First-inning run holds up, as Greensburg Salem advances to PIAA tournament
No breathing room. No problem.
Jayne Oberdorf pitched a four-hitter and struck out 11, and Greensburg Salem withstood several late Belle Vernon scoring threats to escape with a 1-0 victory over the Leopards on Wednesday in the WPIAL Class AAA consolation softball game at California (Pa.) University's Lilley Field.
Greensburg Salem (16-3) advanced to play Monday in the PIAA tournament's first round, while Belle Vernon (17-7) was eliminated from the postseason.
“No errors, great defense,” Greensburg Salem coach Jody Morgan said. “And Jayne was outstanding again.”
Greensburg Salem scored the game's only run in the first inning on a two-out, RBI-double by Alyssa Mellinger, scoring Claire Oberdorf, who walked to lead off the inning against losing pitcher Haley Bashada.
Mellinger had two of Greensburg Salem's six hits off Bashada, who struck out six and walked one.
“I can see Greensburg Salem playing in the semifinals of states,” Belle Vernon coach Tom Rodriguez said. “(Jayne Oberdorf) is one of the top pitchers around. She kept us off-stride with her changeup. I don't feel too bad losing to her.”
Jayne Oberdorf, who lost a heart-breaking, 2-1 decision in the semifinals to Elizabeth Forward in a game in which she carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, held Belle Vernon hitless until the fifth, when the Leopards got two hits.
But the rally stalled when pinch-runner Kaitlyn Faiola was tagged for the third out after over-running third base following a single to center field by Samantha Peer.
“We were fortunate to win. Our defense carried us,” Jayne Oberdorf said.
Belle Vernon couldn't push a run across in the sixth after loading the bases against Oberdorf, who yielded a double to Natalie Bashada and allowed Courtney Seman to reach on a wild pitch after Seman had struck out swinging and Haley Bashada was hit by a pitch.
But the inning ended when Seman was called out after running into Greensburg Salem shortstop Claire Oberdorf as Oberdorf attempted to catch a pop-up for the final out.
“That was the key,” Rodriguez said. “We had second and third with one out to start that inning. We should have gotten it done.”
In the seventh, Alexis Ellin led off with a double for Belle Vernon, but pinch-runner Nicole Ashcroft was stranded as Jayne Oberdorf got Katie Anna and Peer to pop out and Ashley Seman to line out to Claire Oberdorf for the final out.
“To get out of the sixth and seventh like that was incredible,” Morgan said. “I'll go with these girls any day. I'll go with Jayne every day of the week.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.