Westmoreland softball playoff preview capsules: Games of Wednesday, May 15, 2019
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 5:43 PM
11-Greensburg Salem (6-11) vs. 6-Ambridge (13-3)
6 p.m. at Hampton
Winner plays: 3-Knoch (14-0) on Monday (time, site TBD)
Coaches: Rachel Brannigan, Greensburg Salem; Jim Huwar, Ambridge
Players to watch: Nikki Melinger, Sr., CF, Greensburg Salem; Kimmy Kuzma, Sr., C, Ambridge
Extra bases: Greensburg Salem played in arguably the toughest section in 4A with No. 1 Mt. Pleasant (15-0) and No. 5 Yough (12-5) ahead of them in the standings. The Golden Lions lost three of their final four to close the regular season but fell 1-0 to Yough. Greensburg Salem won a WPIAL Class 3A title in 2013. … Ambridge finished second in Section 3 behind third-seeded Knoch (16-1). The high-scoring Bridgers, who won eight of their last nine, like to hit the long ball. The Bridgers have more than 20 home runs. Kuzma had a four-home run game in an 18-6 win against Central Valley.
5-Yough (12-5) vs. 12-Central Valley (6-9)
6 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Elementary, Peters Township
Winner plays: 4-Thomas Jefferson (14-3) on Monday (time, site TBD)
Coaches: Art Harvey, Yough; Ray Fernandez, Central Valley
Players to watch: Kierra Waywood, Sr., P, Yough; Macy Freco, Sr., C, Central Valley
Extra bases: Yough has reached the WPIAL semifinals four straight times and advanced to the PIAA semis the last two years. The Cougars won a state title in 2016. Waywood has been a mainstay in the circle. She has 146 strikeouts. Yough is on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded Mt. Pleasant (15-0), which it lost to twice in Section 1 play. … Central Valley has endured a feast-or-famine kind of season. It lost four of its final five games by a combined score of 49-23. A 23-5 win over Blackhawk clinched a playoff berth. The Warriors missed the playoffs last season.
3-Hempfield (13-6) vs. 6-Baldwin (12-3)
6 p.m. at Gateway
Winner plays: Winner of 2-Canon-McMillan (12-4) vs. 7-Seneca Valley (14-5) on Wednesday (time, site TBD)
Coaches: Bob Kalp, Hempfield; Gina Fuchs, Baldwin
Players to watch: Laura Fox, Sr., CF, Hempfield; Addie Tagg, Sr., P, Baldwin
Extra bases: Hempfield is the four-time defending WPIAL and three-time defending PIAA champions and overcame a bumpy schedule to claim a share of its fifth straight section crown. Sophomore catcher Emma Hoffner, a Division I recruit, leads the offense, along with Fox, a Pitt-Johnstown commit. … Baldwin also has won five straight section titles and has played in the WPIAL semifinals four consecutive times. The Highlanders lost to Hempfield in the Class 4A title game three years ago. Tagg is one of the top dual-threat players in the classification. The Highlanders average 10.4 runs. They beat Allderdice, 30-0.
5-Norwin (12-7) vs. 4-Bethel Park (12-3)
4 p.m. at Gateway
Winner plays: Winner of 1-North Allegheny (13-6) vs. No. 8 Upper St. Clair (13-6) on Wednesday (time, site TBD)
Coaches: Brian Mesich, Norwin; Heather Scott, Bethel Park
Players to watch: Victoria Shimko, Jr., 3B; Delaney Nagy, So., P, Bethel Park
Extra bases: Norwin was part of a three-way tie for the Section 2 championship with Hempfield and North Allegheny. The Knights swept perennial power Hempfield but were seeded two spots lower. Norwin made the semifinals last year but lost to Hempfield, 5-3. The Knights have five players committed to colleges: senior catcher Sarah Russel (IUP), senior outfielder Alexandra Brentzel (Clarion), senior shortstop Hailie Culbertson (Alderson-Broaddus) and junior infielder Leah Yoder (Alderson-Broaddus). … Bethel Park shared the Section 1 title with Baldwin and Canon-McMillan. The Black Hawks scored 183 runs (12.2 a game) but lost to Upper St. Clair, 10-2, and Baldwin, 1-0. Bethel Park has lost in the first round four straight years. Its last playoff win was in 2014, 6-0 over Norwin. The Black Hawks have several sophomores and freshmen in the lineup.
Heritage Conference championship
Marion Center (17-1) at Ligonier Valley (16-2)
7 p.m. at Donaldson Field
Coaches: Mark Zimmerman, Ligonier Valley; Melissa Bishop, Marion Center
Players to watch: Jane Garver, Jr., P, Ligonier Valley; Morgan Straw, Sr., IF, Marion Center
Extra bases: Ligonier Valley won the South Division with a perfect record. The Rams handed Marion Center its lone loss, 12-2 in six innings April 23. Courtney McKlveen had four hits, including a home run, and seven RBIs for the Rams in that game. Garver is a Robert Morris recruit and is a threat in the circle and at the plate. … Marion Center has shown a propensity for scoring runs, led by Straw, who went 3 for 3 with four RBIs, and junior Hailey McMunn, who went 3 for 4 with four runs, in the team’s most recent game, a 12-4 win over Northern Cambria.
— Bill Beckner Jr. and Jerin Steele
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .