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Union softball team advances to third straight WPIAL title game

May 23—MCKEES ROCKS — The Union High softball team captured win No. 20 and punched its ticket to the WPIAL Class 1A championship.

The top-seeded Lady Scots cruised to a 10-0 WPIAL Class 1A semifinal win over fifth-seeded West Greene on Wednesday at Montour High School. The game ended in the sixth inning because of the mercy rule.

"It was kind of big for us," Fisher said on the win. "My first year (as a coach), we went to the WPIALs and (West Greene) shut us out. Then, I came back again and he shut me out again. This one's payback."

Union (20-1) will meet third-seeded Chartiers-Houston at the WPIAL Class 1A championships at PennWest University, California's Lilley Field. The Lady Scots are looking to defend their crown for the third year in a row.

"They work hard and obviously it shows," Fisher said on his team defending its crown for a third time.

Union's Mia Preuhs (14-1) picked up the win in the circle. Preuhs went the distance and gave up three hits, with a walk and seven strikeouts.

"I feel like it's very important to us," Preuhs said on going to the WPIAL championship. "We have a new team this year. We have a new catcher and third base. I feel like it's really important for us this year to make it and defend our title."

Fisher said Preuhs is "always great," adding, "It was just hot out today and she did well. I thought we got a little more defense on that side so she didn't have a lot of strikeouts but she had a lot of one-pitch outs."

Preuhs threw two strikeouts in the top of the first. After a 1-2-3 inning of flyouts in the bottom of the first for Union's bats, Preuhs returned the favor by striking out the next three West Greene batters.

"I was a little nervous before the game," Preuhs said. "But, I feel like getting ahead like that really helps me and the team build up our confidence."

West Greene's Payton Gilbert was tossing away from the plate to make the Lady Scots chase the pitches.

West Greene (13-8) positioned a runner on second in the top of the third, but a double play from Union ended the threat.

"They work so hard on (defense) that with Mia pitching usually you don't get much time to show it off," Fisher said. "I'm glad we got a little bit of time there."

Things opened up in the bottom of the third for Union thanks to Irelyn Fisher blasting a three-run home run to take the lead. Fisher led the Lady Scots with three RBIs.

"The first time I was up I did chase a little bit," Irelyn Fisher said. "But, I knew I had to get it done because we didn't have any on the board. I tried to just get three in and got it."

Mallory Gorgacz followed up the three-run homer by hitting a double to plate a run of her own to take a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

Sammi Zimmerman replaced Gilbert in the bottom of the sixth and Union's bats came alive with Olivia Williams plating two runs to start things off. Williams then scored on a passed ball.

Preuhs hit a solo home run in the sixth inning after Williams scored on the passed ball.

"I feel like the whole game I was just waiting for my pitch," Preuhs said. "Even when they changed pitchers, I didn't let it get to my head. I was just waiting on my pitch and helping my team out to get runs on the board."

Olivia Benedict singled in the bottom of the sixth to bring home Gorgacz and Tori May reached first base on an error to bring home Maddie Settle and end the game.

"I can't say there's a bad spot in that lineup," Fisher said. "I don't know. Just standing on third, I love to see it when they get up. It's either 4-5-6 or 1-2-3 or whatever's up, 8-9-1, you can't beat them. You try to get around one and the next one will kill you."

cpattison@ncnewsonline.com