WPIAL Class 2A softball championship preview: Shenango vs. Laurel

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 4:21 PM


Softball

Class 2A

5-Shenango (16-4) vs. 2-Laurel (16-1)

2:30 p.m. Thursday at Cal (Pa.).

Road to the finals

ShenangoThe Wildcats advanced to the finals in an unusual way, defeating top-seeded Ligonier Valley 3-1 despite not recording a hit. They scored three runs on one play, a dropped pop-up followed by an errant throw, and pitcher Mia Edwards did the rest. Shenango’s biggest win was 9-0 over OLSH in the semifinals. Leyna Mason hit a grand slam.

LaurelThe two-time defending Class 2A WPIAL champs have done it on offense and defense in the playoffs. In a 7-0 quarterfinal win over Burgettstown, Autumn Boyd struck out 19. In a 15-4 win over Frazier in the semifinals, the Spartans pounded out 17 hits.

Secret to their success

Shenango – Edwards, a Colgate recruit, is the straw that stirs the drink for Shenango. She’s been lights out in the playoffs, allowing eight hits and two walks and striking out 38 in 21 innings. Half of the Wildcats’ 16 victories this season came via shutout. The only team that has stopped them in the past month is Laurel, which handed them their most recent loss, 3-1, on May 1.

Laurel – Boyd is elite in the circle, but Laurel’s offense is especially dangerous. The Spartans have scored at least seven runs in each of their last six games, and they’ve scored at least 15 runs in three of those games. The only team to beat them this season? Shenango, 4-0, in the first meeting between the Section 4-2A rivals on March 30.

Championship factoids

Shenango – The Wildcats are another team playing for their first WPIAL softball championship. Shenango missed the postseason in 2019, and the program hadn’t won a playoff game since a first-round victory over North Catholic in 2017. The last time the Wildcats won the season series against Laurel was when they beat the Spartans in the only meeting, 15-5, in 2015.

Laurel – The Spartans, along with West Greene, are the only WPIAL softball teams trying to extend their championship run as Laurel looks to three-peat as district 2A champions. The last team to win more than two Class 2A softball crowns in a row was Swissvale from 1979-1982. Laurel is trying to become the 10th WPIAL softball team to three-peat.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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