Morgan, Greensburg Salem softball team are thriving in postseason
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Greensburg Salem softball coach Jody Morgan admits she's a little surprised her team has advanced to Monday's PIAA Class AAA semifinals.
But she's not complaining. In fact, she's enjoying the ride.
Greensburg Salem (18-2) is one victory away from playing in its first state championship game Friday at Penn State.
Standing in the Golden Lions' way is District 1 runner-up Springfield-Delco (24-3), a team Morgan believes is similar in many ways to her squad. Springfield-Delco defeated Shippensburg (4-2) and St. Mary's (7-0) in the PIAA playoffs.
The teams square off at 4 p.m. Monday at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg.
“I have a film on them, and they have a good pitcher and are strong up the middle with shortstop Tori DePetro and center fielder Taylor Winkelman,” Morgan said. “But they're a team we can beat.
“Since losing to Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL semifinals, we've been playing well. We've already won a WPIAL title. Why not a state title? We're playing well.”
There are a couple of reasons why Greensburg Salem is in its current position.
First is the play of shortstop Claire Oberdorf, who has pounded 11 home runs, including two in the playoffs. Oberdorf homered to lead off the game against Thomas Jefferson on Thursday.
Second is the consistent play of center fielder Karly Mellinger and second baseman Kellie Hutchinson. Mellinger and Hutchinson had big games against Warren. Morgan calls Hutchinson “Miss May” because she's hitting almost .800 in the playoffs.
There also is the pitching of Melissa Wagner. The Pitt-Johnstown recruit has cut down her walks this season and is averaging 10 strikeouts per game.
“Claire is having an amazing season,” Morgan said, “and Melissa has pitched well in every game. She's having a great season.
“We have a strong hitting team from top to bottom. Our No. 8 hitter, Madison Hantz had the game-winning home run against Thomas Jefferson.”
Springfield-Delco also features a solid lineup. In its victory against St. Mary's, the top seven hitters went 11 for 19 with seven RBIs.
Lead-off hitter Courtney Scarpato, the pitcher, is a speedster, while Winkelman, DePetro and Lauren Scarpato have some power. Winkelman hit a two-run home run against Shippensburg, while Lauren DePetro had a two-run double against St. Mary's.
The only other WPIAL softball team remaining in the playoffs is Neshannock (18-2), which faces a tough opponent in District 6 runner-up Claysburg-Kimmel. The Class A semifinal is at 4 p.m. at Hempfield.
Claysburg-Kimmel advanced by defeating DuBois Central Catholic, 8-2, and Iroquois, 6-1. Neshannock has posted an 11-1 win against Smethport and a 6-1 victory against Burgettstown.
“I thought we looked pretty good,” Neshannock pitcher Madison Shaffer said after the win against Burgettstown. “Offensively, we were strong again.”
Burgettstown coach Mark Deer said of Neshannock's order: “They're like Murderer's Row. They're tough outs.”
The lone baseball team remaining from the WPIAL is a huge surprise: WPIAL Class AAAA champion Seneca Valley (12-11), which plays at 4 p.m. Monday against Conestoga at Green Township Park in Scotland, near Chambersburg.
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