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Unlikely hero leads Greensburg Salem softball in postseason

| Thursday, May 23, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem's Melissa Wagner pitches to a Southmoreland batter Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at Southmoreland High School. Southmoreland defeated Greensburg Salem, 11-4.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Greensburg Salem players celebrate their win against Highlands at a WPIAL Class AAA opening-round softball playoff game Thursday, May 16, 2013, at Plum High School.

A season full of hope and promise almost ended far too early. Then an unlikely hero stepped up on a large stage.

Greensburg Salem softball coach Jody Morgan called it a premonition.

Whatever the reason, her decision to move freshman left fielder Maggie Kallock up from the ninth batting spot to the sixth sure paid off.

Kallock, playing in her first varsity playoff game, smacked a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning — ultimately propelling the Lions past a pesky Highlands squad in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. It was her second home run of the season.

“It was pretty heroic,” Morgan said. “That was a big spot for a young player, and she really took care of business for us. Obviously that was the biggest hit of the game.”

And, perhaps, the biggest hit of the season so far. Kallock said she was ready for the moment.

“I went up there knowing I had to do something with the bases loaded and one out,” she said. “I was talking to myself. I wanted to hit the top of the ball. I've been working on turning on it more.”

The Golden Lions managed to then hold off yet another rally in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win and advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals, where they topped Blackhawk, 2-0, on Monday.

While a loss to Highlands would have been one of the big upsets of the year, Morgan knows games like that happen and all you can do is survive and move along.

“It was a strange, very dramatic game,” she said.

It was a rare close encounter for Greensburg Salem (19-2), which was scheduled to play West Allegheny in the semifinals Wednesday, after deadline for this edition.

The Golden Lions won their third straight Section 4-AAA title this season.

Oberdorf, a Marist recruit who leads the WPIAL in strikeouts with 189, tallied 17 wins, while junior center fielder Karly Mellinger compiled a .532 batting average. Oberdorf's sister, Claire, a sophomore shortstop, also batted .468 with two home runs.

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

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