Previewing the WPIAL softball championships

| Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 12:30 a.m.

Class AAAA

Canon-McMillan vs. Hempfield

7 p.m. Thursday, California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field

Radio: WJPA-AM (1450)

How they got here: No. 5 seed Canon-McMillan beat No. 12 McKeesport, 4-1; No. 4 Norwin, 8-1; and No. 1 Shaler, 4-3. No. 2 Hempfield defeated No. 7 North Allegheny, 3-0; and No. 3 Peters Township, 4-0.

WPIAL titles: Canon-McMillan 0; Hempfield 2 (1998, 2009)

2011 title game: Latrobe 5, Seneca Valley 3

Notable: It's been nearly a month since the Hempfield softball team has allowed a run — a 5-3 loss to Latrobe on May 3 — and the Spartans have outscored opponents, 31-0, in winning their past five games. Hempfield is led by senior pitcher Karilynn Null, who replaced starter Hope Pehrson early in the season and has produced a 10-2 record. She'll have a challenge getting out Giorgianna Zeremenko, who has belted seven home runs this season and was the hero in the semifinals, with a walk-off single to beat No. 1 Shaler. The Big Macs defeated Hempfield, 1-0, earlier this season.

Projected winner: Hempfield

Probable lineups:


Coach: Michele Moeller

No. Player Pos. Yr.

11 Veronica Rothka SS Jr.

52 Maddie Engel 1B Jr.

21 Giorgianna Zeremenko C So.

13 Abby McCartney RF Fr.

8 Olivia Lorusso 3B So.

22 Yaszmin Kotar CF Jr.

2 Riley Piechnick DH Sr.

18 Allison Bellaire 2B So.

9 Tara Schram LF Sr.

12 Alayna Astuto P Jr.


Coach: Bob Kalp

No. Player Pos. Yr.

8 Alaina Montgomery LF So.

11 Nina Italiano 3B Sr.

5 Justyne Falbo SS Jr.

15 Alyssa Bates C Sr.

4 Maddie Knizner RF Jr.

21 Michaela LeDonne DP Fr.

34 Karilynn Null P Sr.

28 Caitlin Tobin CF Sr.

26 Callie Madden 2B Jr.

16 Kelly Mahoney 1B Jr.

Class AAA

Elizabeth Forward vs. Montour

4:30 p.m. Thursday, California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field

How they got here: No. 9 Elizabeth Forward beat No. 8 Indiana, 5-4; No. 1 Ambridge, 7-4; and No. 4 Greensburg Salem, 2-1. No. 2 Montour defeated No. 15 New Castle, 12-2; No. 10 Yough, 12-2; and No. 3 Belle Vernon, 3-2.

WPIAL titles: Elizabeth Forward 0; Montour 3 (1979, ‘87, 2010)

2011 title game: Yough 4, Ambridge 2

Notable: Montour pitcher Kaitlyn Kutchman is among the leading strikeout pitchers in the WPIAL, with 17 wins and 176 strikeouts. She also is batting .438 with four home runs. Kutchman threw three postseason shutouts during the Spartans' 2010 championship run. Elizabeth Forward hasn't won a title in a girls sport since a WPIAL basketball championship in 1975. The Warriors are led by pitcher Portia McBride, who has 17 wins and more than 150 strikeouts.

Projected winner: Montour

Probable lineups:


Coach: Harry Rutherford

No. Player Pos. Yr.

6 Courtney Hrabosky RF So.

3 Jen Keefer CF So.

23 Kelsey Havel SS Sr.

18 McKenna Kern 3B So.

27 Caitlyn Arico DP Fr.

13 Virginia Roche C Jr.

15 Ashley Baker LF So.

4 Jen Welsh 2B Sr.

1 Portia McBride P Jr.

7 Megan Sorton 1B Sr.

MONTOUR (16-5)

Coach: Bill Wills

No. Player Pos. Yr.

21 Stacey Capp SS Jr.

18 Megan Vacco RF So.

24 Kaitlyn Kutchman P So.

13 Allison Hryadil 3B So.

22 Tori Roman 1B Sr.

2 Stephanie Seibert 2B So.

43 Olivia Dixon LF So.

12 Malory Gerst C So.

44 Alyssa McMurtrie CF Jr.

Class AA

Deer Lakes vs. Greensburg Central Catholic

2 p.m. Thursday, California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field


How they got here: No. 4 Deer Lakes beat No. 13 Southmoreland, 12-2; No. 12 Mohawk, 6-5; and No. 1 Neshannock, 4-0. No. 7 Greensburg Central Catholic defeated No. 10 Burrell, 3-2; No. 2 Seton-La Salle, 6-0; and No. 6 Riverside, 6-3.

WPIAL titles: Deer Lakes 0; Greensburg Central Catholic 0

2011 title game: Burrell 3, Greensburg Central Catholic 1

Notable: GCC sophomore pitcher Anna Marie Gatti, a Syracuse recruit, threw a no-hitter in the quarterfinals and has seven wins and 98 strikeouts despite missing a month with a foot injury. At the plate, GCC is led by Karly Mellinger (.516) and Carolyn Appleby (.433). Deer Lakes counters with plenty of offensive firepower — Hannah Blinn (.563), Candace Scanga (.464), Tiffany Edwards (.441) and Sierra Sarver (.433). Greensburg Central Catholic defeated Deer Lakes, 6-2, in the 2011 semifinals.

Projected winner: Greensburg Central Catholic

Probable lineups:


Coach: Gary Ciarimboli

No. Player Pos. Yr.

5 Carolyn Appleby C Fr.

28 Karly Mellinger RF So.

17 Nikki Adisey SS Fr.

8 Julia Lang LF Jr.

19 Alie Perz 1B Sr.

12 Katie Hickey 3B Jr.

2 Leah Daigle 2B Sr.

16 Liana Denino DP So.

10 Sierra Mathos CF Fr.

42 Anna Marie Gatti P So.


Coach: Craig Taliani

No. Player Pos. Yr.

1 Becca Babincak SS Jr.

22 Katie Gozzard 2B Fr.

16 Candace Scanga CF Sr.

40 C.C. Sarver 1B So.

15 Hannah Blinn C Jr.

21 Tiffany Edwards 3B Fr.

18 Haliey Moretti P Sr.

3 Courtney Lubick RF Jr.

90 Leanne Crawford LF Jr.

Class A

Chartiers-Houston vs. Carmichaels

11:30 a.m. Thursday, California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field

Radio: WJPA-AM (1450)

How they got here: No. 1 Chartiers-Houston beat No. 16 Riverview, 11-1; No. 9 Jefferson-Morgan, 10-0; and No. 5 Vincentian, 3-1. No. 3 Carmichaels defeated No. 14 Serra Catholic, 10-0; No. 6 Shenango, 11-4; and No. 2 Sto-Rox, 6-5.

WPIAL titles: Carmichaels 2 (1997, '98); Chartiers-Houston 8 (1985, '87, '88, ‘99, 2005, ‘06, ‘07, ‘11)

2011 title game: Chartiers-Houston 9, Fort Cherry 3

Notable: Chartiers-Houston pitcher Kayla Briggs leads the WPIAL with 22 wins to go along with 183 strikeouts. Her counterpart, Cameron Grimes, has 16 wins and 93 strikeouts. Rachel Tucker (.640, 28 RBI) leads the Bucs offense, while Briggs is hitting .564 with 27 RBI. Lindsey Osborne leads Carmichaels with a .457 average and 28 RBI. Chartiers-Houston, which averages 11.69 runs per game, had its lone loss March 29, 10-2, at McGuffey. Carmichaels, which produces 10.08 runs per game, lost to Trinity, 3-2, also on March 29.

Projected winner: Chartiers-Houston

Probable lineups:


Coach: David Briggs

No. Player Pos. Yr.

11 Erica Burns 2B Fr.

23 Morgan Berardi SS Jr.

12 Cameron Grimes P Sr.

16 Lindsey Osborne C Jr.

22 Sarah Hathaway LF Sr.

9 Megan Bayles CF Sr.

14 Amanda Brown 3B So.

17 Regina Menhart DP Jr.

1 Caroline Cree 1B Fr.

6 Anna Cree RF Jr.


Coach: Tricia Alderson

No. Player Pos. Yr.

9 Kayla Briggs P Jr.

13 Piper McLaughlin LF Jr.

22 Colby Miller C Sr.

8 Rachel Tucker SS Sr.

16 Ashley Hall 1B Sr.

14 Haley Sutton 3B So.

7 Kelli Dufresne CF Sr.

21 Kassie Kesneck RF Fr.

4 Megan Kraushaar 2B Fr.

— Staff reports

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