WPIAL champ Greensburg Salem edged in PIAA softball quarterfinals
Two first-inning errors spoiled another brilliant pitching performance by Jayne Oberdorf and cost Greensburg Salem a trip to the state semifinals.
Fort LeBoeuf, the District 10 champion, used an unearned run in a 1-0 victory against Greensburg Salem in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals Saturday at Slippery Rock.
The game was scheduled to be played Thursday, but heavy rains forced it to be postponed twice.
Fort LeBoeuf (19-4) will play Ambridge in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.
The loss ended the season for Greensburg Salem (22-3), which won its first WPIAL championship. The Golden Lions played shorthanded because starting third baseman Melissa Wagner, as well as the team's top pinch-runner, decided to skip the game to play in an AAU tournament in Indiana, Pa.
Greensburg Salem coach Jody Morgan didn't want to comment on the players' decisions.
“I don't think the better team won,” Morgan said. “We just had a couple costly errors and didn't get the key hit.”
The only run came in the bottom of the first when Greensburg Salem left fielder Maggie Kallock dropped Allania Banta's fly ball for a two-base error. Two outs later, Banta stole third and scored on catcher Taylor Mehan's throwing error.
“I thought one run could win it, but I didn't know for sure,” Fort LeBoeuf coach Brian Kirsch said. “I felt with our pitching and defense we could pull out the win.”
Fort LeBoeuf's only hit off Oberdorf came in the fifth inning on Kelsey Kuzma's blooper over first baseman Sydney Bacha. Oberdorf struck out seven, walk three and hit a batter.
Greensburg Salem collected only three hits off winning pitcher Amanda Krolczyk. She struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.
The Lions' biggest threat came in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out.
Claire Oberdorf reached on an error, and, after Karly Mellinger lined out, Mehan legged out an infield hit, her second single of the game. Jayne Oberdorf reached on Krolczyk's error, but Krolczyk got the next two batters, the final out a line drive by Caitlin Stoner.
“We put our players in that situation a lot at practice, bases loaded and no outs,” Kirsch said. “They don't flinch, and they believe they can get out of those situations.”
Claire Oberdorf reached on a two-out triple in the fifth inning, but Krolczyk caught a pop up to end the threat.
“We thought about squeezing, but I didn't have the right runner at third,” Morgan said. “The kid that struck out usually puts the ball in play. Things didn't balance out.”
Morgan said the extra two-day layoff wasn't a factor. She said she believed the players were too anxious, and Krolczyk was doing a good job working her hitters away.
“She didn't walk a batter and maybe we should have, worked her a little more,” Morgan said. “We had a great season.
“We won the WPIAL, and that was one of our goals. If we found away (Saturday), I think we could have won states. It just wasn't meant to be.”