Westmoreland WPIAL softball playoff capsules: Games for Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM


WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 6A

Semifinals

3-Norwin (14-5) vs. 2-Hempfield (16-3)

2 p.m. Wednesday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Pine-Richland (7-14)/1-Seneca Valley (16-1) in championship (time, date TBD) at PennWest University, California

Players to watch: Madie Kessler, Norwin; Riley Miller, Hempfield

Extra bases: Norwin returns to the semifinals for the third time in five seasons. The Knights held back Canon-McMillan, 8-7, in the quarterfinals. The Big Macs scored four times in the seventh on a pair of two-run home runs. Kessler, Bailey Snowberger and Rachel Minteer all homered in the win, with Minteer going 2 for 3. This will be the third matchup of the season between the section rivals. They split two games with Norwin winning 10-8 and Hempfield returning the favor, 2-1. The Knights are looking for their first trip to the finals. … Hempfield, a seven-time WPIAL champion, clipped Norwin in last year’s quarterfinals, 5-4, to reach the semis. The Spartans are seeking their first trip to the finals since 2019. They are led by sophomore pitcher Riley Miller, who also is one of the top hitters. Others include Maggie Howard, Emily Griffith, Hannah Uhrinek and Lauren Howard. Sarah Podkul has been effective offensively of late. Hempfield sat through a quarterfinal bye, so it has not played since May 11, a 3-0 loss to Seneca Valley in the defacto section championship game.

Class 4A

Semifinals

4-Belle Vernon (15-4) vs. 1-Elizabeth Forward (16-0)

3 p.m. Wednesday at West Mifflin

Winner plays: Winner of 2-Montour (14-3)/3-Chartiers Valley (17-2) in championship (time, date TBD) at PennWest University, California

Players to watch: Gracie Sokol, Belle Vernon; Shelby Telegdy, Elizabeth Forward

Extra bases: This will be the third meeting of the season between Section 2 teams. Elizabeth Forward won the previous matchups, 5-2 and 11-1. Belle Vernon stretched its winning streak to six with a tight, 2-1 win over West Mifflin in the quarterfinals. Olivia Kolowitz was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits and striking out nine. Sokol doubled, Ava Zubovic tripled and Lauren VanDivner had two hits. The Leopards have not reached the semis since 2018. Veteran coach Tom Rodriguez is in his 21st season leading the Leopards. The win over West Mifflin was his 300th. He is 300-138. Rodriguez won WPIAL titles in 2015, ‘17 and ‘18. … Elizabeth Forward, the WPIAL runner-up last year, remained unbeaten with a 9-3 win over Hampton in the quarterfinals. The Warriors trailed 3-2 after the first inning. Hannah Evans, Telegdy, Alivia Grimm and Lauren Vay each had two hits in the win. Addy Nigut, Vay and Grimm had two RBIs apiece. Nigut’s RBI double put the Warriors ahead to stay. Telegdy, who has over 100 strikeouts, was hitting over .600, along with teammate Julia Resnik. Elizabeth Forward won a WPIAL title in 2019. … The loser will move into the consolation game to play for a PIAA playoff spot.

Class 2A

Semifinals

5-Greensburg Central Catholic (13-2) vs. 1-Neshannock (18-0)

3 p.m. Wednesday at North Allegheny

Winner plays: Winner of 2-Laurel (15-2)/6-OLSH (14-3) in championship (time, date TBD) at PennWest University, California

Players to watch: Makenzee Kenney, Greensburg Central Catholic; Gabby Quinn, Neshannock

Extra bases: Greensburg Central Catholic rallied for a thrilling, 4-3 win over No. 4 Charleroi in the quarterfinals at Norwin, scoring twice in the top of the seventh to return to the semis. Erica Rodriguez delivered a two-run double for the go-ahead run, and Abigail Dei added an insurance RBI before Charleroi homered in the seventh. Grace Kindel had three hits, while Emma Henry, Kenney and Rodriguez each had two. GCC lost to Union in last year’s semis, 9-2. The Centurions have not been to the WPIAL finals since 2012, when they lost to Deer Lakes, 3-2. Henry is a Central Connecticut State commit. … Defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Neshannock, the top-ranked team in the state, stretched its winning streak to 44 with an 11-0 win over Burgettstown in the quarterfinals. Pitcher Addy Frye allowed three hits and struck out eight. Aaralyn Nogay and Quinn homered, with Quinn driving in three. Gabby Penrod went 3 for 4 with two RBI, Frye had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs and Abigail Measel drove in two. Nogay is a Bowling Green commit. Frye, a sophomore, has not lost in her career. Hunter Newman is headed to Morgan State. The Lancers have allowed 14 runs all season. … The semifinal losers will meet in the consolation game for third place and a state-playoff berth.

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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