WPIAL third-place game playoff capsules: Games for Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Monday, May 27, 2024 | 4:18 PM

WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 5A

Third-place game

Penn-Trafford (14-6) vs. Latrobe (11-11)

3 p.m. Tuesday at Gateway

Winner: Takes third place in the WPIAL for the PIAA playoffs. The loser is fourth.

Players to watch: Bella Rubbe, Penn-Trafford; Macie McHugh, Latrobe

Extra bases: Penn-Trafford is looking for a repeat of 2019 when it lost in the WPIAL semifinals and rallied to win the PIAA championship. The fourth-seeded Lady Warriors are coming off a heartbreaking loss in the WPIAL semis. They had a 6-1 lead but lost 8-6 on a walk-off, two-run homer by Emma Paul in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rubbe blasted a pair of two-run homers in the loss. Two years ago, Penn-Trafford lost to Armstrong in the WPIAL final and PIAA semifinals, both in one-run games. … Latrobe, the No. 11 seed, dropped a 4-2 decision to No. 10 Thomas Jefferson in the semifinals despite a home run and two RBIs from Kayla Williams. The Wildcats hadn’t been to the semis since 2018, which was also the last time they made the state playoffs. … The state tournament opens Monday. The winner of this game plays the champion of District 6, 8 or 9. The loser travels to play the WPIAL champion, Armstrong or Thomas Jefferson.

Class 3A

Third-place game

Ligonier Valley (15-6) vs. Avonworth (14-4)

5 p.m. Tuesday at Gateway

Winner: Earns third place in the WPIAL for PIAA tournament seeding. The loser is fourth.

Players to watch: Cheyenne Piper, Ligonier Valley; Alivia Lantzy, Avonworth

Extra bases: The top two seeds in the WPIAL bracket didn’t expect to meet in this game. Ligonier Valley will look to ace Piper to again power them through another postseason test, but the Rams will need more offensive production to make a state run. After Piper tossed three consecutive no-hitters — two in the playoffs, including a perfect game — she allowed four hits, including two home runs to Kaitlyn Polk, in a 3-0 loss to South Park in the semifinals. Piper had a hitless innings streak of 23 halted in the loss. The Rams last made the PIAA playoffs in 2021 and were the state runner-up in 2A. … Avonworth, the favorite to three-peat as WPIAL champion, was upset by No. 4 Mohawk, 5-3. Lantzy, the Antelopes’ go-to ace for several seasons, had as many strikeouts as hits allowed (10). Layne Shinsky went 2 for 3 with a double, and Rylee Gray had two hits, including a homer, in the loss. The Antelopes had won 12 straight. They won WPIAL and PIAA championships in 2022. … The state playoffs start Monday. The winner of this game visits the champion of District 6. The loser travels to play the District 10 champion.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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