PIAA Baseball/Softball Semifinals Recaps From Monday, June 12th

Summaries of State Semifinals Games Involving WPIAL Teams
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Eight WPIAL softball teams and four district baseball teams started Monday with the dreams of state diamond gold dancing in their heads. Five teams saw those hopes dashed with Final Four losses. However five softball and two baseball teams were winners as the WPIAL will send seven teams to Penn State University on Thursday and Friday to play for a PIAA championship. Here are recaps from Semifinals Monday.

A special thanks to Todd Brown, Josh Rowntree, Jason Tennant, Mark Schaas, Bob Gregg, Rennie Detore, Sean Meyers, Don Rebel and Kyle Dawson for their help on these recaps.

PIAA BASEBALL:

PIAA CLASS 5-A Semifinals:

LATROBE WILDCATS 2 - Springfield-Delco Cougars 1
The 2017 WPIAL Class 5-A champs are now one win away from adding state gold to their historic season. Latrobe scored two runs in the seocnd inning, then held on to beat Springfield-Delco 2-1 to play in the first ever Class 5-A baseball state title game on Thursday at Penn State University when they battle District 11 champion Whitehall. Ryan Shawley pitched a complete game for the Wildcats, allowing just one earned run on three hit while walking one and striking out six. Latrobe managed only four hits off the Cougars tough luck losing pitcher Jared Morris. 

PIAA CLASS 4-A Semifinals:

SOUTH PARK EAGLES 10 - BLACKHAWK COUGARS 3
The rematch from the WPIAL title game saw the Cougars allow the most runs they had all season. Blackhawk was making their fifth trip to a PIAA semifinal but were 0-4 in the other games. South Park, who was shutout in the first meeting (3-0), exploded for five runs off of starter Andy McClymonds, who did not make it out of the inning. The Eagles loaded the bases on two singles and a walk when Mike Kentzel was hit in the helmet with a pitch for a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch brought home run number two and a run scoring ground out by Steve Moore made it 3-0.Mitchell Roll added a run scoring single and winning pitcher Kevin Vaupel with a double to chase McClymonds, who took the loss and finishes 9-1 on the year. Blackhawk got on the board on a Mark Engel triple, he scored on a Jimmy Nixon ground out. South Park ran the lead to 6-1 on a double by Adam Morris and a single by Josh Wagner. The Cougars cut the lead in half as Engle hit his second triple to right center to plate Michael Turconi. Nixon delivered his second RBI ground out and the Cougars were back in the game going to the bottom of the fourth. It didn’t last long as Wagner delivered another run scoring hit, this time a double in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-3. South Parkn added three in the fifth on an error, one of three in the game committed by Blackhawk and a two run double from Kyle Thompson. The Eagles are now 23-3 and advance to Penn State for a state title. Eight of the nine South Park hitters had at least one hit, the Eagles tallied twelve for the evening. Vaupel went six innings, he allowed just five hits and fanned eight. Thompson struck out the side in the seventh to close it out. Engle, a Radford recruit, finished 2 for 3. The Cougars had to use four pitchers. Blackhawk finishes at 23-3.

PIAA CLASS 1-A Semifinals:

Clarion Bobcats 1 - GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC CENTURIONS 0
For the second time this postseason, errors came back to haunt Greensburg Central Catholic (14-6), as District 9 runner-up Clarion (21-3) walked off with a 1-0 win in the PIAA 1-A Semifinals at North Allegheny High School. The Centurions, which committed six errors in their WPIAL Championship game loss to Jeannette less than two weeks ago, committed three more in their final game of the season. Clarion's Reed Anthony, who gave up just three hits in six innings while striking out seven and walking none, hit a dribbler to the left side of the infield with two outs in the 7th inning. The ball was then booted by Centurions' third baseman Nick Ruggeri, allowing Kyle Patterson to score from second for the game's only run. Before Clarion's walkoff heroics, the Centurions nearly struck first, as Ohio University recruit Jack Liberatore had a line drive to the right-center gap cut off by a spectacular, diving catch by Bobcats' centerfielder Sterling Conner, preventing two runs from scoring. The loss spoiled a great start for Seton Hill recruit Neal McDermott, who gave GCC 5 2/3 innings, striking out ten while allowing just two hits. Antonio Cavallo was hit with the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits in an inning of relief work, while Spencer Miller grabbed the win for Clarion, pitching a scoreless 7th inning. Clarion's season continues into the PIAA 1-A Championship Game on Thursday at Penn State's Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, where the Bobcats will meet District 5 Champion in their first ever State Championship Game.


PIAA SOFTBALL:

PIAA CLASS 6-A Semifinals:

HEMPFIELD SPARTANS 11 - Chambersburg Trojans 4
Earlier this month, the Hempfield Area Spartans successfully defended their WPIAL title, and now they will have the chance to defend their PIAA crown, as well. Hempfield bested District 3 Champion Chambersburg 11-4 in the Class 6A semifinals at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson on Monday. The undefeated Spartans (26-0) used an offensive outburst to prevail, as they scored four runs in the first inning, and four more in the third to take command. In the opening frame, Ali Belgiovane was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the first, and after a sacrifice bunt, Jenna Osikowicz, Morgan Ryan, Maddie Stoner and Stacey Walling followed with consecutive singles. With two runs already in for the Spartans, Jordan Bernard delivered a two-run single to cap the inning. Chambersburg, which lost to Hempfield in the semifinals last year, as well, responded with three runs in the top of the second. The Trojans (20-6) received four straight hits, courtesy of Sam Bender, Laken Myers, Caeley Etter and Maggie Myers, the last of which accounted for two runs batted in. For that point forward, though, the Trojans enjoyed minimal success against Morgan Ryan, while the Spartans continued to pound away at the plate. With their lead trimmed to 4-3, the Spartans plated four more runs in the third, aided by a pair of errors by Chambersburg. Belgiovane, Laura Fox and Ryan all delivered RBIs in the stanza. Furthermore, the Spartans scored in the fourth when Walling tripled and was brought home by an Autumn Beasley single, and plated two runs on three singles in the fifth. Meanwhile, Ryan, a Notre Dame recruit and arguably the best pitcher in Pennsylvania, allowed just four this and one run over the final five innings. As a result, Hempfield Area will aim to win its third PIAA title, and the first ever PIAA 6A Championship, when the Spartans face District 2 Champion Hazleton at Penn State University at 4 p.m. Friday.

PIAA CLASS 5-A Semifinals:

Cedar Cliff Colts 6 - WEST ALLEGHENY INDIANS 5
Two story-book seasons were on the line in the semifinals of the Class 5A, PIAA softball tournament at Mt. Aloysius Monday, as the WPIAL champion West Allegheny Indians took on the District 3 champion Cedar Cliff Colts. Cedar Cliff had, before 2017, never made it past its own district quarterfinals. The Colts were the 10 seed in their district playoffs, but managed to get hot at the right time and win the district title: the first in school history. West Allegheny dominated WPIAL foes all season long. Coming into Monday’s semifinal, it had one loss and also had won its first WPIAL championship in program history a little over a week prior. One run had to come to an end, and when the dust settled, Cedar Cliff went on to its first PIAA championship softball game, defeating the Indians of District 7 by a final of 6-5. West Allegheny scored the first two runs of the game, scoring one apiece in each of the first two innings, first on an RBI single by Taylor Cummings and second on a solo home run by pitcher Ashley Seamon, whose done it both ways for the Indians all year. West A scored in the fourth on a passed ball and led 3-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning, when Cedar Cliff woke up. The Colts scored four times in the home fourth on four hits and were also aided by a West Allegheny fielding error, and took a 4-3 lead to the fifth. Neither team scored in the inning, and Cedar Cliff added two more on a pair of bases-loaded walks in the home sixth. Down to its last chance, West Allegheny scratched and clawed in the top of the seventh and managed to come up with two runs, scoring on an RBI double by Brook Wilson, who would later score herself on a wild pitch. The next three batters, however, weren’t able to even get on base, as they all made outs representing the game’s tying run at the plate. Cedar Cliff advances to the Class 5A softball title game, while West Allegheny finishes the season 23-2. One storied season came to an end; another lives on. That’s just how it goes come state playoff time, and it was no different today.

PIAA CLASS 4-A Semifinals:

MOUNT PLEASANT VIKINGS 7 - YOUGH COUGARS 2
The Mt. Pleasant and Yough programs know each other all too well. The Cougars defeated the Vikings twice last season and won the state title in 2016, and the two schools always play each other competitively on the softball field. But that wasn’t the case Monday night, as the PIAA Class 4-A semifinals belonged to Mt. Pleasant as the Vikings raced to a 7-2 lead at Lilly Field at California University of Pennsylvania and earned a trip to the PIAA Championship to be played at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Park at 1:30 p.m. Thursday (June 15) to take on Tunkhannock, winners in the other 4-A semifinal game over Bangor. Mt. Pleasant (16-3) made the most of its first trip to the PIAA semifinals behind a strong pitching performance by Caroline Alincic, who went the distance and gave up just 3 hits and two runs, striking out 3 and walking just one. Alincic kept Yough off the scoreboard for the first five innings, before yielding two runs in the top of the sixth. Mt. Pleasant had already built a 5-0 lead behind an offense that came alive in the bottom of the third. Alincic and Kierra Waywood, the starter for the Cougars, pitched efficiently in the first two innings, with neither surrendering runs to their opposition. But the Vikings got to Waywood in the bottom of the third when Mya Klejka and Sydney Kanuch started the inning with back to back singles. Ava Gnibus reached on an error (one of four committed by Yough in the game) that loaded the bases. Waywood retired the next two batters, before walking clean-up hitter Meadow Uncapher to give Mt. Pleasant a 1-0 lead. Autumn Shogan followed up with a single that plated run number two for the Vikings, who never surrendered the lead after that.
Mt. Pleasant would score two runs in the bottom of the fourth and another in the bottom of the fifth before Yough answered in the top of the six, scoring two and making it a 5-2 Mt. Pleasant lead. Incidentally, Waywood gave up four runs, but wasn’t charged with one single earned run in part due to the four errors Yough committed. But the Vikings quickly got those two runs back when Chloe Pouch hit a towering two-run shot to dead center field off Karlie Clark, who replaced Waywood in the bottom of the fourth inning, in the bottom of the sixth to make it a five-run lead for Mt. Pleasant, 7-2. Shogan and Mya Klejka each had two hits for Mt. Pleasant, with Shogan going 2-for-4 and Klejka 2-for-3 and two runs scored. The first five Mt. Pleasant batters drove in all seven of the Vikings’ runs. For Yough, the game was disappointing and a departure from their PIAA playoff run. The Cougars (19-4) had not allowed a run in the 2017 PIAA playoffs, blanking Bellefonte 2-0 and Lennard-Dale 11-0 in the first two rounds.

PIAA CLASS 3-A Semifinals:

SOUTH PARK EAGLES 4 - Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties 0 
For the second consecutive year, the South Park softball team eliminated Philipsburg-Osceola in the PIAA State tournament defeating the Mounties 4-0 in the Triple-A semifinals at Mount Aloysius College.  The Eagles got all they would need in the first inning, scoring three times off of P-O pitcher Kam Harris.  Jess Dean walked to start the game, and then was brought in on a triple by Kaitlyn Morrison.  After a walk, Justine Dean drove in both Morrison and Katlyn Pavlick on a double to make it 3-0.  Justine Dean did it with her arm too, as she pitched a complete game shutout giving up just two hits and striking out three.  South Park improves to 20-3 on the season, and move onto the State Triple-A title game on Friday at Beard Field at Nittany Lion softball park at 1:30PM on Friday.  Philipsburg-Osceola sees their season end at 20-4.

PIAA CLASS 2-A Semifinals:

SOUTH SIDE BEAVER RAMS 7 - CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS 2
South Side Area scored five runs in the first inning and cruised to a 7-2 win over Chartiers-Houston, clinching a first-ever trip to the PIAA Softball Championship game.  Regan Hozak and Capri Sollinger both singled to open the game.  Sydney Payne stroked a double off the left field fence, driving in one.  Hunter Hand singled, scoring two more runs and chasing Bucs' starter and loser Kaitylyn Dittrich.  McKenna Smith reached on an infield single off reliever Karlyn Bayer with a wild pitch moving up both runners. One out later, Mackenzie Freeman's sac fly scored Hand.  Smith came around on Dani Jo Miller's single, giving South Side a 5-0 lead before CHHS came to bat.  Kayla Alderson singled and advanced on illegal pitch calls against Smith who started for South Side.  Jessica Ford walked to open the second, including two more illegal pitches.  Ball one to Lauren Lober was also called illegal, moving Ford to second.  Hozak took over in the circle, allowed a single to Jaylese Lombardi and a two-out walk to load the bases, but a strike out ended the threat.  Hand stroked a two-out double in the fourth, scoring Sollinger who had reached on a fielder's choice, giving the Rams a 6-1 lead.  Chartiers-Houston (18-5) got back-to-back two-out hits from Kasey Scears and Kaci Alderson to make it 6-2 after five, Alderson's double hitting off the top of the fence in left-center.  South Side (20-3) closed the scoring in the seventh.  Rachael Pieto singled with two out before Freeman doubled her home for the 7-2 win, the Rams' third this season against the Bucs.  Hozak got the win, holding Chartiers-Houston to one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five over the final six innings.  Bayer kept CHHS in the game, allowing three runs on nine hits over her seven innings of work.  Hand drove in three runs with a single and a double.  Freeman drove in a pair and also had a single and a double.  Hozak and Miller had two singles each.  Scears had two hits for the Bucs, both singles.  South Side will take on Minersville in Thursday PIAA final at Penn State's Beard Field.  Minersville is 9-1 in softball state championship games, winning their last five in a row, including the 2014 championship, their last trip to the finals. 

PIAA CLASS 1-A Semifinals:

WEST GREENE PIONEERS 9 - DuBois Central Catholic Cardinals 5
For the second year in a row, the West Greene Pioneers advanced to the State Championship Game with a win over DuBois Central Catholic in the Semifinals.  A year ago Tuesday, the Pioneers defeated the Cardinals 5-2, this year it was by a score of 9-5.  Both games were played at North Allegheny High School.  West Greene jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a lot of help from the Cardinal defense. After a 1-out single by Madison Lampe, a bobble in left field allowed Lampe to reach second. Madison Renner then flew out to centerfield. Lampe tagged but was holding at second when a throw sailed over the third baseman’s head and Lampe advanced to third with 2 outs.  She would then score on another error when Kaitlyn Rizor appeared to fly out to centerfielder Macey Hanes.  Hanes initially made the catch but then dropped the ball allowing the run to score. West Greene would add to their lead with a big hit from Rizor in the third inning.  Both McKenna Lampe and sister Madison drew 1-out walks and Renner singled to load the bases for Rizor who drove one to the base of the fence in left field for a bases-clearing double and the Pioneers led 4-0.  DuBois would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third that had an unusual start.  Sabrina Spencer appeared to start the inning with a groundout to second but an illegal pitch was called and Spencer was brought back to the batters box where she would single.  A Hanes single followed and the Cardinals were in business.  With two in scoring position and two outs, Ashley Wruble connected on a 2-run single to put the Cardinals on the board.  West Greene answered right back with some big hits in the fourth.  Linzee Stover led off the inning with a single and scored on a 1-out triple to left by McKenna Lampe.  Madison Lampe then followed with a 2-run blast over the fence in left-center to put the Pioneers up 7-2. That score held until the bottom of the sixth when DuBois Central Catholic would score an unearned run when McKenna Lampe committed a 2-base error on an Allysa Bittner single that allowed Libby Maurer, who had singled with 2 outs, to come all the way around to score.  West Greene would tack on two insurance runs in the seventh.  Rizor singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a Jade Renner double. Rizor scored on a single by Lexie Mooney and Jade Renner’s runner, Brianna Goodwin scored on a Stover ground out to put the Pioneers up 9-3.  The Cardinals did get those two back when Jordy Frank connected on a 2-run homerun to left-centerfield, but it was too little too late.  The winning pitcher was Jade Renner who limited the Cardinals to 5 runs despite allowing 12 hits.  She struck out two and did not walk a batter.  Riley Assalone took the loss, striking out 6 but issuing 4 walks.  For West Greene it will be more déjà vu when the head to Penn State on Friday for the State Championship game because it is District 11 Champion Williams Valley who awaits.  Williams Valley claimed the State title over West Greene a year ago with a walk-off 3-2 win. 

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