Who: No. 15 Knoxville (22-8) vs No. 8 West Liberty (21-7)
What: Class 3A - Region 8 - Semifinal
Where: West Liberty
When: Friday, July 9 at 7 p.m.
First meeting in VarsityBound era (since 2006).
One key player for Pella Christian
Knoxville needs the Ciara Heffron that went 4-for-5 against PCM with two doubles. On the season, she is hitting .333 with four home runs and 22 RBIs. When she is on, Heffron is a dangerous hitter in the middle of the Knoxville lineup that can produce a lot of runs. The Panthers will be going up against a good West Liberty pitching staff that has two quality pitchers that throw strikes and get strikeouts. Heffron and Knoxville bats will have their work cut out for them. If Knoxville elects to switch things up in the circle, Heffron has been a good option at 9-3 with a 1.38 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings.
Keys for Pella Christian
Something will have to give in this top 15 matchup. Both teams enter with great pitching and great hitting. West Liberty has a trio of tough outs in the Hall girls. Sailor Hall (.407 BA, 1 HR, 34 RBI), Finley Hall (.421 BA, 3 HR, 28 RBI) and Pearson Hall (.438 BA, 2 HR, 17 RBI). Sailor Hall will also be a tough matchup on the rubber where she is 10-4 with a 1.81 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings. Knoxville can matchup with the offense and pitching on paper so the difference may be in the field where the Panthers and Comets both average almost two errors per game. Any mistakes in the field will extend innings for both of these dangerous lineups which could lead to big innings for either team. The winner will punch their ticket to the 3A Regional Final.