Lady Bulldogs fall in close one to WPIAL champs

SOMERSET — The West Greene High School softball team brought some daunting numbers into Thursday’s PIAA Class 1A quarterfinal-round matchup against Claysburg-Kimmel.

West Greene made it all the way to the state finals last year, and had lost just once in 24 games entering Thursday’s game at the Somerset Area High School softball field.

The WPIAL champions had scored an average of nearly 11 runs per game entering Thursday’s contest.

Nonetheless, Claysburg and talented senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Garver did a good job of keeping that high-powered West Greene attack under wraps Thursday before solo homers by junior shortstop Madison Renner and sophomore second baseman Kaitlyn Rizor in the sixth inning gave the Lady Pioneers some breathing room en route to a 3-1 victory.

“It was a well-played game by both sides,” said Claysburg coach Mike Barbarini, whose team finished the season with a 16-8 record after placing second to Glendale in the District 6 tournament. “Courtney was pitching so well, but they got two pitches that they put good swings on and hit them over the fence. That’s what good teams do.”

West Greene led just 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning before Renner belted her 12th homer of the season and Rizor followed up immediately with her seventh of the year, providing the offensive contributions that made the difference in the game.

Renner’s two-out blast cleared the left-field fence with plenty to spare.

“I just wanted to keep the inning going, and I was fortunate enough to hit it good,” Renner said. “Then Kaitlyn (Rizor) comes up and crushes one, too.”

Rizor’s homer was of a higher trajectory and barely made it over the fence in left field, but it counted as much just the same.

“Renner can pound the ball — there’s only one park that she can’t hit it out of, and that’s Yellowstone,” quipped West Greene coach Bill Simms. “Madison hit a towering shot there, and Kate (Rizor) followed it up with another one. That gave us a little cushion, a little shot in the arm.”

Garver knew that the West Greene team is a talented group that would be a handful.

“They’re very good,” Garver said. “They play travel ball all year around, and if you put in the work all year around, it will definitely pay off.”

Garver provided Claysburg’s only offense herself with a solo homer down the left field line off West Greene freshman left-handed pitcher Jade Renner with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull Claysburg to within 3-1.

But that’s all that the Lady Bulldogs could get against Jade Renner, who allowed just three hits in a complete-game effort.

West Greene’s defense came through in stellar fashion behind her as well, as center fielder McKenna Lampe made an excellent running catch of a ball hit into the right-center gap by Claysburg first baseman Madison Knisley to close out the sixth inning, and Madison Renner made a full-extension diving catch of freshman Emily Claar’s pop-up toward the middle of the infield to start the seventh inning.

West Greene scored the first run of the game in the first inning off Garver, who allowed only six hits. McKenna Lampe’s speed helped the Lady Pioneers manufacture the run. Lampe made it all the way to second base after putting down a perfect bunt, and stole third before scoring on a sacrifice fly to left field by Madison Renner, who has driven in 55 runs this season.

Barbarini was happy with the improvement that his team made from the beginning of the season until the end.

“We’ve grown as a team through the season,” said Barbarini, whose squad graduates three only three seniors — Garver, third baseman Keyara Morgan, and catcher Samantha Fickes. “We’ve gotten better, and played with more confidence. If we work hard and continue to grow in confidence this offseason, we’ll be back (here) again next year.”

Game notes: Sophomore second baseman Corryne Weyandt had two of Claysburg’s three hits — singles in the second and seventh innings … Knisely made Claysburg’s defensive play of the game at first base, diving to catch a fifth-inning pop-up off the bat of Lexi Mooney … West Greene advanced to the semis Monday to play DuBois Central Catholic, a 9-3 quarterfinal-round winner over Commodore Perry on Thursday.

WEST GREENE (3): McKenna Lampe cf 311, Madison Lampe 3b 301, M. Renner ss 211, Rizor 2b 311, J. Renner p 301, Thomas cr 000, Goodwin cr 000, Rode dh 300, Mooney 1b 300, Stover lf 301, Carpenter rf 300, Morris c (flex) 000. Totals — 26-3-6.

CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (1): Morgan 2b 300, Mikalynn Baumann cf 300, Garver p 211, Kennedy cr 000, Knisely 1b 300, Claar ss 300, Weyandt 2b 302, Brown lf 200, Kennedy ph 100, Fickes c 200, Mikenlee Bauman rf 100. Totals — 23-1-3.

SCORE BY INNINGS

West Greene 100 002 0–3 6 0

Claysburg-Kimmel 000 001 0–1 3 0

2B–McKenna Lampe. HR–Madison Renner, Rizor, Garver. RBI–M. Renner, Rizor, Garver. LOB–Claysburg-Kimmel 4, West Greene 3. SAC–Mikenlee Bauman. SB–McKenna Lampe, Madison Lampe. SF–M. Renner. HBP–Fickes by Jade Renner.

PITCHING: West Greene: J. Renner (W), 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 2SO. Claysburg-Kimmel: Garver (L) 7IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 2SO.

Umpires: Plate–Sam Puglisi. First base–Rick Pavlisko. Second base–Frank D’Amico. Third base–Mitch Bachuchin. Time of game: 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Records: West Greene (24-1); Claysburg-Kimmel (16-8).

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