Kylie Staudt will be dealing with prescriptions a lot in the future, as she plans on studying pharmacy when she begins classes at the University of Pittsburgh this fall.

Staudt and her Seneca Valley teammates played for a WPIAL softball championship Friday, and Staudt came through with a memorable hit in the clutch that was just what the doctor — or in this case, the Raiders — ordered.

Staudt delivered a run-scoring single in the bottom of the eighth inning and winning pitcher Lexie Hames overcame a slow start to strike out 19 and help heavily favored Seneca Valley rally for a 4-3 walk-off win against Norwin in the Class 6A final at PennWest California’s Lilley Field.

So, a year after losing an eight-inning battle in the final (it fell to Hempfield, 2-1), No. 2 Seneca Valley (21-1) won one, giving the Raiders a second WPIAL title in three years and fourth overall. And by doing so, they kept No. 5 Norwin (10-11) from winning its first title.

Seneca Valley scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull even with Norwin, 3-3, before forcing extra innings. After Hames set down Norwin in order in the top of the eighth, Seneca Valley’s Anna Kalkowski smacked a one-out double to left-center field in the bottom of the inning before being replaced by pinch-runner Julia Valasek. That brought to the plate Staudt, a senior right fielder and No. 7 hitter who at that point of the game had collected three of the team’s nine hits. Despite her hot bat, Norwin decided to pitch to Staudt instead of intentionally walking her, something they did to Hames in each of her four at-bats.

“I think they’re so fixated on walking Lexie that I don’t know if they pay attention to the other ones, and they really should be because she was on fire,” Seneca Valley coach Marlesse Hames said. “She was hitting it really hard all game. Being a senior, being here before, she was just excited to be in this position.”

Seneca Valley’s Kylie Staudt jumps in celebration after hitting the game-winning RBI against Norwin in the WPIAL Class 6A championship Friday at PennWest California’s Lilley Field. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

So excited that Staudt decided that enough was enough and it was time to win the championship. Staudt took an 0-1 offering from Norwin’s Abbie Telli (she relieved starter Brookelyn Kotch, who tossed six innings), sent it to right field, and Valasek easily beat the throw home to give Seneca Valley the dramatic win.

“It took a minute to set in, and then I realized we’re going to states, and I was just excited for the whole team,” said Staudt, who finished 4 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Meanwhile, it was a difficult loss for a Norwin team that started two freshmen and two sophomores.

“We made it a game. Imagine that,” Norwin coach Brian Mesich said. “I’m proud of the effort. It just stinks for the girls when you get that close.”

Just like every other Seneca Valley game, the headliner was Hames, a junior standout and Clemson commit who is arguably the WPIAL’s best player. The Raiders blanked Norwin by scores of 3-0 and 2-0 in the regular season, with Hames throwing a one-hitter with 20 strikeouts in the first meeting. Hames entered Friday’s game with a 14-0 record and 0.38 ERA.

Norwin’s Josey Michalski dives for the ball against Seneca Valley in the WPIAL Class 6A championship on Friday, May 31, 2024, at PennWest California’s Lilley Field. Michalski missed the catch but threw the ball to second to get the runner out. Seneca Valley won, 4-3. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Getting to 15-0 wasn’t easy, though. Upstart Norwin, which stunned No. 1 and defending champion Hempfield in the semifinals, scored runs in the first and second innings to take a surprising 3-0 advantage. Hames, who said she was dealing with nerves, struggled mightily with her control early on, walking two, hitting a batter and surrendering three hits over the first two innings. There were quite a few wild pitches and passed balls, as well. Bailey Snowberger scored on one of those passed balls in the first before scoring on Diem Wardzinski’s two-out, two-run single in the second.

“I was like, ‘Crap, what’s going on? I can’t feel my body right now.’ That kind of thing,” Hames recalled. “It was just nerves and all that kind of stuff.”

But Hames settled in and over the final five innings allowed only a hit and a pair of walks while reaching double-digit strikeouts for the 13th time this season. She now has 241 strikeouts in 100⅔ innings.

“Once she settled in, I know I’m her mom, but as a coach, when Lexie is settled in, it’s very hard to get a hit off her,” Marlesse Hames said. “When she’s dialed in, she’s on it. And that ball just spins and spins and we were able to shut them down. I feel like nobody’s better on that mound.”

Seneca Valley’s Lexie Hames gave up four hits while striking out 19 in her team’s 4-3 eight-inning win against Norwin in the WPIAL Class 6A championship at PennWest California’s Lilley Field. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

But as good as Hames was on the mound for most of the game, she couldn’t help much with her bat since she was intentionally walked time after time. But Seneca Valley’s offense was finally heard from in the third when Kara Pasquale hit an RBI triple and again in the sixth when the Raiders scored two to pull even. Neve Miller led off the sixth with a single and scored on Staudt’s triple. Freshman Olivia Herrem followed with an opposite field single to make it 3-3.

“I knew that once we got our energy up we’d be good,” Staudt said.

Better than good, actually.

Try WPIAL champions.

“It feels amazing,” Lexie Hames said. “It means the world to not only me but to our team. We have a sign on our locker room door this year that says ‘Revenge Tour 2024,’ and we’re not done with it. We have states on Monday. This is a stepping stone. And we are just ecstatic to be WPIAL champions.”

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

Brad Everett

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