Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class AAA Stately: Greensburg Salem Keeps Grinding toward Piaa Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class AAA Stately: Greensburg Salem Keeps Grinding toward Piaa Title

Article excerpt

It was not a position the Greensburg Salem softball team was supposed to be in, but it nonetheless found itself there.

After tearing through their competition for much of the season, including a stretch from April 18 to May 6 in which they outscored opponents by a combined 66-0 margin, the Golden Lions quickly and unexpectedly ran into what some outside the program could have viewed as serious problems.

There was a lopsided loss to an 8-8 Southmoreland team that missed out on the WPIAL playoffs, but the team rested several top players for a game it did not see as meaningful.

But it was what happened next that nearly derailed the team's promising season.

The top seed in Class AAA, Greensburg Salem needed a grand slam in the final inning to get past Highlands, a No. 16 seed that finished 8-6 in the regular season.

While the setbacks and close calls halted what had been a dominant run, it was a pair of contests that helped refocus perhaps the best team in the state in its class.

Having taken some small lumps, the Golden Lions are now prepared for their sport's ultimate goal -- a state championship.

Since that two-game stretch, Greensburg Salem has regained the strong form it displayed for much of the season, winning its past four games, capturing the WPIAL championship and, most recently, a spot in the PIAA quarterfinals.

"We're pretty pleased with how the season has gone," Greensburg Salem coach Jody Morgan said. "We're the best team that I've seen all year and we're right where we need to be at this point in the season."

If there was one true pitfall to the team's brief struggles, it was that they seemingly obscured what has shaped up to be a potentially historic season.

After finishing 17-4 last season and winning a game in the PIAA playoffs, Greensburg Salem built on that success with a 17-2 regular- season record it obtained by outscoring opponents by an average of 7.58 runs per game.

Following the games against Southmoreland and Highlands, the Golden Lions shut out Blackhawk and held off West Allegheny to make the WPIAL championship.

It was there that the team turned in perhaps its best performance of the season, scoring an 8-0 rout against an Ambridge squad that had lost by no more than four runs this season. …

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