After Our Lady of the Sacred Heart fell flat in a lopsided defeat against Bentworth with a chance to split the Class 2A Section 3 crown in the regular-season finale, the Chargers didn’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves.

With a short turnaround going into the first round of the playoffs, No. 5-seeded OLSH rebounded Tuesday to defeat Steel Valley, setting up a matchup Thursday against No. 4 Serra Catholic at Montour. The Chargers fell into an early two-run deficit, then erupted for six runs in the top of the second inning en route to a 10-5 triumph over the Eagles. The win clinched a third consecutive WPIAL semifinal appearance for OLSH, which has never won a WPIAL title.

“I think you had two evenly matched teams. I think program-wise, very similar,” said Chargers coach Dave Quinn. “I knew it was going to be a tough game, but our kids persevered, and they played hard. Our girls are doing things that I didn’t think we would do this year after losing five seniors.”

After belting a pivotal home run in the 8-5 first-round win over the Ironmen just two days earlier, sophomore catcher Leann Walzer had another huge game for OLSH against Serra. Walzer went 2 for 5 with five RBIs while batting out of the leadoff spot, including a bases-clearing double and a two-run single in the top of the seventh to blow open the game.

“Those are timely, huge, crucial hits at this time of the year. She’s been tremendous in the leadoff spot for us,” Quinn said. “She’s a little bit of a free swinger, but sometimes I’ll take that over not swinging at all.”

OLSH senior Morgan O’Brien delivered a trio of hits for the Chargers in a 10-5 win over Serra Catholic Thursday in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

One of the leading hitters in the WPIAL and a future two-sport athlete in volleyball and softball at Westminster, senior Morgan O’Brien had another big game at the plate for the Chargers, finishing 3 for 4 with an RBI. Lilli Wamsley went 1 for 3 and scored twice while picking up the win after allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk to go with six strikeouts.

“[O’Brien] doesn’t say a heck of a lot. She’s very quiet,” Quinn said. “She’s just one of those leaders by example. She kind of puts everybody on her back, and everybody follows. Great kid.”

Now, OLSH must refocus its attention toward a monumental task lying ahead in the form of mighty Neshannock, the undefeated two-time defending WPIAL champion. Quinn knows his team will be a massive underdog going into the semifinal round, but he certainly likes the way his players are swinging the bat right now — and although Neshannock has only lost one game in the past three years, anything is possible, right?

“You can pretty much a make a confident statement that this team we’re playing here, it very well could be the best team in all classifications,” Quinn said about the Lancers. “It’s the old adage in sports — the closer you can keep the game, into the fourth, fifth or sixth inning, that’s where anything can happen.

“That win today gives us two more games, minimum. It just helps the program, one way or another.”

OLSH coach Dave Quinn talks to his team in an 8-5 win over Steel Valley Tuesday in the first round of the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs at North Allegheny. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other Class 2A quarterfinals

• With ace pitcher Addy Frye resting up for the stretch run, senior Abigale Measel took center stage for two-time defending WPIAL champion Neshannock, striking out 10 while allowing one run on one hit and one walk in five innings of work for the No. 1 Lancers in an 11-1 win over No. 9 Riverside at Mohawk. Miley Anderson and Gabby Perod each tallied a trio of hits for unbeaten Neshannock, which has now won 68 of its past 69 games.

Flame-throwing freshman phenom Sydney Gonglik picked up her first career playoff win as No. 2 Bentworth remained unbeaten against WPIAL competition on the year with an 8-1 win over No. 7 Shenango at North Allegheny. Gonglik fanned 15 while allowing one unearned run on three walks and three hits, and she also went 3 for 3 with a walk and scored two runs. Nora Lindley went 3 for 3 with a walk and four RBIs for the Bearcats.

• Autumn Boyd hurled a complete-game shutout while striking out 13 and allowing only one walk and two hits, leading No. 3 Laurel to a 4-0 victory against No. 6 Charleroi at North Allegheny. Addie Deal went 3 for 4 with a double and drove in two the Spartans, while Hayden Seifert went 3 for 3 with an RBI.

Class 3A quarterfinals

Ligonier Valley ace Cheyenne Piper followed up her 14-strikeout perfect game Tuesday against Keystone Oaks by firing her third consecutive no-hitter, striking out 17 and walking none in a 1-0 win against No. 10 Ellwood City at Plum. Her throwing error in the first prevented Piper from pitching back-to-back postseason perfect games. Piper now has a streak of 22 1/3 consecutive hitless innings dating to the sixth inning May 7 of a 2-1 win over WPIAL Class 5A semifinalst Latrobe.

• Two-time defending champion Avonworth received a stiff test from No. 8 Yough, but the No. 1 Antelopes advanced to the semifinal round once again with a 4-0 win at Plum. Star senior Alivia Lantzy tossed a one-hit shutout and punched out 10, surpassing 600 career strikeouts in the complete-game victory, while Sydney Savatt went 3 for 4 with a trio of doubles and Rylee Gray went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

Class 1A quarterfinals

• Sophomore pitcher Grace Stein entered a quarterfinal contest against No. 3 Chartiers-Houston with a sparkling resume for No. 6 Jeannette, including a record of 12-2 and 196 strikeouts to just four walks, but the Buccaneers flexed their muscles early and often against Stein en route to a 16-0 triumph in four innings at West Mifflin. Ella Richey went 4 for 4 with two homers and five RBIs, while Lauren Rush also blasted two homers and drove in three. Meadow Ferri allowed one hit in four scoreless innings and struck out nine to earn the win.

• Carys McConnell went 4 for 4 with an RBI and scored twice, and Bailey Barnyak twirled a one-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts for No. 2 Carmichaels in a 7-0 win over No. 7 South Side at Montour. Kaitlyn Waggett went 2 for 4 with a triple and 3 RBIs, and Ali Jacobs and Avery Voithofer each registered two hits for the Mighty Mikes.


Class 3A quarterfinals

Avonworth 4, Yough 0

Ligonier Valley 1, Ellwood City 0

Mohawk 2, Freeport 1

South Park 4, Central Valley 0

Class 2A quarterfinals

Bentworth 8, Shenango 1

Laurel 4, Charleroi 0

Neshannock 11, Riverside 1

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 10, Serra Catholic 5

Class 1A quarterfinals

Carmichaels 7, South Side 0

Chartiers-Houston 16, Jeannette 0

Union 11, Jefferson-Morgan 2

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve Rotstein

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at