WAYNESBURG – For the sixth consecutive time, the West Greene Pioneers will be in the WPIAL Class A softball semifinal round following a 7-0 win over section foe Mapletown on Thursday.
The quarterfinal game was played at Waynesburg University but felt more like a Pioneers home game as there was a large turnout of fans in blue and yellow.
The Pioneers were led by senior pitcher Kiley Meek, who dominated the game. Meek only allowed only four hits over seven innings, recording 12 strikeouts and walking three batters.
“She is a workhorse for us,” West Greene head coach Bill Simms said. “She had a wow-type of performance in this one. She had great confidence starting from her warmup and it showed throughout the game.”
The game was much tighter than the 7-0 final might suggest. Mapletown kept the score at 2-0 for four and a half innings. Part of the Maples’ success defensively was the rotation of senior Macee Cree and sophomore Devan Clark, who split time at third base and pitcher.
“Jeff (Cree) did a tremendous job with Clark and Cree keeping us off balance,” Simms said. “They never gave us the same look twice in a row, which is where we’ve had success against them in the past.”
West Greene freshman Payton Gilbert tallied two base hits and a double to go 3-for-3. Meek helped herself by tallying three hits with an RBI.
“She had an impact day for us,” Simms said about Gilbert. “She really has done well for us done the stretch, even helping us with pitching. We’re looking forward to her continuing her career, but she did have a banner day.”
The Pioneers are set to return to action next Tuesday when they play the winner of fourth-seeded Springdale and fifth-seeded South Side Beaver, which is scheduled for today.
“We’ve won a little bit in this run, but we never want a team to be hungrier than us,” Simms said “As long as we stay hungry and don’t let teams want it more than us, we’ll be okay.”
Chartiers Valley, 6-5: Trinity fell 6-5 to the Chartiers Valley in the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs. The loss eliminated the Hillers from the WPIAL playoffs as they fell one win short of a PIAA Championship bid.
Both the third-seeded Hillers and the 11th-seeded Colts are members of Section 4 and they met twice in the regular season. Trinity won both of those games by scores of 11-4 and 14-5. Chartiers Valley pulled an upset in their first-round matchup 11-1 in five innings against the 6-seed Fox Chapel.
“They’re a good hitting team and we expected that,” Trinity head coach Shawn Gray said about the Colts. “We played them twice before and they were both battles. We intentionally walked hitters because they are great hitters, but unfortunately we had too many errors that we got burned on.”
Trinity’s starting pitcher, junior Taylor Dunn, pitched seven innings surrendering just one earned run, seven hits, striking out three and walking only one. Unfortunately for Dunn, the Hillers committed five errors.
“Errors will always come back to haunt you,” Gray said. “Our errors today haunted us. It was definitely lopsided in the error column, and it cost us.”
The score was 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning when Chartiers-Valley seized control on a controversial two-out error by junior Kristina Bozek. On the play, Bozek came in contact with Chartiers Valley junior Zoe Mangan. After an argument from Gray and a lengthy discussion amongst umpires Gene Franks, Pat Lyons and Herald Boclay, the call was confirmed, and two runs scored on the play.
“Unfortunately, it comes down to an umpire sitting behind the play,” Gray said. “Anyone inside should’ve been able to see that contact, called a dead ball, and the runner would’ve been called out.”
The loss brings the Hillers’ final record to 16-3 on the season. Chartiers Valley will continue their Cinderella story when they play second-seeded Penn-Trafford next Tuesday.