stand 20 feet behind home plate and they still pop em out.”

Sister act

Opponents of Latrobe thought one Tallman was a tough out. Now, there are two.

Senior Jordan Tallman, a Georgetown recruit, is joined this season by her sister, junior Jenna Tallman.

Both girls hit home runs as the Wildcats thumped Belle Vernon, 6-0, in the opener in five innings. Jordan Tallman also was the winning pitcher.

The Wildcats lost to Norwin, 8-7, but Jordan Tallman homered again.

State ranks

Heavy hitters Penn-Trafford and Mt. Pleasant cracked the first TribLive HSSN state rankings of the young season.

Penn-Trafford is No. 5 in Class 5A, and Mt. Pleasant is No. 4 in 3A.

The rest of the top five in 5A: Abington Heights (1), Central Mountain (2), Shikellamy (3) and Twin Valley (4).

In 3A, it’s Pine Grove (1), Bald Eagle (2), Bloomsburg (3) and Boiling Springs (5).

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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