CALIFORNIA — They are the disrupters, ready to destroy the best-laid plans to beat West Greene’s softball team.
They thrive on creating chaos on the bases and nothing gives them more satisfaction than to see an opposing team throw the ball around, a step too late and a yard too short.
Jersey Wise and Katie Lampe, the Chaos Creators, were at their finest Wednesday afternoon at Lilley Field on the campus of California University of Pa.
The two did more damage to Union than any opponents’ full team could pull off and that’s why West Greene needed only four innings to come away with a 17-2 thumping and win their fifth straight WPIAL Class A title.
The Lady Pioneers tied Sto-Rox (2000-04) and Hempfield (2015-19) for the most consecutive softball titles won in a row in district history. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic closing down spring sports last season, West Greene has been the reining champs longer than any other team in WPIAL history.
“It was amazing. I knew that if we both started out strong, the whole team would fall in place with us,” said Wise. “And they did.”
The Pioneers had 17 runs on only seven hits and took advantage of eight Union errors and nine walks by Union starter Halaena Blakley.
Wise’s line in the box score reads somewhat like a Mr. Zero candy bar: zero at-bats, zero hits and zero RBI. Take a closer look, however, and you see the damage she did: four runs and three stolen bases, including one at home plate.
“I never had a game like this before,” said Wise. “We love putting pressure on teams. It works for us.”
Wise stole home in a three-run third inning and her four runs kept her in first place for the Pioneers with 37, one more than Lampe.
Lampe, the younger sister of Carlow University sophomores McKenna and Madison, had a more traditional line in the box score, going 2-for-4 with four runs and five RBI. She was on base in all four times — a fielder’s choice and three-base error were the other two times.
“We’re supposed to cause chaos,” said Lampe, who is closing in on London Whipley for the team RBI lead. Lampe has 33 and Whipkey 43, after knocking in three runs against Union.
“We’re both pretty fast. We can hit the ball and bunt the ball. So yeah, we really do cause chaos.”
West Greene (18-2) scored two in the first inning, six in the second, three in the third and six in the top of the fourth.
Starter pitcher Kiley Meek was steady for the Lady Pioneers, giving up two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out two. Her two strikeouts give her 133 on the season and she has five shutouts and two no-hitters.
The only thing West Greene lost yesterday was the coin flip, making them bat first as the visiting team. Even that worked out well as West Greene got two runs in the top of the first inning and that seemed to have a calming effect on the team.
“My men’s coach, whenever we played fastpitch, we’d win the toss and still choose visitors because we had a dominant team,” said West Greene athletic director and head softball coach Bill Simms. “So I’m not that upset when we lose the flip and have to bat first.”
Simms was pleased the team won its fifth WPIAL title in a row, but said there are higher goals to obtain.
“I don’t think too much about that,” he said. “I’m proud of this group we have now. To COVID it out like everyone else is special. It’s like our first one. I know it’s our fifth but it just feels that way.”
Union (12-8) was coming off a 7-2 upset of Leechburg and was not expected to make it to the finals.
“I respect his team and knew that this might happen,” said Union head coach Doug Fisher. “I know they have a great team and if we make mistakes, they are going to capitalize on them.”
Taylor Karvan and Lexi Six each drove in two runs for West Greene, which will begin play in the PIAA playoffs Monday with the site, time and opponent to be determined.