Bethel Park's Sandra Soltes helped lead Bethel Park to a berth in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game.

Sandra Soltes and Delaney Nagy teamed up to help lead the Bethel Park softball team to a 9-0 WPIAL Class 6A semifinal victory over Pine-Richland May 26 at West Mifflin.

Soltes smacked a two-run homer to highlight one of two three-run innings for the Hawks.

“It was a big situation for us and I saw low and inside so I just went with it,” Soltes said. “It felt awesome coming off the bat. Such a cool moment.”

BP head coach Heather Scott was equally impressed.

“(Soltes) pounded it. There is no other word for it,” Scott said. “She was in the zone.”

Soltes is a junior on a team featuring four senior Division I recruits. Reagan Milliken has committed to Ohio State, while Nagy will play at Connecticut, Gianna Sciullo has committed to Georgetown and Lauren Caye will play at Seton Hall.

“Actually I do feel compelled to play up to their expectations. We all do. We hold ourselves to high standards,” said Soltes, a junior who is committed to Pitt.

In compiling a 17-0 record, the Hawks have outscored their opposition, 178-37. They have pitched two shutouts in their past three outings.

Nagy has been a force on the mound. Against the Rams, she retired 16 batters after a rocky start and a rain delay.

Pine-Richland loaded the bases in the first inning on three balls that did not get beyond the infield. A double play and a ground out curtailed the threat as Nagy went on to strike out five and allow only one more hit.

“Delaney did a great job,” Scott said. “She has been my ace all year. When she’s on, we feed off that.”

Although she struck out 11, Pine-Richland pitcher Gabriella Aughton could not stave off the Hawks. The Boston College commit surrendered eight hits.

In the first inning, Sciullo tagged a double that scored Caye with the only run BP needed.

In the third, Sciullo socked another base hit. Her single drove in Alie Sniegocki before Aughton struck out the side.

“(Aughton) is probably the best pitcher we have seen all year,” Scott said.

Scott added she was pleased with how her team battled, particularly after weathering a rain delay. After that mid-third inning break, BP scored seven runs.

“We came back and we were able to continue what we had done in the beginning,” Scott said.

Caye singled twice and scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings. She also drove in a run.

Milliken singled and drove in a run in four at bats. She came into the contest batting .682 with 11 homer runs and 36 RBI.

The win moved the Hawks into the WPIAL championship game set for June 3 at California University of Pennsylvania.

BP will face a familiar foe in Canon-McMillan. During the regular season, the Hawks beat the Big Macs 18-4 and 9-5.

“We are super excited to play for a championship because it has been a long, long time for Bethel and we’ve never won a title,” said Scott. “We’ll prepare for Canon-Mac. Though we’ve seen them twice we know they are tough. They are a second-half team so we have to be ready to go.”

Soltes surely will be prepared. She said the bigger the game, the more comfortable she is.

“Actually I don’t get very nervous,” Soltes said. “Whenever I do, I don’t do too well. So I’m very calm when it comes to big games.

“Canon-Mac will be tough to play because we’ve seen them three times,” she added. “So I expect it will be a good game. We have to come out against them with a lot of energy like we did against Pine-Richland.”

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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