Westmoreland WPIAL softball playoff capsules: Games for Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Monday, May 15, 2023 | 4:36 PM


WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 3A

4-Burrell (11-5) vs. 13-Mt. Pleasant (11-8)

3 p.m. Tuesday at Plum

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Mohawk (11-4)/12-South Park (11-5) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Katie Armstrong, Burrell; Sophia Smithnosky, Mt. Pleasant

Extra bases: The only all-Westmoreland matchup in any bracket matches Armstrong, who has more than 140 strikeouts, against Mt. Pleasant’s poised lineup. Burrell won seven of its last eight to close the regular season, including a 10-0 win over Deer Lakes. The Bucs finished second in Section 1, three games behind Avonworth, the top seed in the tournament. Armstrong also is a key hitter who hits over .470. … The 2021 WPIAL champion, Mt. Pleasant has been a perennial playoff team for the last decade-plus. The Vikings are in the playoffs for the 18th straight time. They hit a slide late in the season, losing three of their last five, including losses of 10-1 and 13-5 to Southmoreland and Yough. Smithnosky tossed a shutout, though, in a 3-0 win over Connellsville.

2-Southmoreland (14-2) vs. 15-McGuffey (8-6)

2 p.m. Tuesday at Waynesburg University

Winner plays: Winner of 7-Yough (9-4)/10-Ellwood City (11-5) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Amarah McCutcheon, Southmoreland; Julia Barr, McGuffey

Extra bases: Southmoreland earned the No. 2 seed after winning its first section title since 2001. The Scotties pulled away from a tight section to win by two games over Yough. McCutcheon is one of the top power-hitting shortstops in the WPIAL with 10 home runs. But there are several other key hitters, including Brynn Charnesky, Mikaela Etling, Gwen Basinger and others. Pitcher Maddie Brown is steady, like the defense behind her. … McGuffey finished tied for third in Section 4 behind Waynesburg and South Park. The Highlanders had three of their final five games postponed. Julia Barr hits over .500 to lead the offense, and McKenna Crothers was nearing 100 strikeouts.

7-Yough (9-4) vs. 10-Ellwood City (11-5)

5 p.m. Tuesday at North Allegheny

Winner plays: Winner of 2-Southmoreland (14-2)/15-McGuffey (8-6) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Adoria Waldier, Yough; Amber McQuiston, Ellwood City

Extra bases: Yough finished second in Section 2 behind Southmoreland, the team they could see again in the next round. The Cougars lost both games. Yough beat South Allegheny, 12-2, and Mt. Pleasant, 13-5, to close out section play with momentum. Abbey Zuraw has been hitting the ball well, and leadoff hitter McKenzie Pritts is coming on of late. The Cougars have reached the quarterfinals eight straight times. They lost to Montour, 2-1, last year. They won a WPIAL title in 2011 and a PIAA title in 2016. … Ellwood City won a WPIAL title in 2017 and ‘16 (2A) and was the runner-up to Mt. Pleasant in ‘21. McQuiston is a crafty pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls and pop-ups. She has pitched in a number of postseason games, so her experience will be valued. The Lancers were second in Section 2 after Mohawk, Hopewell and Central Valley tied for first.

11-Ligonier Valley (8-7) vs. 6-Hopewell (10-6)

5 p.m. Tuesday at Plum

Winner plays: Winner of 3-Waynesburg (14-3)/14-Valley (6-10) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Cheyenne Piper, Ligonier Valley; Ava Compton, Hopewell

Extra bases: Ligonier Valley has made the playoffs every year since joining the WPIAL in 2020 (there was no season in 2020). The Rams made the WPIAL semis and PIAA final in 2021 but lost in the first round last year to Bentworth. The Rams played in 2A the last two years. Piper has filled in well for all-timer Maddie Griffin, a strikeout machine who threw 11 no-hitters at Ligonier Valley before moving on to Youngstown State. Piper, Sydnee Foust, and Ruby Wallace are offensive catalysts. … Hopewell, yet another Beaver County school for a Ligonier Valley team to face in the WPIAL postseason, was a tri-section champion with Mohawk and Central Valley. The Vikings, who have not been to the playoffs since 2017, split with both teams. Compton was leading the team with a .536 average, and pitcher Mya Parish had over 80 strikeouts.

5-Greensburg Central Catholic (11-2) vs. 12-Bentworth (6-8)

5 p.m. Tuesday at West Mifflin

Winner plays: Winner of 4-Charleroi/13-Steel Valley Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Grace Kindel, Greensburg Central Catholic; Nora Lindley, Bentworth

Extra bases: Greensburg Central Catholic could not overcome the loss of two injured starters in its section finale, and fell to Serra Catholic, 13-0. Those girls could be back for the first round. Emma Henry is one of the top all-around players in the WPIAL. The Central Connecticut State commit is hitting over .550 and is the ace pitcher. Other offensive weapons include Kindel, Erica Rodriguez, Macee Magill and Makensee Kenney. GCC made the WPIAL semifinals last year. … Bentworth tied for fourth in Section 3, which had co-champions Charleroi and OLSH. It has lost five of its last six games. Five freshmen make a significant impact for the Bearcats, including Lindley and Sofia Gaussa.

Class A

9-Jeannette (11-4) vs. 8-Carlynton (8-5)

2 p.m. Tuesday at Peterswood Park, Peters Township

Winner plays: 1-Union (14-3) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Grace Stein, Jeannette; Kyla Morris, Carlynton

Extra bases: Jeannette returned to the postseason for the first time since 2019 with an impressive regular season led by freshman Stein, who has no-hit five opponents, has six shutouts and also swings a hot bat (.571, 18 RBIs). The Jayhawks broke a 25-game section losing streak early in the season and finished third behind title contenders Frazier and Leechburg in Section 3. Jeannette has six seniors, but none were part of the team’s last playoff win in ‘19. … Carlynton played in a competitive Section 1 where it finished in a three-way tie with Northgate and South Side Beaver for second place. Top-seeded Union won the section and awaits the winner. Carlynton has won four in a row and five of six, scoring 17, 15 and 23 runs during the streak. Taylor Zaletski has gap power, and Izzy Taylor gets on base for the Cougars

12-Monessen (7-7) vs. 5-West Greene (11-7)

4 p.m. Tuesday at Waynesburg University

Winner plays: 4-Chartiers-Houston (12-5) Thursday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Joey Hurst, Monessen; Lexi Six, West Greene

Extra bases: Monessen finished fourth in Section 3 behind Frazier, Leechburg and Jeannette.The Greyhounds are the only playoff team with a .500 record. They beat Springdale, 15-0, but then lost to Frazier, 17-0, to end section play. Hurst is hitting .400 with 12 RBIs and 22 runs. Of her 20 hits, 11 have gone for extra bases. … West Greene has won five of the last six WPIAL titles, but a sixth could be a challenge with a deeper field. All of those playoff runs have produced an experienced group led by Six, who is hitting .414 with 27 RBIs and 25 runs. London Whipkey (.410) has 10 doubles and 17 RBIs. The Pioneers like to play small ball when needed. They have 52 stolen bases.

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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