WPIAL Softball Recaps From Wednesday, May 25th
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 10:00 PM
The last missing pieces to the WPIAL Baseball and Softball Championship Week puzzle were filled in on Wednesday as eight Final Four winners had their ticket punched and they are headed out to Cally…California University of Pennsylvania that is where next Thursday, those eight teams play for district gold. The Final Four losers do not pack in it yet though as they will settle for a spot in their classes consolation game to play for a berth in the PIAA Playoffs and continue their season into June. Here are the Softball Semifinals summaries.
A special thanks to Mike Azadian, Mark Schaas, Lou Rood, Jason Tennant, Sean Meyers, Bob Gregg and Lee Mohn for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA Semifinals:
Hempfield Spartans 2 – North Allegheny Tigers 1
The North Allegheny softball team lost a heartbreak on Wednesday afternoon falling to Hempfield 2-1 in the WPIAL semi finals.It was pitchers duel between Maddie Beining and Hempfield’s Morgan Ryan. Hempfield would strike first in the bottom of the second inning Madi Stoner was knocked in on a two out single by Jordan Stirling then an infield single would score Kaylee Bloom to give the Hempfield a 2-0 lead. The eight hits that the Spartans collected five were infield singles and two jsut got through the infield. Meanwhile Morgan Ryan was lights out not allowing a hit through five innings and only one base runner. The Tigers would finally collect their first hit with two outs in the sixth from Kristen Chomos but could not advance her. The tigers would start their rally in the seventh needing a bloop and a blast. They received the bloop to start the inning from Liz Scherer then rachel martindale would lace a single into right field but courtesy runner Rachel Giger was gunned down at third on a great throw from Taylor Blevins while Martindale would move to second. Madi Beining would follow with a single to score Rachel Martindale but Ryan would strike out the next two Tiger batters to end the game.The Tigers season does not end. They will now face Latrobe on Tuesday May 31st for a spot in the PIAA playoffs which start June 6th and Hempfield will now face Baldwin in the WPIAL championship next Thursday right here on the MSA sports network.
Baldwin Highlanders 6 – Latrobe Wildcats 3
Three runs in the top of the seventh inning proved the difference, as Baldwin edged Greater Latrobe 6-3 at North Allegheny High School to advance to the Quad-A Championship. Just one day after upsetting No. 2 Shaler, the Greater Latrobe WIldcats looked to bounce another high seed, the No. 3 Highlanders. Greater Latrobe had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, but failed to capitalize. Pinch hitter Rebecca Tatone opened the frame with a single, and was moved to second base on a sacrifice by Jess Tatone. With the top of the order up, the Wildcats could not plate the go-ahead run, as Sarah Blair popped up and Mikayla Munchinski grounded out. The Highlanders began the seventh in similar fashion, as Taylor Dadig began the inning with a single, and moved into scoring position on a bunt. The Highlanders’ potent bats then came through, as Jaimie Schleicher delivered a single to center, and the speedy Dadig just narrowly beat the throw home by Angela DiOrio. That go-ahead run spelled the end of the outing for pitcher Meredith Carr, who gave way to Ashley Pagliei. The Wildcats’ reliever could not limit the damage, though, as Samantha Wampler followed with another RBI single. A walk followed by an Ana Hale single that took a brutal bounce in front of Wildcats’ second baseman Sarah Blair plated Wampler, making it 6-3. Much earlier in the contest, though, it was the Wildcats (16-6) who failed to produce a timely hit. After holding Baldwin off the board in the top of the first stanza, the Wildcats immediately applied pressure at the plate. Blair started the inning with a single, and with one out, Karley Kovatch and Carr both reached to load the bases. Reilly McCracken then drew a walk to plate the first run of the game. With Baldwin pitcher Ana Hale struggling, though, the Wildcats left the bases loaded, as Morgan Schweizer hit into a fielder’s choice that eliminated Kovatch at home, and Nicole Dunlop grounded out to end the inning. The 1-0 edge held until the third, when Baldwin scored twice to pull ahead. In that frame, Ashley Brady delivered a one-out single, and scored on a double off the top of the fence by Wampler. The next batter, Katie Knezevich, placed a single into left field, putting Baldwin ahead 2-1. The Highlanders (13-3) tacked on another tally in the next inning, as Addie Tagg lead off with a single, moved to second and third on consecutive bunts by the bottom hitters in the order for Baldwin, and then scored on a Dadig single. After being held in check for three consecutive innings by Hale, however, the Wildcats bounced back in the fifth, using some unorthodox methods. Munchinski, a freshman, and Kovatch, a sophomore, delivered back-to-back singles to right field to start the frame. With runners at the corners, Kovatch attempted to swipe second, but her main objective was to induce a run down. The Highlanders detected Munchinski breaking for the plate during that run down, however, and the throw arrived in time, but she slide around Baldwin’s catcher and safely into home. As a result, Kovatch advanced to second, and then scored on a two-out single by Schweizer to deadlock the contest. That set the stage for the defining plays in the final two innings. Baldwin will face the top seed and defending champion Hempfield Area Spartans in the finals on June 2 at the California University of Pennsylvania, while Greater Latrobe plays North Allegheny on May 31 in the consolation game.
WPIAL CLASS AAA Semifinals:
Mount Pleasant Vikings 7 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 3
The “Cinderella” #12 seed Mt. Pleasant Vikings continued their run through the playoffs with a convincing victory over top seeded TJ Wednesday at Cal U. The Vikings jumped out to a 7-0 lead and cruised most of the way until TJ mounted a last ditch rally to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th. Mt. Pleasant wasted little time taking the lead in the top of the 1st inning when Ava Gnibus doubled with 1-out and scored on Nikki Kleijka’s 2-out ground ball that skipped under the 1st baseman’s glove and into RF. The error led to the unearned run and a 1-0 Viking lead. The score remained the same until the top of the 4th when Mt. Pleasant erupted for 5 runs on 7 hits including 2 HR’s, a triple, and 4 singles to break open the game. Meadow Uncapher opened the scoring with a monster Home Run to left field to lead off the inning and up the lead to 2-0. Christiana Czegan followed with a triple to the fence in right center and scored on Maddie Kroner’s RBI single up the middle. An error on the SS led to the third Viking run as Addy Kubosky who had reached on an error herself was able to scamper home on the play which took place following Kayla Queer’s single. Gnibus then hit a 2-run homer to center to make it 6-0 Vikings and effectively blow the game open. Mt. Plkeasant added another run in the 5th when Uncapher leading off again doubled down the LF line. With two outs Jenna Schultz singled to right to score Uncapher and make it 7-0 Vikings. Uncapher basically cruised through the first six innings allowing the Jaguars only 3 hits and a hit batter. TJ was able to break through in the bottom of the 7th, scoring 3 runs on 3 hits and a Viking error. Following a leadoff walk to Emily Scheidter, consecutive singles by Megan Fitzgerald, Haleigh Karcher, and Lacie Lautner plated 3 runs, but it was a case of too little too late as the Vikings were able to trade runs for outs and secure the victory. With the loss TJ falls to 16-2 overall and will face #2 seed Yough in the 3rd place play-in game for the PIAA playoffs. Mt. Pleasant improves to12-5 overall and will take on #3 seed West Allegheny in the WPIAL AAA Championship game next Thursday at Cal U’s Lilley Field.
West Allegheny Indians 1 – Yough Cougars 0
The fifth batter of the game, Ashley Seamon singled home Brooke Wilson, the only run of the game as West Allegheny topped Yough, 1-0, to advance to the WPIAL Class AAA Softball Championship game. Seamon scattered five hits and walked just two in the complete-game victory. Wilson led off the frame with a base hit and moved to second on a walk to Lexi Cogis. After a strikeout and a pop out, Seamon singled to right-center on a 2-2 pitch to plate Wilson. Shortly thereafter, the defenses took over. The Indians only had two hits the rest of the way, back-to-back singles with one out in the fifth. Yough managed to get two runner on base in the same inning only twice in the game. Alona Sleith singled and Kayley Westerman walked in one out in the second but a strikeout and a pop out ended that threat. Cassidy Pearce reached on a two-out error in the sixth and Olivia Miller singled before a ground out ended that rally opportunity. Kierra Waywood stroked a one-out single in the seventh and moved to second on a wild pitch, but the Cougars left her there with a foul out and grounder to end the game. All told, Yough (17-3) stranded seven runners, five of them at second or third. West Allegheny managed only four hits off Macy Mularski who walked five and struck out six, taking the loss.. Three times in the game, the Indians (19-1) stranded a pair of runners, something they also did in the quarterfinal win over Beaver Area. The five hits Seamon allowed were all singles, one each in five different innings. West Allegheny has now won 16 straight games including back-to-back one-run wins in the playoffs. The #3 Indians will play #12 Mt. Pleasant in the WPIAL Finals next Thursday, each seeking their first-ever softball district championship. The #2 Cougars will face top-seeded Thomas Jefferson in the state qualifier game next Tuesday, with just the winner moving on. Cogis reached base three times, walking twice and getting a single in the fifth. Mackenzie Partyka also singled for the Indians. The Yough outfielders kept Wilson from having a very special night at the plate as Pearce, Waywood and Miller all made difficult running grabs of balls hit by Miller after her first-inning single. Aubrie Mance singled in the first for Yough. Hannah Bach singled to open the Cougars’ third inning.
WPIAL CLASS AA Semifinals:
Ellwood City Wolverines 10 – Steel Valley Ironmen 3
In a WPIAL Girls AAAA Softball semi final, the Ellwood City Wolverines remain perfect on the season with a 10-3 win over the Steel Valley Ironmen. The Wolverines remain the only softball team undefeated at 19-0 and will face South Park in the WPIAL championship Thursday June 2nd at Lilly Filed at the University of California PA at a time to be determined. Ellwood City trailed 2-0 as the Ironmen plated 2 runs in the top of the 3rd inning. A one out triple by star catcher Chelsea Rohan scored a run, then an RBI groundout plated Rohan to put Steel Valley up 2-0. Ellwood would show what they were made of with a 3 spot in the bottom of the 3rd. With one out a walk followed by four straight singles would get the Wolverines the lead they needed. It’s a lead they would extend in the 5th after an RBI double by Reagan Mitler to give them a 4-2 lead. They would put the game out of reach in the bottom of the 6th scoring six runs on six hits plus an error to make the final 10-3. Steel Valley falls to 15-6 and will play Laurel in a consolation game for the right to play in the PIAA state playoffs. They were led on offense by Rohan who went 2 for 4 with a triple, single and an RBI and a run scored, and Angelina Martin who went 3 for 4 with 3 singles and a run scored. Only 2 other Steel Valley players would get hits. Ellwood City was led by their star pitcher Skyla Greco who went 7 innings, giving up 7 hits, no walks, and striking out 3 to earn the win. As a team they pounded out 15 hits. Senior leader Allie McKelvey was 2 for 3, Freshman sensation and catcher Ariano Galloway went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI, and Mallory Swogger, Camile Maine, Reagan Mitler and Freshman Natalia Greco all had two hits to pace the Wolverine offense.
South Park Eagles 11 – Laurel Spartans 1
South Park got all the runs they needed in the 1st inning on a Katlyn Pavlick 2-run homer to center field as the Eagles head to Cal U. next week. The Pitt recruit was 1 for 4 and drove in 3 runs. Justine Dean was outstanding in the circle after allowing a Kayla Ruperto rbi double in the bottom of the 1st. With the win, South Park meets undefeated Ellwood City for the AA title next Thursday and have also qualified for the state playoffs. The Eagles started to pull away in the second, scoring 3 more runs. Pavlick drove in a run on a grounder to short, Robert Morris recruit Katie Isenburg laced a run scoring dounle and Dean followed with a single to bring her home. Leading 5-1 in the 2nd, Dean allowed only 2 baserunners over the next 4 innings to go to 12-3 on the year. She allowed just 3 hits and struck out 5. The Eagles offense closed in in a big fashion with 6 runs in the 5th. Kaitlyn Morrison has committed to Penn State, she stroked a 2 run double and Dean helped herself with a single, plating 2 more. The Eagles were helped by 3 Spartans errors in the inning. Morrison was 1 fr 2 and scored 3 times. Dean had 3 rbi’s as well. The Eagles had 8 hits and go to 14-3 on the season. South Park last won gold in 2003, the Eagles also made the trip to Lilly Field in 2008, falling to Riverside. Ruperto is only a freshman and she has a bright future for the Spartans. She was second in the WPIAL in the regular season with 204 strikeouts, but could never find a groove today, falling to 16-4. Ruperto walked 9 and fanned only 3. She had 2 of the Spartans 3 hits. Laurel will meet Steel Valley in the consolation game next week for the right to advance into the PIAA tournament.
WPIAL CLASS A Semifinals:
West Greene Pioneers 10 – Monessen Greyhounds 0
Probably the biggest question coming into this Semifinal was: “Could Monessen’s Dana Vatakis (coming off a no-hitter in the Quarterfinals) hold down the potent West Greene offense?” That question was answered by the Pioneers in a hurry. As they have done in every game this postseason, West Greene took complete control of the game in the bottom of the first. McKenna Lampe led off with a line drive single to center field and after Madison Lampe was hit by a pitch in the helmet and Madison Renner drew a walk (oddly enough because it was ruled that Vatakis took too long to deliver a pitch once she was set on the rubber), Bailey Bennington ripped a 3-run double down the line in left field to put the Pioneers on the board. Kaitlyn Rizor followed with a 2-run blast over the fence in right-center field to put West Greene up, 5-0. In their three postseason games so far, West Greene has scored at least 4 runs in every first inning. The Pioneers plated two more in the second inning. In the fourth, McKenna Lampe led off with a triple and scored on a 2-run homer by her sister Madison. Two batters later, Bennington drove one over the left field fence and the lead was extended to 10-0, putting the mercy rule in play. West Greene was just as dominant in the field as well as Renner and Bennington combined for a 5-inning no-hitter. The Greyhounds were only able to muster a total of 4 base runners in the game. Renner got the win as she recorded 4 strikeouts and walked two in her 4 innings of work. As she was in the Quarterfinal game, Bennington was brought in for the final 3 outs, and just as she did against Union, she retired Monessen in order to end the game. At the plate, Bennington was 3-for-3, just a triple shy of the cycle and drove in 4 runs. The loss went to Vatakis who gave up the 10 runs (9 earned) on 8 hits. She struck out 4 and walked 3. West Greene advances to the program’s first ever WPIAL Championship Game to face last year’s runner-up, Chartiers-Houston.
Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers 3 – Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 1
Kaitlynn Dittrich allowed just one run on four hits and did not walk a batter as Chartiers-Houston topped Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 3-1, to advance to the WPIAL Class A Softball Championship game. The Bucs (14-7) took advantage of errors in the second and third to build a 3-0 lead, all they would need to return to the finals for the second straight year. Dittrich doubled to open the home half of the second. After a popout, her courtesy runner, Macie Shober, stole third and scored when the ball went into shallow left field off the glove of third baseman Erin Porter. The next inning, Kayla Elliott reached on Tayjah White’s fielding error and was sacrificed to second. Brittany Blumen singled, putting runners on the corners. After a sharp lineout to right, CHHS worked a double steal, Elliott scoring and Blumen taking third on the return throw to the plate. Kayla Alderson singled to center to put the Bucs up 3-0. The RBI single came on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. The Trojans (15-5), who didn’t get a hit until the fourth, finally got on the board in the top of the sixth. Bridget Hudson singled and was sacrificed to second. Losing pitcher Alayna Derzak singled to put runners on the corners. One out later, Derzak broke for second and Alderson threw down. When CHHS shortstop Kasey Scears took the throw, she looked at Hudson still at the bag and hung Derzak up in a rundown and got the out, with Hudson scoring on the play. CWNC got only one more base runner, and that with two out in the seventh. During the 13-game winning streak in mid-season, the Trojans scored in double figures 10 times, and twice more in the playoffs. Dittrich retired 11 of 12 batters at one stretch into the middle innings. Derzak sat down 10 of the last 11 CHHS batters, keeping the Bucs within reach. The right hander was charged with three runs, none earned, on just four hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Dittrich had similar numbers in getting the win, seven innings, 1 earned run, four hits, no walks and two whiffs. Lauren Lober had the fourth hit for the Bucs, a two-out single in the sixth. Derzak singled in the fourth, the Trojans first hit. Brooke Horton also had a single for CWNC. Chartiers-Houston will play Section 1-A foe West Greene next Thursday in the WPIAL Finals. The Pioneers won the two section meetings earlier this year, both by 10-run margins. The Bucs are seeking their 9th WPIAL title. West Greene is looking for its first. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic will face Monessen in the WPIAL third-place game on Tuesday, with that winner advancing to the PIAA playoffs.
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