That’s the word I think of when I think of the four-year run that West Greene softball has had.
No, I’m not saying the girls on the team are spoiled … I’m saying all of their accomplishments over the years have made everyone around them spoiled, including myself.
These types of runs or dynasty don’t happen a lot. They don’t happen with a small school and they usually don’t happen in Greene County.
Most softball seasons ends in late May, not late June at Penn State. The fact that I have had a chance to cover all three state championship games at Happy Valley has been really awesome to witness.
After the Lady Pioneers’ season came to end last week with a 3-2 loss to Dubois Central Catholic in the PIAA semifinals, a lot of people are coming out of the woodwork to say thank you and call out the greatness of West Greene’s run.
I could use a lot more words to describe their stellar run, but I’ve only got so much space for this column.
Let’s just take a step back and look at the numbers since 2016.
West Greene has won four straight section and WPIAL titles, it has been to four straight PIAA semifinals, the Lady Pioneers are a PIAA runner-up and finally they have won a pair of PIAA championships.
During that time frame West Greene is 96-12 on the softball diamond. Out of the Lady Pioneers’ 96 wins, 58 were mercy-rule wins. Out of their 12 losses, nine were decided by one run.
Greene County softball teams have won eight WPIAL titles, West Greene has four of them. Altogether, the county has won three PIAA titles across all sports, the Lady Pioneers have two of them.
Sure, the county has seen its fair share of successful programs like Carmichaels baseball in the 2000s or Jefferson-Morgan wrestling in the early 1990s or Waynesburg Central wrestling in the late 1970s.
But I dare anyone to disagree with me by saying that this four-year run by the Lady Pioneers isn’t the greatest by a Greene County team ever. The numbers, wins and titles don’t lie.
West Greene will say goodbye to eight seniors, five of which played since they were freshman and have made a lasting impact on the program, the school and the community.
Mackenzie Carpenter, Madison Lampe, McKenna Lampe, Kaitlyn Rizor and Brianna Goodwin all changed the game at West Greene and the expectation level these last four years.
I have gotten a chance to interview all five throughout the years, and not only are they good softball players, but even better kids. Always humble, always about the team and not themselves.
They put up video game-like statistics on the field, and have shown what hard work and dedication can do as you drive to be the very best.
And it looks like some will be making an impact in softball at the next level. The Lampe twins are going to Carlow University, while Rizor will be attending West Virginia Wesleyan and Carpenter will be staying in the area at Waynesburg University.
Also, kudos to the West Greene coaching staff and head coach Billy Simms.
Winning in anything can enhance your ego, but not for Simms. He is always grateful and always aware of the magnitude of games and moments. He takes nothing for granted and coaches with a lot of passion.
In this final run this spring, you can tell he had to keep his emotions in check because he knew what this senior class meant to the program. Those seniors will be missed, on and off the field.
Another thing that I will always remember about this four-year run is the West Greene crowds. It didn’t matter if the field was 20 minutes away or four hours away, they would come.
I know Coach Simms said it a lot throughout the years after playoff games and it was the truth, “If anybody wanted to rob anybody in Rogersville this might be a good time to do it.”
And it wasn’t just parents or family that would come, but the whole community would drive those miles and miss work to get to these games. Actually, the whole Greene County community would come out, as I always remember seeing people from the other county schools at the games.
Whenever I made those trips to cover games at Cal U’s Lilley Field or at Peterswood Park or in Someset or at my alma mater Slippery Rock University or at North Allegheny High School or even at Penn State, I knew I was in the right place when I saw those familiar faces and those familiar white, blue and yellow “We Are West Greene” T-shirts.
With all this recognition and thank yous for West Greene, some may think this might be the end to their run, but I totally disagree. Sure, they will probably not be as dominant or be the heavy favorites like they were the previous four years, but there’s still some talent there.
Jade Renner will still be pitching and you’ve got to like your chances with her in the circle. May I remind you that she has only lost one playoff game over the last three seasons.
You’ve also got returning starters coming back like Jersey Wise, Brianna Amos, Kiley Meek and Kylie Simms. And there’s also a fresh batch of underclassmen like Katie Lampe, Anna Durbin and Olivia Kiger lurking in the background and looking to carve out their names on the diamond.
The Lady Pioneers will likely be the favorites to win the section next year, and might even be the top team to win the WPIAL again. They did hold a 32-2 scoring margin in their three WPIAL playoff games.
Next season will definitely be different for West Greene, not just in softball but in basketball and cross country as well. But no one will ever take away what they did the last four years.
These last four years has been special, they have been memorable. They have definitely spoiled us.
So, let me join the long line of people by saying, thank you Lady Pioneers!