WPIAL Class A softball preseason breakdown

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Thursday, March 21, 2019 | 7:45 PM


West Greene is coming off back-to-back WPIAL and PIAA titles and finds itself again as the favorite in Class A.

Led by a loaded senior class, the Pioneers are “hungry,” according to coach Bill Simms and won’t be “satisfied with past accolades.”

That’s unfortunate news for Pioneers’ opponents in Class A, though there should be challengers.

Here’s a preseason look at the top teams and players in Class A softball:

Class 2A

Preseason Top 5

Team (2018 record)

1. West Greene (23-4) — Eight starters return for the defending champion Pioneers, including four first-team all-state selections — pitcher Jade Renner (.530, 38 RBIs), second baseman Kaitlyn Rizor (.476, 21 RBIs), third baseman Madison Lampe (.527, 7 HR, 44 RBIs) and center fielder McKenna Lampe (.571, 6 HR, 35 RBIs). Renner had a 2.22 ERA and 126 strikeouts.

2. Union (19-4) — Eight players with starting experience are back for Union, which reached the PIAA tournament last season. Pitcher Sarah Seamons is now playing at Pitt, but the Scotties return senior catcher Shae-Lynn Quinn and home run hitter Skylar Fisher, a sophomore first baseman. The lineup features six talented sophomores.

3. Sewickley Academy (11-5) — The Panthers went 10-2 in Section 1 last season and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals. Back are a trio of all-section selections — junior pitcher Alexis Barlock, senior outfielder Theresa Wilson and junior infielder Alyssa Winters.

4. Leechburg (13-6) — Leechburg has claimed the Section 3 title the past two seasons and returns six starters in its quest for a repeat. The group includes talented senior catcher Kristen Knapp, a rare lefty behind the plate. The Blue Devils will miss pitcher Morgan Pierce, who graduated.

5. Monessen (17-5) — Though pitcher Dana Vatakis has moved on Robert Morris, the WPIAL runner-up Greyhounds still have high expectations under first-year coach Carlee Wickstrom. The group will be led by senior outfielder Mattie Telegraphis and sophomore pitcher Hannah Yorty. Several freshmen also will crack the lineup.

Players to watch

Alexis Barlock, Jr,. P, Sewickley Academy

Kaia Iverson, Sr., OF, Ellis School

Kristen Knapp, Sr., C, Leechburg

Taylor Kirschner, Sr., INF, Quigley Catholic

Madison Lampe, Sr., INF, West Greene

McKenna Lampe, Sr., OF, West Greene

Shae-Lynn Quinn, Sr., INF, Union

Lacey Ravas, Sr., OF, Cornell

Jade Renner, Jr., P, West Greene

Kaitlyn Rizor, Sr., 2B, West Greene

Mattie Telegraphis, Sr., OF, Monessen

Theresa Wilson, Sr., OF, Sewickley Academy

Alyssa Winters, Jr., INF, Sewickley Academy

Notable

*Class A features 19 teams, down from 21 last season. There are two sections with six teams and one section with seven.

*Greensburg Central Catholic and Springdale dropped down from Class 2A.

*Aliquippa, Carmichaels and Riverview moved up to Class 2A. Western Beaver moved to Class 5A.

*Leechburg has reached the WPIAL playoffs 32 straight seasons.

*Mapletown hopes to make a move in Section 2 behind sophomore pitcher Madi Blaker, who had 72 strikeouts last season. Five starters return for the Maples.

Alignment

Section 1: Bishop Canevin, Cornell, Quigley Catholic, Rochester, Sewickley Academy, Union

Section 2: Avella, California, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen, West Greene

Section 3: Ellis School, Geibel, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Leechburg, St. Joseph, Springdale

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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