WPIAL Class A softball championship preview: West Greene vs. Union

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 | 2:06 PM


Class A

1-West Greene (17-2) vs. 3-Union (12-7)

Noon Wednesday at Cal (Pa.)

Road to the finals

West Greene — The four-time defending WPIAL champs don’t often play close games, let alone fall behind, so a semifinal matchup against South Side was a notable stop on the road to the finals. The Pioneers fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning. No problem. London Whipkey and Olivia Kiger had RBI doubles in a three-run bottom half of the inning and West Greene never trailed again, winning 5-3.

Union — The Scotties made it out of the quarterfinals thanks to one of the most dramatic at-bats of the WPIAL playoffs. With two on and two out, Allie Ross fouled off four pitches after she was down to her last strike. At the end of the 10-pitch showdown, she delivered a two-run base hit to give Union a 6-5 walk-off win over Greensburg Central Catholic.

Secret to their success

West Greene — The Pioneers can hit the ball. Before the semifinal win over South Side, they had scored at least eight runs in 11 straight games. Senior Jersey Wise is a dynamite leadoff hitter. She’s scored six runs in two playoff games and went 3 for 4 in the semifinals. West Greene’s only losses this season were to 2A Frazier and 3A Waynesburg.

Union — The Scotties aren’t bad with the bats, either, averaging better than 11 runs per game. In the semifinal victory over second-seeded Leechburg, Skylar Fisher homered and Racquel Zarlingo had three hits. The Scotties had a 5-6 record on April 20 before going on a late-season tear.

Championship factoids

West Greene — Like the Pittsburgh Steelers of the early ‘80’s, the Pioneers are hoping for one for the thumb in 2021. West Greene has defeated Chartiers-Houston, Monessen (twice) and Union in the last four WPIAL Class A title games by a combined score of 38-7. The Pioneers hope to tie Sto-Rox (2000-04) and Hempfield (2015-19) for the longest softball title runs in district history.

Union — The Scotties hope to stop the streak of having their WPIAL championship dreams end at the hands of West Greene at two years in a row. Union lost to West Greene, 11-0, in the 2019 finals, and the Scotties fell to the Pioneers in the 2018 semifinals, 8-2. Union is one of three schools, along with Bethel Park and Shenango, to have both the baseball and softball teams playing for district gold.

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at jbombulie@triblive.com.

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