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By Dave Floyd

After missing the playoffs for the first time in 32 years in 2014, the Hempfield softball team responded in a big way in 2015.

Hempfield starting pitcher Morgan Ryan stymied the North Allegheny offense, allowing only a single hit to lead the Spartans to a 3-0 victory Tuesday evening at California University’s Lilly Field. It was the Spartans’ third WPIAL crown and first since 2009.

After Ryan struck out three NA batters in the top of the first inning and another in the top of the second, Hempfield drew first blood in the bottom of the second.

Junior right fielder Taylor Blevins hit a one-out triple and scored two batters later when catcher/designated player Madison Stoner smacked a two-out RBI double into the right centerfield gap. Stoner then came around to score when the Tigers committed a double error.

Hempfield eventually tacked on an insurance run in the fifth to help seal the win.

Ryan went the distance to pick up the victory in the circle for the Spartans. The sophomore gave up just the one hit, one walk and one hit batsman, while striking out seven. She also knocked in her team’s insurance tally with an RBI groundout.

Stoner and senior third baseman Kelsie Hendrick collected two hits apiece. Hendrick came around to score the game’s final run.

Junior pitcher Madi Beining suffered her first loss of the season for North Allegheny, surrendering three runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk. Junior catcher Liz Scherer notched the Tigers only hit with an infield single in the sixth.

Both teams now move onto the PIAA state playoffs set to begin on Monday. Hempfield will take on Shaler at a site and time to be determined. The Tigers will travel north to take on the District 10 champion McDowell Trojans.