WPIAL softball playoff capsules: Games of Monday, May 20
By: Doug Gulasy
Saturday, May 18, 2019 | 8:40 PM
2-Plum (15-3) vs. 10-West Allegheny (9-7)
5 p.m. at Hampton
Winner plays: Winner of 3-Hampton (16-3) and 6-Franklin Regional (12-7) Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Phil DiLonardo, Plum; Mindi McFate, West Allegheny
Players to watch: Gabby Fischetti, Sr., C, Plum; Megan Pollinger, So., P/INF, West Allegheny
Extra bases: Plum, which missed the WPIAL playoffs last season, claimed a share of the Section 2 title by playing its best softball down the stretch. It was the program’s first section championship since 2014. The Mustangs won nine of their final 10 games, the lone loss coming to Class 6A playoff team Hempfield in the season finale. Four Mustangs are hitting above .400, led by Fischetti, a Northwest Florida State recruit. … West Allegheny toppled Shaler, 7-5, in the first round behind three extra-base hits and three RBIs from Pollinger. The Indians won the WPIAL Class 5A championship last season over Thomas Jefferson and reached the state title game, but injuries and graduation losses caused some inconsistency this spring. West Allegheny scored nine or more runs eight times but allowed opponents to reach that total four times.
3-Knoch (16-1) vs. 11-Greensburg Salem (7-11)
3 p.m. at Hampton
Winner plays: Winner of 2-Elizabeth Forward (14-3) and 10-Indiana (12-8) Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Gary Coe, Knoch; Rachel Brannigan, Greensburg Salem
Players to watch: Amanda Fischer, Jr., P, Knoch; Tiffany Bruzda, Sr., SS, Greensburg Salem
Extra bases: Knoch was the Section 2 champion with a 10-0 record. The Knights had a bye in the first round and take a 12-game winning streak into the quarters. The team has seven shutouts and has not lost to a WPIAL opponent. Knoch lost in the quarterfinals last year to Mt. Pleasant, 10-0. … Greensburg Salem returned to the postseason after a three-year absence and put together its first postseason victory since 2014, 10-3 over No. 6 Ambridge in the first round. Bruzda and Chloe Perkins each had three hits and combined for seven RBIs for the Golden Lions. Nikki Mellinger, Sydney Tressler and Rena Caruso all had two hits in the win.
3-Burrell (13-2) vs. 6-Keystone Oaks (11-5)
3 p.m. at Hampton
Winner plays: Winner of 2-South Allegheny (16-2) and 10-Ellwood City (12-6) Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Brian Eshbaugh, Burrell; Mark Kaminski, Keystone Oaks
Players to watch: Lea Coffman, Sr., C, Burrell; Gia Woods, Fr., SS, Keystone Oaks
Extra bases: Burrell claimed the Section 1 championship, its first since 2016 and first outright since ’11. The Bucs won their final 12 regular-season games, scoring double-digit runs 10 times, to reach the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. They lost in the quarterfinals last season to Avonworth. Sisters Sara Clark, a senior, and Elizabeth Clark, a sophomore, both hit walk-off homers for the Bucs this season. Coffman, a Gannon recruit, led the team with 10 homers. … Keystone Oaks is making its first postseason appearance since 2014 and blasted North Catholic, 16-1, in three innings in the first round. The Golden Eagles, who finished just 7-9 last season, tied returning WPIAL runner-up South Park for second place in Section 3-3A. After starting the season by winning seven of its first eight games, KO split its last eight.
2-Leechburg (15-1) vs. 10-Jeannette (9-5)
3 p.m. at Fox Chapel
Winner plays: Winner of 3-Union (10-5) and 6-Springdale (13-3) Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Debbie Young, Leechburg; Zac Karas, Jeannette
Players to watch: Emma Ritchie, So., P, Leechburg; Faith Johnston, Jr., Jeannette
Extra bases: Section 3 champion Leechburg is in the WPIAL playoffs for the 33rd straight season, a WPIAL record. The Blue Devils powered through the section with a 12-0 mark, and their only loss was to a 2A playoff team, neighboring Apollo-Ridge. Ritchie has 105 strikeouts, 46 walks and a 1.81 ERA. She also is batting .482 with 26 RBIs, and senior Aubry Skeel is batting .521 with 21 runs and 20 RBIs. … Jeannette won its first playoff game since 2013 with a 7-3 win over Mapletown. The Jayhawks’ previous playoff win was against Sewickley Academy, 11-5. Against Mapletown, Johnston struck out 12 and added a two-run double during a four-run seventh inning. Jeannette was swept by Leechburg in Section 3 play, 10-0 and 21-2.
6-Springdale (13-3) vs. 3-Union (10-5)
3 p.m. at Sewickley Academy
Winner plays: Winner of 2-Leechburg (15-1) and 10-Jeannette (9-5) Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Anthony Pototo, Springdale; Doug Fisher, Union
Players to watch: Alexis Hrivnak, Fr., P, Springdale; Skylar Fisher, So., IF, Union
Extra bases: Springdale, in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2000, is coming off a 14-0, five-inning rout of Quigley Catholic in the first round. Hrivnak pitched a no-hitter, walking one and striking out eight. Tylar Rafail had three hits, and the Dynamos took advantage of six Quigley errors. Springdale played in the WPIAL quarterfinals in 2000, losing to Chartiers-Houston, 1-0. … Section 1 champion Union is seeking its second consecutive trip to the WPIAL semifinals. The Scotties lost in that round to West Greene last season. Union posted a 10-0 record in section play, putting up double-digit runs in each game and surpassing 20 runs four times. Fisher is hitting .574 with 30 RBIs, both team bests. The Scotties bat .351 as a team.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, [email protected] or via Twitter .