WPIAL Class 6A softball final preview: Hempfield vs. North Allegheny

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 10:01 AM

No. 3 Hempfield (15-6) vs. No. 1 North Allegheny (15-6)

2:15 p.m. Thursday at Peterswood Park

Coaches: Bob Kalp, Hempfield; Morgan Vescovi, North Allegheny

Players to watch: Emma Hoffner, So., C, Hempfield; Rachel Martindale, Sr., SS, North Allegheny

WPIAL titles: Hempfield 6 (2018, ‘17 6A; ‘16, ‘15, ‘09 4A; ‘98 3A); North Allegheny 3 (2006 4A; ‘03, ‘02 3A)

How they got here: Hempfield defeated Baldwin, 2-1, in quarterfinals; Seneca Valley, 3-0, in semifinals. North Allegheny defeated Upper St. Clair, 3-2, in quarterfinals; Norwin, 8-4, in semifinals

Extra bases: Hempfield has become one of the elite programs in WPIAL softball with six titles, including four in a row, and three straight PIAA championships. The Spartans also have been one of the most clutch teams in the state, winning with late-game drama in several playoff games last year and both games this season. Kelsi Terzolino gave the Spartans a walk-off win with a single in the seventh against Baldwin, and Laura Fox belted a three-run homer in the top of the ninth in the semifinal win over Seneca Valley. Hoffner is hitting .515 with 10 doubles and 23 RBIs, and Fox (.493) has 35 hits and 25 runs. Cassie Sowers has struck out 12 in her first two varsity playoff games. She has 162 strikeouts. … North Allegheny resurfaced in the final for the first time since 2015 with a win over Norwin in the semis. All four semifinalists were from Section 2. North Allegheny has two wins over Hempfield this season, 11-6 and 4-3. Martindale hit a grand slam in the first meeting. She is a former Pitt recruit who opted instead to play basketball at Akron. Sophomore Chloe Szczepaniak also homered in that game. Alaina Whipkey ripped a run-scoring double in the second game in the bottom of the fifth for the Tigers. Martindale also hammered a three-run homer in the semifinal win. Ashley Adams was the winning pitcher and Audra Sape picked up the save.

— Bill Beckner Jr.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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