Greensburg Salem edges Knoch in pitcher's dual
In a season punctuated by high-scoring softball games, Greensburg Salem and Knoch engaged in a good, old-fashioned pitching duel Wednesday afternoon at Gateway High School.
Back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning by Kelli Hutchinson and Alex Garsteck proved to be enough to hand the Golden Lions and junior righthander Jayne Oberdorf a 1-0 decision in a WPIAL Class AAA softball opening-round playoff game.
Oberdorf yielded just one hit and struck out 10 while Knights sophomore Britni Brandstetter pitched well in the loss, leaving five Greensburg Salem runners stranded in scoring position.
The Golden Lions, in the playoffs for the 10th straight season, will take their 14-2 record into the quarterfinal round Monday against Mars at a site and time to be determined.
“That is the first time anybody has shut us out this year,” Knoch coach Tim Knappenberger said. “I couldn't be more proud of the way Britni pitched today.
“The girls know umpires call the low and outside strike. We worked on it, but I don't know what happened today.”
With one out in the fourth, Hutchinson hit a bloop into center field that eluded three Knoch defenders, and she took second when no one was covering the base.
Garsteck, who had three hits, then slammed a double into right-center. She was out on a perfect relay to third by Abbie Thrower, but Hutchinson crossed the plate with what would be the game's only tally.
“Between Jayne and her sister (Claire) at short, they stepped up for us today,” Greensburg Salem coach Jody Morgan said. “She made two great plays at short that you don't see every day.”
Knoch didn't get hit a ball out of the infield Wednesday, partially because Claire Oberdorf went deep into the hole on hard grounders by Brandstetter and Codi Reed, retiring both batters. The only Knights' base hit was a single off the leg of Jayne Oberdorf by Abby Smithmyer in the top of third.
The closest Knoch came to scoring was in the seventh when pinch hitter Rachel Neff reached base on an error and was bunted to second by Sarah Steeple. But Jayne Oberdorf retired pinch hitter Chandler Krelow to end the game.
“I wanted to make sure I had all of my breaking pitches working and leave the rest up to my defense to back me up,” Jayne Oberdorf said.
George Guido is a freelance writer.