2011 MSA SPORTS SWEET 16 WPIAL SOFTBALL
Friday, July 1, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Welcome to the inaugural season of the best coverage of WPIAL Girls Softball anywhere. This year MSA Sports is debuting the “Sweet 16” Softball Program. 16 of the most successful WPIAL Girls Softball programs have committed to joining together to help promote and increase recognition for one of the most exciting interscholastic sports that we have in western Pennsylvania.
Included in the membership are the returning WPIAL Class A (Vincentian Academy Royals) Class AA (Valley Vikings) Class AAA (Montour Spartans) and PIAA Class A (Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers) Champions! All season long on the MSA Sports Network the 16 members of the “Sweet 16” will be featured with updated results standings Players-of-the-Week Players-of-the-Game and weekly games broadcast only here on the exclusive home of the 2011 WPIAL Girls Softball playoffs and championships the MSA Sports Network.
* SWEET 16 SOFTBALL PROGRAM 2011 CLASS AAAA/AAA PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR AND ALL-STAR TEAM
By: JONATHAN WHALEY
The “Sweet 16” Class AAAA/AAA Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Year and the All-Star Team were selected by the voting of member coaches and Jonathan Whaley of the MSA Sports Network. The 15 person team is composed of (8) seniors (4) juniors (2) sophomores and (1) freshmen. Positionally it is comprised of (6) pitchers (3) shortstops (2) second basemen (2) first basemen (1) third basemen and (1) catcher.
The “Sweet 16” Softball Program on the MSA Sports Network just completed it’s inaugural season. The program is made up of 17 WPIAL softball teams and includes teams from each of the four enrollment classifications. We are the home of ALL FOUR 2011 WPIAL SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS AND ONE 2011 PIAA CHAMPION. THE WPIAL CLASS A CHAMPION CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS CLASS AA CHAMPION BURRELL BUCCANEERS CLASS AAA CHAMPION YOUGH COUGARS AND CLASS AAAA CHAMPION GREATER LATROBE WILDCATS. THE VALLEY VIKINGS ARE THE 2011 PIAA CLASS AAA TITILISTS.
15 of our 17 “Sweet 16” Softball Program members qualified for the 2011 WPIAL playoffs. 11 of our teams advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals this season. 8 of our participating teams competed in the WPIAL semi-finals in 2011. 4 “Sweet 16” Softball Program teams (one in each class) played for the WPIAL Championship this season and won! 6 of the 11 WPIAL PIAA tournament qualifiers this season are members of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program. Not too shabby of a performance in the debut season of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program.
YOUGH’S NICOLE SLEITH SELECTED THE 2011 CLASS AAAA/AAA “SWEET 16” SOFTBALL PROGRAM’S PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR. THE ALL-STAR TEAM INCLUDES (3) PLAYERS EACH FROM THE VALLEY VIKINGS GREATER LATROBE WILDCATS YOUGH COUGARS AND MONTOUR SPARTANS.
Our “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Year is Yough senior left-handed pitcher Nicole Sleith. Nicole was one of two players in the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA classification to receive the program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week honors twice this season. Valley’s Caitlin Nealer was the other player. Ms. Sleith received that recognition for her performances during the weeks of April 4-9 2011 and April 18-23 2011. Nicole was chosen the Player-Of-The-Game for her performance against Greensburg-Salem on May 5 2011 (a 1-0 victory in which she fanned 13 did not allow a walk and yielded 3 hits). Sleith played a very significant role in raising the Yough Cougars softball program to the unprecedented heights it reached over the last four seasons culminating in Yough?Aos first ever WPIAL Title in 2011. Her head coach Lucas Cannizzaro said this about his outstanding senior – Nicole was our team’s leader and she carried our young team on her back when we needed her; she has every attribute necessary to be a champion and this year she proved it! This season Sleith pitched 21 games and had 12 shutouts. Her final record was 19-2 and Nicole totaled 298 strikeouts (including playoffs) with 12 walks in 137 innings and a remarkable 0.56 ERA. She averaged over 15 strikeouts per 7 inning game. The Robert Morris University recruit tossed three no-hitters struck out 21 batters in one game and gave up only 40 hits all season. She was also a dangerous hitter. From the lead-off spot in the Cougars order she hit .507 with 36 hits which both led the Cougars. Among her 36 hits were 7 doubles and she had 13 RBI. She was walked 9 times to help boost her on base percentage to .563. Nicole finished 21 strikeouts short of 1 000 for her career ending with 979. Sleith was named to the WPIAL Section 4 AAA All-Star team in 2008 2009 2010 and 2011. On Nicole being chosen the “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Year coach Cannizzaro said “Nicole is the most complete player I’ve seen at this level: she can pitch she can hit and she can lead a team; and it’s great to know that the other coaches agree by naming her player of the year out of such an accomplished group of players!” One can certainly say this about the imprint that Nicole Sleith has left on the Yough softball program. She leaves it in a much better position as she moves on than where the Cougars program was when she first entered it. In addition to Yough’s Nicole Sleith two of her teammates were voted to the 2011 ‘Sweet 16″ Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA All-Star Team and seven of our eight Class AAAA/AAA member schools are represented on the 2011 All-Star Team.
Alaynna Beers – Yough – Senior – Third Basemen
Cougars opponents did their best in trying to pitch around Yough’s talented clean up hitter this season. Still Alaynna came up with her share of clutch hits in helping Yough High School to their first ever WPIAL Championship in any sport. Alaynna batted .371 and led the Cougars by drawing 10 walks and hitting 3 home runs. Her biggest round-tripper was a 2-run shot in the seventh inning against then unbeaten (14-0) and top ranked AAAA Shaler in a 2-0 road win on May 9 2011. Beers scored 19 runs had 15 RBI and 5 doubles. For the third consecutive year she didn’t commit an error. She routinely made spectacular plays at third base. Alaynna essentially forced teams to bunt towards first base because she was so quick on the ball. Coach Cannizzaro said “Alaynna was an excellent clutch hitter who played outstanding defense and runs the bases aggressively and effectively. She hit so well as a freshmen (a.535 batting average) that she was regularly pitched around which is evident by her team leading 10 walks. She provided a wonderful example for our younger players and always worked as hard as anyone.” Alaynna was chosen to the WPIAL Section 4 AAA All-Star team in 2009 2010 and 2011. While Nicole Sleith typically receives the largest share of the credit for the Yough softball program’s rise to the top in Class AAA and is deserving of those accolades true high school softball followers realize that Alaynna Beers (co-captain) played a valuable and important role in the Cougars rise to prominence. Alaynna will be attending Slippery Rock University in the fall.
Karlie Tomich – Yough – Freshmen – First Basemen
There was some thought among Class AAA coaches prior to the start of the 2011 season that Yough did not have enough offense to win a WPIAL Title. That thought proved to be unfounded and one of the main reasons was the standout play of freshmen first basemen Karlie Tomich. Karlie acquitted herself very well as early in the season she settled comfortably into the number three spot in the Cougars lineup and delivered power and a clutch bat for head coach Lucas Cannizzaro. In her first ever high school varsity game on the road against the defending WPIAL Class AAAA Champion Mount Lebanon Blue Devils Karlie went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles 2 runs scored and 1 RBI! Karlie was second on the team in batting average with .472 and home runs with 2. She led the Cougars in four offensive categories runs scored 25 RBI 20 doubles 8 and triples with 3. As the season was winding down team’s were admittingly pitching around Karlie. She scored at least one run in each of Yough’s playoff games except one. Coach Lucas Cannizzaro knows he has a very special talented young player on his hands. Karlie burst onto the scene as a freshmen by hitting an extra base hit in each of our first 5 games this year. She was our offensive catalyst whether scoring runs herself or knocking in her teammates. She had huge hits in our first two playoff games with a homerun against New Castle after we fell behind and then by breaking open the game against Belle Vernon with a double. Karlie was one of four Cougars selected to the WPIAL Section 4 AAA All-Star team this season. Sleith Beers and sophomore center fielder Samantha Shoaf are the other three. Ms. Tomich is the only freshmen voted to the “Sweet 16” Softball Program 2011 Class AAAA/AAA All-Star team. While Karlie had an impressive debut season with the Cougars she has the potential to become one of the most productive and feared hitters in the WPIAL before her high school career is over.
Caitlin Nealer – Valley – Senior – Pitcher
Mention the word “Champion” when you talk about WPIAL softball and this poised and mentally tough (pitched every inning of every Valley game this season) senior right-handed pitcher Caitlin Nealer’s name is brought up early in the conversation. As a member of Class AA in 2010 Nealer led the Vikings to the WPIAL Title. This season due to realignment Valley was moved up to Class AAA and all the Vikings did was win their first ever PIAA softball championship in the softball program’s history. Valley became the first WPIAL softball team to win a PIAA title in it’s first season in a higher classification. Ms. Nealer stood front and center in this charge as Valley earned the WPIAL’S number three seed in the state tournament and went all the way to garner PIAA Class AAA gold. The Allegheny College (Meadville PA) recruit finished her high school career in a blaze of glory. Caitlin went 18-2 this season with a 0.65 ERA faced 498 batters struck out 214 allowed 13 earned runs and yielded 39 hits. She was an outstanding hitter whenever she had an aluminum twig in her hands. Caitlin hitting in the third spot batted .424 with 12 RBI 3 home runs and 5 doubles. Her head coach Carol Perroz had this to say about Nealer. “As a coach you know pitching is going to carry you in a lot of games Caitlin carried the Valley softball team to a state championship!?” As a footnote to Caitlin’s 2011 accomplishments coach Perroz added “The team only scored 19 runs in 8 playoff games but Caitlin was able to win 7 of them.” Caitlin was a two-time “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week for the weeks of April 11-16 2011 and April 25-30 2011. Nealer was also chosen the Player-Of-The-Game for her stellar effort on April 26 2011 against Mars. Caitlin pitched a complete game in the Vikings 5-0 win over the Planets. She struck out 15 did not walk a batter and allowed one hit. At the plate Nealer went 1 for 1 with a two-run home run. During Caitlin’s four years as Valley’s top pitcher she went 65-9 and totaled 782 K’s. Nealer was also named to the WPIAL Section 5 AAA All-Star team this season. Without question Caitlin Nealer is at the head of the class in terms of being the most talented softball player in Valley High School’s softball history.
Angelina Masters – Valley – Senior – Shortstop
Angelina Masters will go down in WPIAL softball playoff lore with perhaps the sport?Aos most dramatic and game-winning hit. Valley head coach Carol Perroz said it best. “Angelina had a knack for coming through in big games! The play of the year was when Angelina hit a three-run walk-off home-run against Yough in the bottom of the seventh inning to move us on to the state semi-final game. However the game before she had the only RBI in a 1-0 game. ” Ms. Masters was the epitome of the word “clutch” in 2011. Angelina hitting fifth in the Vikings lineup batted .419 with 11 RBI 12 runs scored 6 doubles and 3 home runs. Angelina was also named to the WPIAL Section 5 AAA All-Star team this season. She will be attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
Katrina George – Valley – Junior – Catcher
Championship teams usually have as one of their cornerstone team players. The 2011 PIAA Class AAA State Champion Valley Vikings definitely had one of those in junior catcher Katrina George. “Kat” as she is known by her teammates batted .452 with 20 RBI 17 runs scored 7 doubles and 3 home runs. George was also one of five Valley players named to the WPIAL Section 5 AAA All-Star team this season. Nealer Masters senior second basemen Allison Rayburn and junior center fielder Kelsy Bonk are the other 4 Vikings who received that honor. Her head coach Carol Perroz said “The best thing I can say about Katrina is that she is the ultimate team player. Katrina was the starting first basemen last year and was selected to the first team Valley News Dispatch team but when we graduated another all-star and needed a catcher Katrina moved behind the plate without question”. Katrina will continue to play a starring role for the Vikings in 2012 as Valley started five seniors in their state championship 3-1 victory over Manheim Central.
Jayne Oberdorf – Greensburg-Salem – Sophomore – Pitcher
In one of the strongest and deepest years ever for pitching excellence in WPIAL softball this tremendous sophomore right-handed pitcher managed to carve a niche for herself among that elite group. Jayne Oberdorf led the Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions to a share of the Section 4 AAA Title with the WPIAL Class AAA Champion Yough Cougars. Oberdrof led the entire WPIAL (based on regular season statistics) in strikeouts per game (11) in 2011. Ms. Oberdorf had an overall record of 10-4 and recorded 151 strikeouts in only 85 innings pitched and issued only 13 walks in 14 games and finished with an ERA of 1.07. Jayne batted third in the Lions lineup and was second on the team with a .469 average. Oberdorf was selected as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week along with her sophomore teammate catcher Taylor Mehan for the week of May 2-7 2011. Jayne was chosen as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game for her efforts in a 1-0 win over Yough on May 5 2011. She fanned 10 Cougars did not walk a batter and scattered 5 hits in a complete game performance. Jayne was one of three Greensburg-Salem players named to the WPIAL Section 4 AAA All-Star team this season. Joining sophomore catcher Taylor Mehan and senior third basemen Samantha Sistek in that group. Her head coach Jody Morgan was quite effusive in her praise of her sophomore star “One of the toughest pitchers and all-around great player for only a sophomore. She has a lot of similar qualities to Nicole Sleith.” Jayne Oberdorf should be on everyone’s WPIAL radar when the 2012 softball season gets underway.
Haley Bashada – Belle Vernon Area Leopards – Junior – Pitcher
One of the first things that comes to mind when you talk about this terrific junior pitcher for the Leopards is that she is quite an athlete. Haley was an All-Section pick by the WPIAL last season primarily as a shortstop/pitcher. This season due to an early injury to Belle Vernon’s number one pitcher Katie Gauden Bashada was pressed into service as the Leopards top pitcher and Haley did not disappoint. Belle Vernon head coach Tom Rodriguez said this about his multi-talented junior “She led her team to it’s first section championship since 2006. She is the hardest worker on the team. She could play any position on the field. Academically she is currently ranked number 1 in her class. I am looking for big things from her next year.” Ms. Bashada was selected the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week for the week of April 4-9 2011. Haley was chosen the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game for leading the Leopards to a big Section 3 AAA victory 7-0 against South Park on April 30 2011. In that contest Bashada went the distance and struck out 3 did not issue a walk and gave up 3 hits. Batting fourth in the Leopards lineup Haley went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. As a pitcher this season Haley went 14-4 with 102 K?Aos and a 1.5 ERA. As the Belle Vernon Leopards clean up hitter Bashada batted .441 with 6 doubles 2 triples and 1 home run. She had 17 RBI and scored 20 runs. About the comment mentioned earlier about Haley being quite an athlete. Haley was selected All-Section in basketball last season. Bashada is one of three Leopards named to the WPIAL Section 3 AAA All-Star softball team this season. Senior catcher Holly Scapes and sophomore right fielder Deanna Hileman were the other two Leopards to receive that distinction.
Marina Scarantino – Montour – Senior – Shortstop
If there was a smoother fielding shortstop in the WPIAL this season somebody please point that player out. Marina Scarantino was a key ingredient for coach Bill Wills 2010 WPIAL Class AAA Championship squad. She had another outstanding defensive year in 2011 as Montour finished fourth in WPIAL Class AAA. Ms. Scarantino committed only two errors in 62 total chances for a fielding percentage of .968. She recorded 45 assists 15 putouts and one double play. The Allegheny College (Meadville PA) recruit was also an effective hitter batting in the fifth spot for the Spartans. Scarantino hit .362 with 21 hits 5 doubles 2 triples 10 runs scored and 6 RBI. Marina stole 5 bases in 6 attempts. She anchored Montour’s up the middle defense which was one of the best in the WPIAL.
Kaitlyn Kutchman – Montour – Junior – Pitcher
What is up with these pitchers with the first name of Kaitlyn or Caitlin when it comes to dominating pitchers? Montour’s junior right-handed pitcher Kaitlyn Kutchman like Valley’s senior right-handed pitcher Caitlin Nealer both pitched every inning of every game for their respective teams in 2011. Kaitlyn went 13-5 with a 1.17 ERA and allowed 20 earned runs in 120 innings pitched. Ms. Kutchman gave up 95 hits yielded 48 walks struck out 124 and tossed 5 shutouts. Hitting in the third spot in the Spartans order she batted .350 with 21 hits 4 doubles 1 home run 10 runs scored and drove in 18. Kaitlyn was chosen as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game when she pitched the Spartans to a 3-0 win over then undefeated Ambridge on April 21 2011. She fanned 5 walked 1 and allowed 2 hits in this highly anticipated early season match up. Kutchman was one of three Montour players named to the WPIAL Section 2 AAA All-Star team this season. Kaitlyn will be one of 8 returning starters (including the flex player) next season looking to restore Montour to the top spot in WPIAL Class AAA in 2012.
Stacey Capp – Montour – Sophomore – Second Basemen
Stacey capped off an excellent sophomore season for the Montour Spartans in 2011. Capp was an incredible offensive machine for the Spartans this season. Stacey led Montour in 7 offensive categories. Those categories are batting .415 hits 27 doubles with 11 triples with 3 runs scored with 14 RBI with 19 and slugging% with .677. For good measure Stacey swiped 4 bases in 4 attempts this season. Ms. Capp is the ultimate “stat sheet stuffer”. Keep in mind that Stacey produced all of this offense from the lead-off spot making these numbers all the more impressive. The bad news for Montour opponents is that they have to find a way to get her out for two more seasons. Stacey was named the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game for her performance against McGuffey on April 28 2011. Like Kutchman Capp was named to the WPIAL Section 2 AAA All-Star team this season along with sophomore center fielder Alyssa McMurtrie.
Kate Natter – Baldwin – Senior – Shortstop
This California University of Pennsylvania recruit should provide a lot of smiles for Vulcans head coach Rick Bertagnolli when she arrives on campus this fall. The Highlanders senior shortstop blended power and defense better than any middle infielder in the WPIAL this season. Ms. Natter hit .439 with a 1.024 slugging percentage this season. In two games broadcast on the MSA Sports Network this season Natter blasted a home run. The first one came off of Peters Township’s right-handed pitcher Tara Kanopka on April 21 2011. The second monstrous “tater” came in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoff semi-finals against Seneca Valley’s junior right-handed pitcher Emily Watson on May 25 2011. Baldwin’s number three hitter Kate earned the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game honors twice this season. The first time for her performance against Peters Township on April 21 2011 and the second time for her efforts versus Upper St. Clair on April 26 2011. Kate is one of two Baldwin Highlanders that were named to the WPIAL Section 4 AAAA All-Star team this season (junior pitcher Anna Lauterbach was the other Highlander).
Alexa Larkin – Greater Latrobe – Senior – Pitcher/First Basemen
This University of Pittsburgh recruit?Aos performance in 2011 does not take a back seat to any pitcher in the WPIAL this season. Alexa turned into a “steely-eyed” left-handed dominator in the circle for the WPIAL Class AAAA Champion Greater Latrobe Wildcats. Once Wildcats head coach Bob Kovalcin determined that Larkin was his money pitcher. Greater Latrobe rode her talented left arm all the way to an appearance in the PIAA Class AAAA semi-finals. Ms. Larkin went 14-2 with a 0.93 ERA in 105 and a third innings pitched with 3 saves and 9 shutouts. Alexa faced 406 batters and allowed only 47 hits and 14 earned runs. Opposing hitters batted .127 against her this season. Larkin struck out 195 hitters and issued only 20 walks in her 15 starts in 2011. Alexa was also a very good hitter. She batted in the number two position and hit .292 with 21 hits 17 RBI and scored 12 runs. Alexa tied for the team lead in home runs with 3 and managed to go 3 for 3 in stolen bases. Larkin was chosen as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week for the week of April 18-23 2011. She garnered the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game for her outstanding performance at Firestone Stadium in Akron Ohio on May 9 2011 against nationally recognized junior pitcher and University of Tennessee recruit Erin Gabriel of the Ohio Division 2 State Champion Poland Seminary Bulldogs. Alexa pitched the first four innings and struck out 9 walked 3 allowed 2 hits and zero runs. Larkin was voted the team MVP this season and was one of the three captains for the Wildcats. Alexa was chosen as Latrobe High School’s Most Outstanding Female Athlete for 2011 and was selected Latrobe High School’s 2011 WPIAL Nominee for the Female Scholar Athlete Award. Additionally Alexa is one of four Greater Latrobe Wildcats named to the WPIAL Section 1 AAAA All-Star team this season. She also earned that distinction in 2010. She plans to major in business at the University of Pittsburgh with a goal of going to Dental School. When you watched the suffocating manner that Alexa shut down opposing teams offenses this season it certainly put a smile on your face. Unless your team was in the other dugout.
Carmelena Moffa – Greater Latrobe – Junior – Second Basemen
The name Carmelena just rolls so smoothly from a broadcaster’s tongue. And with the season that Wildcats junior second basemen Carmelena Moffa had in 2011 you got to say her name a whole lot during your broadcast. There cannot be another player in the WPIAL who plays the game with more intensity than Moffa who wears eye black as part of her standard softball attire. Greater Latrobe’s clean up batter she tied or led the team in 7 offensive categories in 2011. Carmelena led the squad in batting average at .449 hits with 31 doubles with 6 and slugging percentage at .696. She tied for the team lead in RBI (22) with third basemen Rachel Conrad tied with Alexa Larkin for the team high in triples with 1 and shared the Wildcats team lead in home runs with 3 along with Alexa Larkin and Rachel Conrad. Ms. Moffa was also 2 for 2 in stolen base attempts. Defensively Carmelena committed only 3 errors in 60 total chances for a .950 fielding percentage. Moffa was recognized as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week for the week of April 4-9 2011. Carmelena was one of four Wildcat players named to the WPIAL Section 1 AAAA All-Star team this season (Alexa Larkin junior third basemen Rachel Conrad and sophomore right fielder Kaity Finley are the other three). Greater Latrobe will return 8 of their 10 starters next season (counting the flex player). If the Wildcats can find a suitable replacement for their graduated superb pitcher Alexa Larkin and with the combination of talent and leadership provided by Carmelena Moffa it would not be surprising to find the Wildcats right back in the WPIAL Class AAAA title mix once again in 2012.
Rebecca Taylor – Greater Latrobe – Senior – First Basemen/Pitcher
The right-handed side of Greater Latrobe’s lefty-righty pitching combination is Rebecca Taylor. The Case Western University (Cleveland Ohio) recruit was slowed by an arm injury that hampered her effectiveness as a pitcher this season which created an opportunity for her fellow senior Alexa Larkin to take control of the pitching circle. Still a number of “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA coaches saw enough of Rebecca primarily as a first basemen for her to be named to the 2011 “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA All-Star team. Taylor’s pitching numbers in 2011 were a 3-2 record with 1 save 2 shutouts and 4 complete games. Ms. Taylor had a 1.25 ERA in 39 and a third innings pitched she allowed 38 hits 12 walks 7 earned runs and struck out 30. At the plate Rebecca batted .233 with 14 hits 7 RBI and 1 double. Defensively Taylor made 3 errors in 70 total chances and had a .957 fielding percentage. Rebecca was named the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Game for her performance against Hempfield Area on May 7 2011. Taylor was named to the WPIAL Section 1 AAAA All-Star team as a pitcher in 2010.
* SWEET 16 SOFTBALL PROGRAM 2011 CLASS AA/A PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR AND ALL-STAR TEAM
By: JONATHAN WHALEY
The “Sweet 16” Class AA/A Softball Program’s Player-Of-The-Year and the All-Star team were selected by the voting of member coaches and Jonathan Whaley of the MSA Sports Network. The 11 person team is composed of (6) seniors (3) juniors (1) sophomore and (1) freshmen. Positionally the team is comprised of (3) pitchers (3) catchers (2) shortstops (2) third basemen and (1) right fielder/pitcher.
The “Sweet 16” Softball Program on the MSA Sports Network just completed it’s inaugural season. The program is made up of 17 WPIAL softball teams and includes teams from each of the four enrollment classifications. We are the home of ALL FOUR 2011 WPIAL SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS AND ONE 2011 PIAA CHAMPION. THE WPIAL CLASS A CHAMPION CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS CLASS AA CHAMPION BURRELL BUCCANEERS CLASS AAA CHAMPION YOUGH COUGARS AND CLASS AAAA CHAMPION GREATER LATROBE WILDCATS. THE VALLEY VIKINGS ARE THE 2011 PIAA CLASS AAA TITILISTS.
15 of our 17 “Sweet 16” Softball Program members qualified for the 2011 WPIAL playoffs. 11 of our teams advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals this season. 8 of our participating teams competed in the WPIAL semi-finals in 2011. 4 “Sweet 16” Softball Program teams (one in each class) played for the WPIAL Championship this season and won! 6 of the 11 WPIAL PIAA tournament qualifiers this season are members of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program. Not too shabby of a performance in the debut season of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program.
CHARTIERS-HOUSTON’S KIERSTEN CONWELL SELECTED THE 2011 CLASS AA/A “SWEET 16” SOFTBALL PROGRAM’S PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR. THE ALL-STAR SQUAD IS LED BY (3) CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCS AND A PAIR OF BURRELL BUCCANEERS. EIGHT OF THE NINE CLASS AA/A MEMBERS IN OUR PROGRAM ARE REPRESENTED ON THIS YEAR’S INAUGURAL “SWEET 16” SOFTBALL PROGRAM CLASS AA/A ALL-STAR TEAM.
Our “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Year is Chartiers-Houston senior pitcher Kiersten Conwell. Kiersten along with her battery mate junior catcher Colby Miller were the only two Class AA/A players in the “Sweet 16” Softball Program to receive the Player-Of-The-Week designation twice this season. Ms. Conwell received that honor for the weeks of April 11-16 2011 and April 25-30 2011. Kiersten was chosen the “Sweet 16″ Softball Program’s Co-Player-Of-The-Game for her performance against Frazier on April 14 2011. In that game Conwell struck out 8 did not issue a walk scattered 5 hits and yielded 1 run. Kiersten has been an integral part of the highly successful Chartiers-Houston softball program the past two years. Leading the Bucs to a WPIAL Class A Championship in 2011 and their first ever PIAA State Title in 2010.
The Mount Aloysius College (Cresson PA) recruit and a four-year starter has been the model of pitching excellence. This season Conwell went 22-1 in 128 innings pitched with an earned run average of 0.16. Kiersten allowed only (3) earned runs all season while fanning 210 batters. Opponents hit a paltry .109 against her in 2011. She batted number 7 in the Buccaneers lineup and hit .435 with 4 doubles and 13 RBI. Her career pitching numbers attest to her remarkable consistency in the circle. A won-lost record of 72-15 with 845 K?Aos 156 walks and a 0.81 ERA. The hardware that she helped Chartiers-Houston accumulate over her stellar career includes (3) Section Titles (1) WPIAL Class A runner-up in 2010 to go along with that WPIAL Class A Championship in 2011 and PIAA Title in 2010. Kiersten was named to the WPIAL Section 1 A All-Star team this season as she was in 2010. Her head coach Tricia Alderson said of her star senior ?AuIt is hard to put into words how we feel about Kiersten. Kiersten had an amazing season once again and closed out her career with dominating statistics. We are very proud of everything she has done for our team and the program and wish her the best of luck in her college career.”
Colby Miller – Chartiers-Houston – Junior – Catcher
This supremely talented and athletic junior receiver is on a very short list of the best players in the entire WPIAL at her position. Colby a three-year starter plays tremendous defense drives in ?Auclutch?Au runs hits for both power and average and is the leader of one of the top Class A softball programs in the Commonwealth. She was selected twice this season as the ?AuSweet 16?Au Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week. For the consecutive weeks of April 11-16 2011 and April 18-23 2011. Ms. Miller was chosen as the Co-Player of the Game along with her teammate Kiersten Conwell for her performance against Frazier on April 14 2011. In that contest she broke up a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning with an RBI single in a 3-1 win. She drove home the ?AuBucs?Au first run of the game with an RBI double to center field in the top of the first.
Colby hit .500 this season and led her team in triples (8) home runs (6) RBI (38) and tied for the team lead with a 1.000 slugging percentage. She was second on her squad in doubles with six and third on the team in runs scored with (28). Miller hitting in the number three spot in the Buccaneers lineup had an on base percentage of .558 and struck out only twice all season. Defensively behind the dish Colby had a .996 fielding percentage and threw darts as she nailed (5) runners trying to swipe a base. Not many teams tried to steal on her as they knew it was unwise to challenge the accuracy of her powerful left arm. Colby was a repeat selection to the WPIAL Section 1 A All-Star team this season. Coach Alderson best described what Colby Miller means to her team. ?AuColby is a big presence on the field both catching and hitting. She has continued to improve each season and this year was by far her best yet. Colby is a leader on and off the field and is always working hard to improve her game. We are very glad we have Colby back for one more season. She is a Division 1 prospect.” Indeed it is a scary thought for Chartiers-Houston?Aos opponents next season to ponder the havoc the always improving Colby Miller will rain down on them.
Kayla Briggs – Chartiers-Houston – Sophomore – Right Fielder/Pitcher
A player must have a strong arm when their coach moves an All-State player as well as an All-Section pick in 2010 at first base to right field in 2011. That is what Buccaneers head coach Tricia Alderson did with Kayla Briggs this season and all Chartiers-Houston did was when 22 games in a row and a WPIAL Class A Championship before losing a tough 3-2 decision to Clarion in the PIAA Class A playoff semifinals. Kayla was chosen the ?AuSweet 16?Au Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week for the week of April 4-9 2011. Additionally Briggs was named the ?AuSweet 16?Au Softball Program?Aos Player-Of-The-Game for her efforts against Frazier on May 2 2011. The ?AuBucs?Au lead-off batter went 4 for 4 in that contest and scored 3 times and drove in a run in a 9-0 C-H win.
This season Kayla led the team in four offensive categories with a .646 batting average 10 doubles 44 runs scored and a .711 on base percentage. She was second on the team in triples with 5 home runs with 3 and RBI with 26. Ms. Briggs walked 8 times and struck out only (1) time. She tied with Colby Miller for the team lead in slugging percentage with 1.000. Defensively Kayla had a .920 fielding percentage. She is the heir apparent to Kiersten Conwell in the circle next season. In limited pitching duty Kayla pitched 11 innings fanned 27 posted 7 saves and a 0.00 ERA. Kayla was one of four Chartiers-Houston players named to the WPIAL Section 1 A All-Star team this season. Conwell Miller and senior second basemen Chalese Wilson are the other three Buccaneers. It is Briggs second straight season being selected for that honor. Coach Alderson said ?AuKayla had another monster offensive season for us. She was a huge threat at the plate because of her power speed and ability to hit all kinds of pitching that we faced. She was a real catalyst as our leadoff batter and other teams had a tough time getting her out. Next year she will be our main pitcher and we look for big things from her on the mound. She has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the WPIAL.?Au This is bad news for Chartiers-Houston opponents expecting to see a drop off in pitching mastery by the Buccaneers in 2012.
Nina Spagnolo – Burrell – Senior – Shortstop
After coming up just short of winning the 2010 WPIAL Class AA Championship with a heartbreaking 5-4 10 inning loss to Valley the Buccaneers entered the 2011 season focused and determined to achieve that goal in 2011. Mission accomplished! And one of the main contributors to Burrell?Aos success was the consistently fine play of their senior shortstop Nina Spagnolo. Nina is an example of a player that does a number of things well and brings to her team a diverse skill set that championship teams must have. Nina was selected the “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week for the week of May 2-7 2011. She along with her teammate and fellow “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A All-Star Casey Moses were Co-Players-of-the-Game for their performance against Apollo-Ridge on May 4 2011. Spagnolo went 3 for 3 in that contest with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. This season Nina hitting in the number 2 spot led the Bucs with a .382 batting average. She tallied 26 hits 13 RBI 6 doubles 1 triple and 18 runs scored. Defensively over her four year career Ms. Spagnolo had a .992 fielding percentage. She will be continuing her academic and softball career at Mount Union College (Alliance Ohio) in the fall where her brother Phil is a member of the Purple Raiders soccer team. Nina was named to this season’s WPIAL Section 3 AA All-Star team. Her father and Burrell head coach Mike Spagnolo had this to say about his talented senior. “Nina is the ultimate team player. It’s going to be hard to replace someone of her caliber. Not only was she a stellar defensive performer with a fielding percentage of .992 for four years but she also was a clutch performer on offense. The bigger the game the more she contributed. She led the team in almost every offensive category over the past three years. In 2010 she had the winning hit in all three playoff games. In 2011 her timely hitting excellent fielding and heads up base running was one of the keys to our success.?Au
Casey Moses – Burrell – Senior – Pitcher
Pitching is the spoke that spins the wheel in high school softball and the Buccaneers had a very dependable spoke in senior right-handed pitcher Casey Moses. The Seton Hall University recruit has been the top pitcher for the Columbia blue and white the last two years. This season Casey went 15-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 114 innings pitched and 6 shutouts. She struck out 156 batters and issued 42 walks in helping take Burrell to their first WPIAL softball title since 2000. Batting in the sixth position this season Moses hit .333 with 16 RBI 2 home runs 5 doubles and 13 runs scored. Casey was selected the ?AuSweet 16?Au Softball Program Co-Player-of-the-Game with her teammate Nina Spagnolo for her performance against Apollo-Ridge on May 4 2011. In a mercy-rule 5 inning win Casey struck out 8 walked 1 and did not allow a hit in a 10-0 Burrell verdict.
Casey was one of four Burrell players named to this season’s WPIAL Section 3 AA All-Star team. Spagnolo senior catcher Courtney Reed and senior center fielder Kaitlyn Sweeney were the other three Bucs to receive that recognition. Burrell head coach Mike Spagnolo commented on his senior pitcher. “For the past two years Casey has been a very reliable pitcher. Her record 33-6 was outstanding as a starter. In 2010 Casey guided us to the WPIAL finals with her solid pitching. Through the 2011 playoffs not only was her pitching outstanding her hitting was superb and was one of the key factors in winning the WPIAL title.” Moses was a four-year starter for the Bucs.
Kelsey Dillon – Frazier – Junior – Third Basemen
An early sign that this power hitting junior third sacker was going to have an outstanding season was when she was selected the “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week for the first week of the season March 28-April 2 2011. Frazier head coach Paul Harvey was not bashful about describing his star infielder, “Kelsey had a year some players dream about. She hit .604 with 8 doubles 2 triples and 4 home runs. She also had 22 RBI and a 1.057 slugging percentage. In the field she had a .976 fielding percentage with one error in 41 total chances. Kelsey is the type of player who comes to practice everyday with a good attitude always wanting the team to do better. Next year as a senior I look for Kelsey to be a team leader maybe making us a better team and improving on the last few years.”
Jamie Kertes – Bishop Canevin – Senior – Pitcher
This talented senior pitcher and Bowling Green State University (Ohio) recruit graduates from Bishop Canevin High School as perhaps the best pitcher in school history. There are two indisputable facts about Jamie?Aos career as a Crusader. One she is the softball program’s all-time wins leader with 54. Two Kertes is the school’s all-time strikeouts leader with 590. She closed out her career with 28 shutouts. Jamie led her team to a pair of section titles in 2009 and 2010. Jamie has put up numbers that would make just about any player proud of their athletic accomplishments. This season Jamie went 11-5 in 104 innings pitched and a 1.75 ERA. She fanned 151 batters and led the Crusaders into the WPIAL Class AA playoffs for a third straight season. At the plate Kertes hit .314 with 1 home run 1 triple 5 doubles 11 RBI and walked 20 times. Her on base percentage was .574. Jamie’s career hitting statistics include a .380 batting average 16 doubles a .550 on base percentage and an all-time school record 12 home runs. Bishop Canevin head coach Bob Jacoby said “Jamie has been a key both offensively and pitching for us for 4 years. The success we have had has been in a large part attributed to the leadership provided by Jamie. She has established several school records both hitting and pitching.” When asked why she chose to continue her academic and softball career at Bowling Green State University Jamie said, “I chose Bowling Green because it was the perfect match. The campus was the perfect size and it was in a safe area. After I met the team and the coaches I knew it was the place for me.” Jamie was selected to the WPIAL Section 1 AA All-Star team for the second consecutive year this season.
Sarah Androlia – South Side Beaver – Freshmen – Shortstop
Sarah is the only freshmen player to be voted to our inaugural season’s “Sweet 16′ Softball Program Class AA/A All-Star team. A sign of good things to come from this skilled freshmen happened in an early season section game when Sarah was chosen as the “Sweet 16” Softball Program Co-Player-of-the-Game. Ms. Androlia showed her offensive and defensive abilities in a 7-6 ten inning come from behind victory over Rochester in a game that took two and a half hours to finish on April 14 2011. Sarah went 4 for 5 with two singles a double and two runs scored plus made 4 strong throws from shortstop to get outs. This season in 20 games Androlia batted .429 with 27 hits 3 doubles 4 triples and 1 home run (grand slam). She totaled 25 RBI 17 runs scored 6 stolen bases and drew 5 walks. South Side Beaver head coach Theresa Waxler said “Sarah coming onto the team as a freshmen this season was a great benefit for us. She played by our ‘We are Family’ theme song.” If Sarah continues to raise her game from where it already is over the next three years don’t be surprised if coach Waxler writes Sarah her own song.
Marissa Milbert – Avonworth – Senior – Catcher
This power hitting senior catcher was named to her section’s All-Star team in both 2010 and again in 2011. She can now add the honor of being chosen to the first “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A All-Star team to her cache of awards. Marissa was selected the “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week for her performance for the week of April 11-16 2011. Highlighted by her efforts in a come from behind 4-0 deficit on the road in a section game against Brentwood on April 15 2011. Milbert went 2 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored including a ‘bomb’ of a home run over the left field fence in the top of the eighth inning that sealed an 8-4 win for Avonworth. This season Ms. Milbert led the Antelopes in four offensive categories. Home runs with 6 RBI with 23 hits with 27 and slugging percentage 1.836. Marissa?Aos batting average was .443 on base percentage of .493 and she struck out only 4 times all season while batting clean up for Avonworth. Milbert?Aos consistently excellent performance will not be easily replaced by Avonworth head coach Chris Knox in 2012.
Bridget Melvin – Vincentian Academy – Junior – Catcher
Entering the 2011 season Bridget expected it to be her time to shine as the number one pitcher for the defending WPIAL Class A Champion Vincentian Academy Royals. However due to a limited number of players on the Royals roster this season Melvin had to remain behind the plate and allow her younger sister Danielle to handle the pitching duties. Vincentian managed to qualify for the WPIAL Class A playoffs by finishing in third place in Section 3 A but were eliminated in the first round by Carmichaels 7-6. Still enough coaches in the AA and A group in the “Sweet 16” Softball Program thought enough of her performance as a catcher to land Bridget a spot on the first “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A All-Star team. Bridget was also selected to the WPIAL Section 3 A All-Star squad for the second consecutive season.
Vicky Vuljanic – Sto-Rox – Senior – Third Basemen/Pitcher
Due to realignment this season the Sto-Rox Vikings were moved down in classification from AA to A in 2011. They won the Section 3 A crown but as the WPIAL Class A playoff’s number two seed were upset in the first round of the tournament by Fort Cherry 9-8. One of the mainstays behind the success of the Vikings the past several years has been their outstanding senior third basemen/pitcher Vicky Vuljanic. Vicky was chosen to her section’s All-Star team for both her junior and senior year’s performance. Now Ms. Vuljanic ends her high school career by earning a spot on the first ever “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AA/A All-Star team. Vicky was chosen the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Player-of-the-Game for her play in Sto-Rox’s 5-2 eleven inning non-section loss to AAA Chartiers Valley on May 10 2011. Vuljanic went 2 for 2 in that contest with a home run to dead center field and reached base in all 5 of her at bats.
* 2011 MSA Sports Sweet Sixteen Softball ‘Player of the Week in AAAA/AAA’
* 2011 MSA Sports Sweet Sixteen Softball Player of the Game
May 10 2011
Chartiers Valley Colts 5 – STO-ROX VIKINGS 2 in 11 Innings
VICKY VULVANIC – STO-ROX – SENIOR
For ten innings the Sto-Rox Vikings held their own against Chartiers Valley. The Vikings one of the best teams in Class A took the Colts to the brink but were done in by fielding errors in the 11th inning and fell 5-2 in a playoff tuneup game. Action got started early as CV’s Morgan Figura hit a ball to deep centerfield off of Sto-Rox outfielder Danielle Priddy’s glove and over the wall for a home run. Sto-Rox would answer with a long ball of their own in the 3rd as Vicky Vulvanic would send one to dead center tying the game at 1-1. That’s where the score remained until the bottom of the 6th when Chelcie Washington came around after a throwing error when she slid into third on a Danielle Priddy hit making the score 2-1. The Colts would answer immediately though in the top of the 7th as the eighth hitter in their lineup Katy Gibson connected on the first pitch of the inning recording the games third home run this time over the right field wall tying the score at 2-2. The score remained tied through the end of regulation and into the 11th inning when a throwing error by Sto-Rox catcher Mary Cersosimo would over throw 1st base on a bunt attempt by Katelyn Smith scoring the tiebreaker runner Theresa Koknich from 2nd making it 3-2. The Colts would drive in two more runs facilitated by a bad error on Sto-Rox left fielder Haley Weisser who dropped a routine fly ball scoring two more runs and extending the Colts’ lead to 5-2 where it would stand through the end. Ultimately Sto-Rox was doomed by 5 fielding errors and a bottom four hitters of the lineup that failed to record a hit and struck out ten times. Vicky Vulvanic was selected the MSA Sports Player of the game going 2/2 including a solo home run and reached base in all five of her at-bats. Figura finished 3/5 with a home run for Chartiers Valley while Lindsay Reicoff pitched 11 innings striking out 11 and giving up two runs only one of which were earned. Chartiers Valley moves to 12-3 on the year while Sto-Rox drops to 13-2. The Vikings two losses though this season have been to AAA opponents.
May 10 2011
VINCENTIAN ACADEMY ROYALS 12 – Sewickley Academy Panthers 1 (6 innings)
RACHEL BALKOVEC – VINCENTIAN ACADEMY ROYALS – SECOND BASEMEN
It’s been a challenging 2011 season for the defending WPIAL Class A Champion Vincentian Academy Lady Royals. They lost several talented seniors off of last year’s squad and another expected key returnee from last season Ashley Darby decided not to play softball this season to focus on developing her basketball talents. Add injuries like broken fingers and concussions to a couple of her players and head coach Kara Stroup has had a rather depleted team this season. They entered today’s game against the Sewickley Academy Panthers trying to clinch the third and final playoff spot in Section 3 A. The Sewickley Academy Panthers came into the contest knowing that a win over the Lady Royals would clinch their first ever WPIAL playoff spot in the six year history of their softball program. Sewickley Academy will have to wait until next season to make their breakthrough into the WPIAL softball tournament. The playoff tested Lady Royals brought their hitting shoes with them on Senior Day on their home field in McCandless Township and eliminated the Panthers 12-1 in six innings. THE PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME FOR THE LADY ROYALS IS SECOND BASEMEN RACHEL BALKOVEC. Rachel went 3 for 4 with (5) RBI (2) runs scored including the final two RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning that invoked the mercy rule and clinched a playoff berth for Vincentian Academy. The lone senior member of the Lady Royals this season center fielder Kaela Huston went 2 for 3 and scored a pair of runs. Danielle Melvin earned the win for Vincentian Academy and went (6) innings struck out (8) walked (3) allowed (3) hits and (1) unearned run. Junior left-handed pitcher Maddi Greenhouse suffered the loss for Sewickley Academy. She was penalized by some shoddy infield defense as the Panthers committed (4) errors. Greenhouse pitched (5) innings fanned (4) issued (6) walks and yielded (11) hits. So the three-time defending WPIAL Class A Champs will have a chance to defend their title this season after all. While this iron women band of Lady Royals (there are only (9) players on the team) are not the juggernaut of recent Vincentian Academy teams with the tradition of success that this program has built it would not be smart for their upcoming playoff opponent to look past the Lady Royals.
MAY 9 2011
Poland Seminary (Ohio) Bulldogs 1 – LATROBE WILDCATS 0
ALEXA LARKIN – LATROBE WILDCATS – SENIOR – PITCHER/FIRST BASEMEN
For the second consecutive game the Greater Latrobe Wildcats lost a one-run decision on an unearned run to a very good softball team. This time it was on Monday night on the road at Firestone Stadium in Akron Ohio to the # 2 ranked Division 2 team in Ohio led by their outstanding junior right-handed pitcher Erin Gabriel. This was a special interstate match up between two of the top high school softball programs in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio and it did not disappoint. The two starting pitchers Greater Latrobe senior left-hander Alexa Larkin (University of Pittsburgh recruit) and Poland Seminary’s Erin Gabriel (University of Tennessee recruit) took turns putting zeroes up on the Firestone Stadium scoreboard through the first four frames. The PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME FOR THE WILDCATS WAS SENIOR PITCHER ALEXA LARKIN as she performed quite well in her individual confrontation against Gabriel who is one of the best high school softball pitchers in the nation as evidenced by her becoming the first girls softball player ever from the state of Ohio to earn a spot on the national 18 and under team. Alexa struck out (9) Bulldogs in her four inning stint picking up one more “K” than Erin did during that span. Larkin walked (3) and allowed (2) hits and stranded (5) Poland Seminary runners on base including pitching out of a bases loaded two-out jam in the bottom of the third inning to keep the score at 0-0. Greater Latrobe Wildcats head coach Bob Kovalcin elected to give his other senior pitcher Rebecca Taylor an opportunity in the circle in the fifth inning and “Becca” unfortunately ended up with the loss. The only run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Erin Gabriel led off the sixth by getting on base on an error by Wildcats junior shortstop Taylor Adams and advanced to second base on Adams overthrow to first base. Meredith Tesone was inserted as the courtesy runner for Gabriel. She stole third base and now Rebecca Taylor was really in the soup. Up next was the Bulldogs freshmen first basemen Taylor Miokovic who delivered a well stroked single down the right field line that drove in Tesone with the only tally that Gabriel and the Bulldogs (now 14-2) would need. Gabriel went the distance to increase her record to 10-1. The hard throwing Bulldog pitcher has authored (5) no-hitters and (2) perfect games this season. Ms. Gabriel fanned (15) walked (3) and allowed just (1) hit a one-out single through the middle to the Wildcats number 8 hitter junior center fielder Emily Banner. Firestone Stadium lived up to all of the hype about it being one of the “finest” softball facilities in America. The design and location makes it a wonderful place for the players coaches fans and broadcasters to enjoy the experience. The players on the Wildcats while disappointed with losing such a tight game seemed very pleased about having an opportunity to play against an excellent pitcher in Erin Gabriel and a talented team in Poland Seminary in such a first rate environment as Firestone Stadium. Greater Latrobe will return to Westmoreland county to complete their Section 1 AAAA schedule on Tuesday afternoon on the road at third place Penn-Trafford High School. The Wildcats (10-4 overall and 9-2 in section play) are in the 2011 WPIAL Class AAAA tournament as the second place team in Section 1 AAAA.
They enthusiastically await their seeding for the WPIAL tournament when it is released on Thursday.
May 9 2011
BISHOP CANEVIN CRUSADERS 3 – Seton-LaSalle Rebels 0
JAMIE KERTES – BISHOP CANEVIN – SENIOR – PITCHER
JONNIE OLKOSKY – BISHOP CANEVIN – FRESHMAN – THIRD BASE
It was senior day for the Bishop Canevin Crusaders Girls softball team and to top it off they faced their bitter rivals the Seton LaSalle Rebels in a section game for the second time in three days. The Crusaders avenged a 1-0 defeat Friday with a 3-0 win over the Rebels at Meyer Middleton Field in Crafton. Neither team could gather much offense as both starting pitchers were on their game. CO-PLAYER OF THE GAME Jamie Kertes of the Crusaders and Chelsea Zola from the Rebels only gave up 2 hits and 3 base runners thru four innings. The Crusaders threatened in the first inning with a lead off single by Nina Celmo. She was sacrificed to 2nd base by Carly Salimbine and moved to 3rd on Kertes’s ground out but was stranded there. The Rebels had a batter reach 1st base with two outs in the second on an error but she was stranded as well. In the 4th inning the Crusaders got a lead off single from Salimbene she moved to 2nd on Kertes ground out. On the play Seton Mercurio made a fabulous play ranging to her right in the hole grabbing the ball and gunning to first for the out. The runner again was stranded and the score remaining 0-0 thru four innings. The Rebels would lead off the 5th inning with a double but Kertes got tough on the mound as she then stuck out the side to keep the Rebels scoreless. In the bottom of the 5th Haley Klein led off with a double Becca Olkowsky knocked her in with an RBI single then Celina Dipietro reached on an error by the 2nd baseman. Co PLAYER OF THE GAME Jonnie Olkowsky then came up. “I was very nervous at the plate but I knew my teammates were counting on me.” She promptly ripped a double for two RBI to make the score 3-0 Crusaders. The Rebels would get a single in the 6th and 7th innings but would not threaten to score. Kertes had a fantastic game. She faced 25 batters just four over the limit for a 7 inning game. She would strike out seven. walk none give up only three hits and have one runner reach on an error. She received help from her defense as well as the Crusaders infield did the rest as they handled ten ground ball outs and 4 pop ups to the infield. Not one runner would reach third base and only two to second. Kertes reaction to being told that not one ball would leave the infield all day “I never even thought of that I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me before” The Rebels line would be 0 runs 3 hits and four left on base while making two errors. The Crusaders finished with three runs five hits leaving four on base and making one error. Seton falls to 10-1 in the section with three games to make up. They still hold the section lead and can finish no worse than a tie for 3rd so they have clinched a playoff berth. Bishop Canevin improves to 9-3 in the section and will play their final two games Tuesday May 10th. They must win at least one game tomorrow to clinch a playoff berth and can still miss the playoffs with two losses and three Keystone Oaks wins. Head coach Bob Jacoby was just glad to get a game in on their home field “This is only our second home game due to all the rain and bad weather” Well coach the forecast looks good for the rest of the week and the Crusaders playoff hopes as well.
May 7 2011
Hempfield Spartans 1 – LATROBE WILDCATS 0
REBECCA TAYLOR – LATROBE WILDCATS – SENIOR – PITCHER/FIRST BASEMEN
Saturday afternoon at Latrobe Rotary Community Park the Section 1 AAAA Championship would be decided when the undefeated Hempfield Area Spartans (10-0 13-0 overall) made the short drive down Route 30 to face their rivals the (9-1 10-2 overall) Greater Latrobe Wildcats. This highly anticipated match up featured this week’s # 2 ranked AAAA team in the MSA Sports Network’s Top Ten in the Spartans versus this week’s # 3 ranked AAAA team in those same rankings the Wildcats. A large crowd was on hand on this warm but breezy afternoon to see if Greater Latrobe would split the season series against Hempfield Area and earn a share of the section crown or watch the Spartans clinch an outright section title. This contest was a tight and taunt game all the way until the end. Hempfield Area scored an unearned run with two outs in the top of the first to take a lead that would stand up. Hempfield Area right-handed sophomore pitcher Hope Pehrson would author a one-hit shutout and strike out (6) and walk only (1) batter in getting the complete game win.. She did not allow a Wildcats base runner to reach second base until one-out in the bottom of the sixth inning. It was a very tough loss for the Wildcats PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME SENIOR PITCHER REBECCA TAYLOR to have to suffer. She could have been out of that first inning with no Spartans scoring if not for a wild pitch on a strikeout of Hempfield Area sophomore third basemen Callie Madden on a two-two pitch. Madden beat Wildcats junior catcher Kelsie Zoppetti’s throw down to first base to load the bases. Hempfield Area junior center fielder Caitlin Tobin delivered an RBI single down the left field line to score Alyssa Bates from third base (Bates started the rally with a two-out single inside the left field line to start the uprising). That would be the only run tallied in this game. The Wildcats Rebecca Taylor did a good job of pitching out of trouble in each of the first five frames as Hempfield Area left (10) runners on base during that period of the game. “Becca” retired the last (7) Spartan hitters in order. She kept her team in position to be able to win the game with only two runs. Taylor went all (7) innings fanned (6) and did not walk a batter but gave up (9) hits to the hard-hitting Spartans and just that single unearned run. Greater Latrobe had come into this game having outscored their first (12) opponents this season 77-26 with (5) shutout wins. . Conversely Hempfield Area had outscored their (13) foes by a whopping margin of 114-10! including (6) shutout victories. Both the Spartans and the Wildcats had already qualified for the WPIAL Class AAAA tournament. It would not come as a surprise to see these two teams meet for the third time this season in the semifinal round of those playoffs. Up next for Greater Latrobe is a trip to Firestone Stadium in Akron Ohio on Monday night. Their opponent will be the number 2 ranked Division Two team in Ohio the Poland Seminary Bulldogs 13-2 overall and unbeaten in the All-American Conference. They will get to face one of the best high school softball players in the nation in junior pitcher Erin Gabriel. Gabriel is 9-1 this season with a 0.73 ERA and has pitched (5) no-hitters and (2) perfect games. So a difficult challenge awaits the Wildcats on Monday night under the lights of what many softball aficionados have called the “finest softball facility in America” Firestone Stadium. It is hard to imagine any team in the WPIAL playing a more difficult opponent to help prepare them for the playoffs than who Greater Latrobe has chosen to go on the road and square-off against. You can hear the game live on Monday evening right here on the MSA Sports Network.
May 6 2011
Gateway Gators 10 – MCKEESPORT TIGERS 7
KAHEALANI GOODEN – MCKEESPORT TIGERS – FRESHMEN – LEFT FIELDER
KASEY DANSAK – MCKEESPORT TIGERS – SOPHOMORE – CATCHER
The McKeesport Tigers could have eliminated one of their competitors for the third and final playoff spot in Section 2 AAAA on Friday afternoon on their home field at McKeesport Area High School. The Tigers entered the game in third place with a 5-5 section record and 5-7 overall. Gateway came in sitting in fifth place with a 3-7 section mark and an overall log of 3-12. Sitting between the Tigers and Gators in fourth place is the Fox Chapel Foxes 4-6 and 5-7 overall. A Gateway loss and the Gators would be eliminated from playoff contention. McKeesport got off to an early 6-2 lead after two innings by taking advantage of (8) walks (3) hits (3) errors and (2) wild pitches with Gateway pitcher Laura Hudec in the circle. That advantage stood up until the top of the fifth inning when Gateway put up a (6) spot on the Tigers to go out in front 8-6. Gateway added another run in the top of the sixth to increase their margin to 9-6. McKeesport got one run back in the home half of the sixth to pull within 9-7. That would be as close as the Tigers would get as Gateway finished off the McKeesport 10-7. It had to be a tough defeat for McKeesport to absorb in such an important late season game. Tigers head coach Robin McCabe has to be wondering how her squad could strand (13) base runners receive (10) walks and watch Gateway commit (3) errors and come out on the short end on the scoreboard. THE PLAYERS-OF-THE -GAME FOR THE MCKEESPORT TIGERS IN HIS CONTEST WERE FRESHMEN LEFT FIELDER KAHEALANI GOODEN AND SOPHOMORE CATCHER KASEY DANSAK. The two Tigers underclassmen combined to make the defensive play of the game in the sixth inning. With two outs and the Gators speedy lead off hitter Kayla Henderson at third base Gateway third basemen Nikki Washington hit a sharp single to left field. Gooden charged the ball and came up throwing and delivered a strike to Dansak who did a nifty job of blocking the plate and forcing Henderson to take the long way around to try and reach home plate. She didn’t make it as Dansak caught the dart and applied the tag and home plate umpire Stan Vital made the out call to end the inning. The call was not received very warmly by Gateway manager Chuck Myers who complained loudly and noticeably to Vital that he thought his runner had been forced out of the base path. However his Gators staved off playoff elimination with the win and now must play at Fox Chapel on Saturday and a victory over the Foxes whom Gateway defeated earlier this season at home 8-3 will give Gateway the third and final playoff spot in Section 2 AAAA and into the 2011 WPIAL Class AAAA tournament. A Gateway win gives Gators the tiebreaker advantage over both the Tigers and Foxes. McKeesport will be rooting for Fox Chapel to win on Saturday and thus keep the Tigers playoff hopes alive. A Foxes win would force McKeesport to have to finish a suspended game from earlier this season at Fox Chapel. A position the Tigers would not be in had they taken care of business against Gateway. The odds would be against the Tigers. The suspended game will pick up in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and Fox Chapel having runners on second and third. Still it’s a chance to extend McKeesport’s streak of qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs to four.
MAY 5 2011
AVONWORTH ANTELOPES 9 – BRENTWOOD SPARTANS 8
JULIANNE HIRSCH – AVONWORTH ANTELOPES – JUNIOR, PITCHER
The MSA Sports 10th-ranked Avonworth Antelopes completed the season sweep over Brentwood (ranked 8th in the MSA Top 10) with a thrilling 9-8 victory at Mayernik Field under the lights Thursday night. Late inning heroics by both teams sparked one of the best softball games of the year as the lead changed hands twice in the last inning of play. Down 6-3 heading into the seventh inning the Spartans rallied to score five runs as seven straight hitters reached base after one out in the inning. Consecutive singles by Taylor Sherry Brianna Gibbons Meghan Gildea and Alexis Gaughan got Brentwood?Aos rally going in the final frame ?Ai they all came around to score as did Alexis Climes who reached on a fielder?Aos choice in the inning. However the Antelopes had a rally of their own in store in the bottom half of the inning. Now down 8-6 Avonworth?Aos Kelsey Knox got the rally going with a lead-off single and advanced to third on the stand-up double off of the bat of Tracey Catanzarite. One out later Laura Presutti walked. Erin Zakor then reached base on an infield error which scored Knox to cut the lead to 8-7. After that Allison Chambers singled home Catanzarite to tie the score. Then THE (TWO TIME) PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME JULIANNE HIRSCH singled home Laura Presutti with the game-winning run for the come-from-behind 9-8 Antelope victory. It was Hirsch?Aos fourth hit of the ball game. She was also the pitcher of record getting the win on the mound for Avonworth. With the loss Brentwood falls to 5-4 (8-4 overall) in Class AA Section 1. They have section games scheduled next week against Quaker Valley Seton-La Salle and a pair against Keystone Oaks. Avonworth runs their record to 8-2 (10-3 overall) and they will face conference foes Bishop Canevin Seton-La Salle and Our Lady of Sacred Heart next week to close out their season.
May 5 2011
SOUTH SIDE BEAVER RAMS 6 – Western Beaver Golden Beavers 2
CARLA RIGGS – SOUTH SIDE BEAVER – JUNIOR – OUTFIELDER
There was Finally a nice day in Hookstown PA and the South Side Beaver Rams and Western Beaver Golden Beavers could finally play in 2011 with South Side wining 6-2. The Rams playing their second game of the day moved into a tie with Shenango for first place in section 5A with a record of 8-1 each. Both teams have three games remaining in the race for the section title. South Side clinched a berth in the WPIAL playoffs with the win over the Golden Beavers. In the early game the Rams beat Union 10-0. In the nightcap South Side star pitcher Alexis Tripp set down Western in order in the first inning and in the bottom of the first PLAYER OF THE GAME Carla Riggs led off with a double to left field. Allison Frasior the only senior on the roster on senior day also doubled. after a line out then an RBI ground out by Trisha Lamont Sarah Androlia singled Charity Davis Busa walked then Michelle Klein doubled in a run to make it 3-0. Tripp allowed a single in the second and stranded the runner then in the bottom of the 2nd the Rams would score again. Riggs got on base with one out when the left fielder made an error and would score when a passed ball would go out of play thus advancing the runner to make it 4-0. Western would plate 2 runs in the top of the 3rd inning on an error a bunt single a fielders choice then 2 two out singles the second by Jamie Chaffee to score both runs to make it 4-2. South Side would add a run in the bottom of the third as Klein led off with a single and 2 wild pitches would move her to third base. After a strikeout and a walk Riggs would bounce out to get the easy RBI to make it 5-2. Both pitchers would pitch well in the 5th inning each getting out of jams but in the bottom of the sixth the Rams would add to their lead with a lead off single by Androlia and an error by the second baseman would make the final score 6-2. The Rams scored 6 runs on 9 hits making 1 error and stranding 12 batters. Western had 2 runs 9 hits 4 costly errors and left 6 on base. PLAYER OF THE GAME Carla Riggs was 2-4 with a double single one RBI and scored two runs plus she made 2 nice catches in center field. The Rams Alexis Tripp gave up 2 runs both unearned 9 hits struck out 2 and walked 1. The Rams finish the season with three contests on the road as they play Aliquippa Rochester and a rematch with Western Beaver and the worst they could finish would be in a tie for third place so their playoff berth is secure. Western Beaver has some work to do as they are 5-4 2 games up on Union for the third playoff spot but Union has six make up games to Westerns three to finish the season.
May 5 2011
GREENSBURG-SALEM GOLDEN LIONS 1 – YOUGH COUGARS 0
JAYNE OBERDORF – GREENSBURG-SALEM GOLDEN LIONS – SOPHOMORE – PITCHER
TAYLOR MEHAN – GREENSBURG-SALEM GOLDEN LIONS – SOPHOMORE – CATCHER
Youth is serving quite well for head coach Jody Morgan’s Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions in 2011. Thursday afternoon at Greensburg-Salem’s High School’s Softball Field the (7-0 in Section 4 AAA and 7-2 overall) Golden Lions squared off with fellow Section 4 AAA unbeaten Yough (5-0 and 8-0 overall) in the first of a twinbill that would help decide the section champion. When you face Yough’s sensational senior pitcher Nicole Sleith opponents know that runs will be at a premium. The Cougars had outscored their first (8) opponents this season by a combined score of 48-1 and entered this game with (7) consecutive shutouts. Greensburg-Salem was performing at a high level themselves after dropping their first two non-section games at the start of the season. Since that time the Golden Lions had won (7) straight games and in their last four victories had outscored their (4) opponents 33-4. In this contest the Golden Lions gave the Cougars a dose of their own medicine. It was served by the two main cogs in Greensburg-Salem’s youthful lineup. Those two players are the CO-PLAYERS-OF-THE-GAME IN SOPHOMORE PITCHER JAYNE OBERDORF AND SOPHOMORE CATCHER TAYLOR MEHAN. This first year battery is rapidly developing into one of the most dangerous combinations in the WPIAL and they will only get better during the next three seasons. Jayne and Taylor produced the winning and only run in this game in the bottom of the first inning. After two were out Oberdorf doubled to left centerfield. Mehan followed suit with another clutch two-out safety when she delivered a hard single to centerfield to bring Oberdorf home for a 1-0 lead after the first frame. Jayne Oberdorf and the Golden Lions defense made the single tally hold up and Greensburg-Salem (8-0 8-2 overall) handed the Yough Cougars (5-1 8-1 overall) and Nicole Sleith their first loss of the season 1-0. Ms. Oberdorf went the distance and scattered (5) hits (0) walks fanned (10) and did not allow a Cougars runner to reach third base. Ms. Mehan recorded (2) of Greensburg-Salem’s (4) hits drove in the winning run and demonstrated her throwing arm by picking off Yough center fielder Sam Shoaf off of second base to end the second inning. Yough’s Nicole Sleith went (6) innings walked (1) struck out (11) gave up (4) hits and (1) earned run. The win lifted the Golden Lions into sole possession of first place in Section 4 AAA with the resumption of the suspended game from April 27th set to follow shortly after this one. Yough led 3-0 with two-outs in the top of the third inning in that match up. One gets the feeling that this afternoon’s win has done wonders for the confidence of this young Golden Lions squad that has only two seniors in their starting lineup. The nucleus for Greensburg-Salem is led by their underclassmen (2) juniors (4) sophomores and (1) freshmen. The best is yet to come for the Golden Lions. That will prove to be unfortunate news for their opponents until say 2014.
MAY 5 2011
YOUGH COUGARS 3 – GREENSBURG-SALEM GOLDEN LIONS 2
NICOLE SLEITH – YOUGH COUGARS – SENIOR – PITCHER
After seeing their unbeaten season come to an end in this afternoon’s first game against the Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions at Greensburg-Salem’s High School Softball Field the Yough Cougars made their early 3-0 lead stand up as they won the suspended game 3-2. The Cougars tallied three first inning runs on April 27th on their home field up on Cougar Mountain before the pounding rain and lightening led to it being suspended with two-outs in the visitors half of the third inning and Yough leading 3-0. In this fray the PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME WAS YOUGH SENIOR PITCHER NICOLE SLEITH. Nicole is considered the top pitcher in the WPIAL this season and her performance and statistics strongly back up that assertion. However she is also a threat when she stands in the left side of the batters box as the Cougars lead-off hitter. In this game she went 1 for 2 with (1) run scored. Ms. Sleith pitched a complete game in permitting only (3) hits (0) walks (13) strikeouts and (2) earned runs. Her outing raised the Cougars record to (6-1 in Section 4 AAA and 9-1 overall) and back into a tie for the top spot in Section 4 AAA with the Golden Lions with Yough still having to play three section games. Greensburg-Salem dropped to (8-1 in Section 4 AAA and 8-3 overall) and the Golden Lions have only (1) section contest left to play. Golden Lions sophomore pitcher Jayne Oberdorf took the loss. She pitched (6) innings fanned (10) walked (0) allowed (5) hits and yielded (3) earned runs. Greensburg-Salem brought some late inning drama to the proceedings and showed their fight when their other terrific sophomore catcher Taylor Mehan took a 1-1 pitch from Sleith and drove it over the left field fence with two outs in the top of the seventh to pull the Golden Lions to within 3-2. That was as close as Greensburg-Salem would come in this game. So Yough head coach Lucas Cannizzarro’s Cougars do not allow their first defeat of the season in game one this afternoon to turn into two. It would not come as a surprise if these two teams were to meet in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs for round three this season. If it plays out like Thursdays two games did it would be some very good softball to watch.
May 4 2011
BURRELL BUCCANEERS 10 – Apollo-Ridge Vikings 0 (5 innings)
CASEY MOSES – BURRELL BUCCANEERS – SENIOR – PITCHER
NINA SPAGNOLO – BURRELL BUCCANEERS – SENIOR – SHORTSTOP
JUSTINE DAMICO – BURRELL BUCCANEERS – SENIOR – THIRD BASEMEN
The Burrell Buccaneers (8-1 10-1 overall) moved a game closer to winning the 2011 Section 3 AA title with a dominating and efficient victory over the Apollo-Ridge Vikings (1-8 1-9 overall) at Bon Air Elementary School in Lower Burrell PA on Wednesday afternoon. On a cold and chilly afternoon the “Bucs” came out with their hitting shoes on and made short work of the Vikings winning in five innings 10-0. Every player in the Burrell batting order had at least one hit and there were several key contributors in the win. Three Buccaneers were chosen as PLAYERS-OF-THE-GAME. SENIOR PITCHER CASEY MOSES SENIOR SHORTSTOP NINA SPAGNOLO AND SENIOR THIRD BASEMEN JUSTINE DAMICO. Casey Moses was extremely sharp in the circle in this contest. She pitched a no-hitter and had a perfect game going retiring the first (14) Vikings hitters in order until Apollo-Ridge designated player Sara Stiffey milked a 3-2 walk with two-outs in the top of the fifth frame. Moses struck out (8) Vikings issued only (1) walk and no runs in earning the mercy rule no-hitter. Offensively for the “Bucs” the first two batters in their lineup Justine Damico and Nina Spagnolo were excellent table setters and finishers in this game. Nina went 3 for 3 with a pair of singles and (1) double to go with (2) runs scored and (2) RBI. The returning All-Section shortstop has narrowed her choice of colleges next year to either Division 2 Clarion University of Pennsylvania or Division 3 Mount Union College in Alliance Ohio. Lead-off batter Justine Damico had a 2 for 4 afternoon with (2) runs scored and drove in a pair of RBI those being the last two runs of the game that invoked the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth with two-outs. Burrell was playing a twin bill with Apollo-Ridge on Tuesday and a sweep of the Vikings puts the “Bucs” in position to win the Section 3 AA Championship if they can go on the road and defeat their chief competition the Deer Lakes Lancers. The Lancers gave Burrell their only blemish this season a 3-0 defeat back on April 15th. The 2011 edition of the “Bucs” features (6) seniors including the three outstanding players chosen as P-O-T-G in this contest. Burrell is ranked # 3 in this week’s MSA Sports Network’s top ten rankings of Class AA teams. Their nemesis last season the Valley Vikings (who gave Burrell three of their four losses last season) have been moved up to the Class AAA ranks this year. After experiencing the heartbreak of losing to Valley in ten innings in last year’s WPIAL Class AA Championship game 5-4 Burrell entered this season determined not to come up short of the gold in 2011. The “Bucs” certainly have the talent and playoff experience to achieve that objective. By the way high school softball fans Burrell is scheduled to host the Valley Vikings in a non-section game next Thursday May 12 2011 at 6:00 pm. at Bon Air Elementary School. I have not seen a more exciting environment for high school softball in the entire WPIAL than the atmosphere that is found when these two neighboring rivals and communities compete against each other on the softball field. Only this season both teams could wind up wearing gold medals around their necks when the 2011 WPIAL playoffs have been concluded. This intense match up between the “Bucs” and Vikings will be broadcast live on the MSA Sports Network.
May 2 2011
CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS 9 – FRAZIER COMMODORES 0
COLBY MILLER – CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS – JUNIOR – CATCHER
KIERSTEN CONWELL – CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS – SENIOR – PITCHER
The unbeaten Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers increased their record to 14-0 overall and 8-0 in Section 1 A with a 9-0 shutout of second place Frazier at Allison Elementary Field in Houston PA on Monday afternoon. The victory secured the 2011 Section 1 A Championship for the “Lady Bucs” who now have won (19) section titles in the softball program’s history. The story line was the same as it has been all season for the MSA Sports Network’s top ranked Class A team and it begins with the battery. The CO-PLAYERS-OF-THE-GAME ARE JUNIOR CATCHER COLBY MILLER AND SENIOR PITCHER KIERSTEN CONWELL of the Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers. This “dynamic duo” has been double trouble for Buccaneer opponents all season and they were once again the major thorns in the Commodores side. As she did in Chartiers-Houston’s 3-1 eight inning win at Frazier on April 14th Colby Miller delivered the first run (and eventual game-winning run) in the bottom of the first inning. For the game Ms. Miller went 3 for 3 and delivered (5) RBI with (1) single (1) double and (1) triple. She also nailed Frazier center fielder McKenzie Barch in the second inning when she attempted to swipe second base and the ball arrived about (1) minute before Barch got to second base! Our other Co-P-O-T-G Kiersten Conwell authored another gem in the circle. She pitched (6) innings struck out (9) walked (1) permitted (2) hits and did not give up a run. This performance by Conwell follows last week when she pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game in back-to-back starts. The chemistry between Miller and Conwell is clearly evident when you watch the two players working during the game. Colby likes to say how much Kiersten trusts her while she is calling a game. One look at the team’s results this season is evidence of just how much in sync these two outstanding players are. If there is a more efficient and productive battery in the WPIAL in 2011 I can’t wait to see it. Chartiers-Houston also received a big contribution from their versatile right fielder sophomore Kayla Briggs in this game. Kayla went 4 for 4 with (4) singles (4) stolen bases and (3) runs scored from the lead-off position in the “Lady Bucs” batting order. Additionally Briggs came on to relieve Conwell in the seventh inning and after giving up a pair of singles Struck out the side to end the game. Chartiers-Houston has won more games this year than any team in the entire WPIAL (14 and counting). However after clinching the Section 1 A Title today according to Miller and Conwell that is just step one on Chartiers-Houston’s list of goals this season. The defending PIAA Class A Champions have much loftier expectations on their minds. The “Lady Bucs” seemed to have really benefited from their winning (7) out of a possible (8) post-season games last season. They play with the demeanor of a team that expects to win each time they set foot on the field. Colby Miller and Kiersten Conwell set the tone for that outlook. As a team Chartiers-Houston certainly has the talent poise experience and confidence to support that approach. Frazier’s record drops to 4-3 in Section 1 A and 8-4 overall. The Commodores are now in a three-way logjam with Fort Cherry and Serra Catholic for the final two playoff spots in the section. They host Fort Cherry on Tuesday in a must win game if the Commodores want to finish in second place this season. Fort Cherry won the two teams first meeting 8-3 back on April 27th. Chartiers-Houston looks to continue their unblemished season when they travel to Avella on Tuesday.
APRIL 30 2011
BELLE VERNON LEOPARDS 7 – South Park Eagles 0
HALEY BASHADA – BELLE VERNON LEOPARDS – JUNIOR – PITCHER
MOLLY GAUDEN – BELLE VERNON LEOPARDS – SOPHOMORE – SHORTSTOP
It was “High Noon” on Saturday at Washington Township Youth Park in Belle Vernon PA and I am not referring to the classic western film starring Gary Cooper. No this showdown was between the first place South Park Eagles (6-1 7-1 overall) and the second place “Sweet 16” Softball Program member Belle Vernon Area Leopards (5-2 9-4 overall) on a very pleasant afternoon. An Eagles win would most likely assure them of the Section 3 AAA Title this season. For the Lady Leopards to have a shot at the section championship they needed to defeat the Eagles and split their two game series. South Park having won the first of the two games 3-1 on their home field back on April 14th. This game would turnout to be all Belle Vernon. The Lady Leopards played some very solid defense and got some timely hits and went on to blank South Park 7-0. Belle Vernon was led by our CO-PLAYERS OF THE GAME JUNIOR PITCHER HALEY BASHADA AND SOPHOMORE SHORTSTOP MOLLY GAUDEN. Bashada who has been a recipient of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Class AAAA/AAA Player-Of-The-Week honor once this season (for the week of April 4-9 2011) was on point in this “big tilt” both in the circle and at the plate. Haley pitched a complete game shutout scattered (3) hits fanned (3) and did not issue a walk. She consistently did a good job getting ahead of the hitters and the Belle Vernon defense played flawlessly in supporting her. At the plate Ms. Bashada went 2 for 4 with (1) single and (1) double drove in a pair and scored (2) runs. However the Lady Leopards hits leader in this victory was sensational shortstop Molly Gauden. Molly made a pair of stellar defensive plays at short in the fourth and sixth innings and offensively went 3 for 3 and scored (2) runs including the game winning run in bottom of the second frame. Ms. Gauden is third on the team with (11) RBI and tied with Haley Bashada for the team lead in home runs with (1). The Lady Leopards have a young squad in 2011. There were (3) sophomores (3) juniors (1) freshmen and only (2) seniors in the starting lineup for head coach Tom Rodriguez on Saturday. So the future looks as bright as the present for the green and gold clad Lady Leopards softball team. If they can get performances like they received against South Park from their number four and five hitters Haley Bashada and Molly Gauden the rest of this season it would be wise for folks to think that Belle Vernon could end up winning or at least sharing the Section 3 AAA Championship in their first season as a member of this section. South Park head coach Scott Shipley also trotted out a youthful laden team in this matchup as well. The Eagles had only (1) senior in their starting lineup to go along with (2) freshmen (5) sophomores and (2) juniors. Sophomore pitcher Dana Achille now 7-2 suffered the loss for the Eagles in pitching (6) innings allowing (9) hits (3) walks and striking out (7). Two costly errors by the Eagles third basemen and left fielder contributed significantly to Belle Vernon winning this important game. The Lady Leopards (6-2 10-4) have two section games remaining (home against Ringgold on Tuesday and at third place Elizabeth Forward on Thursday). Stay tuned as it should be an exciting week.
April 28 2011
MONTOUR SPARTANS 7 – McGuffey Highlanders 1
STACEY CAPP – MONTOUR SPARTANS – SOPHOMORE, SECOND BASEMAN
The MSA Sports Network’s “Sweet 16” Softball Program member Montour continued it’s sweet season by knocking off McGuffey for the second time this year and remaining perfect in Class AAA Section 2. The Spartans (7-2) overall are now (5-0) in the section heading into a stretch where Montour will play a lot of softball over the next week or so. The defending Class AAA champions ranked #4 in this week’s MSA Sports AAA Top Ten plated 2 in the first and scored a run in the fourth which is usually more than enough support for outstanding junior pitcher Kaitlyn Kutchman. But the Spartans spelled insurance with a capital I scoring 4 times in the bottom of the sixth inning to break this contest open. Kutchman improved to (7-2) with the victory be she is not the choice for the Player of the Game. That honor goes to Montour second sacker Stacey Capp. Capp went (2-for-4) at the plate and had a huge bases clearing double in the sixth inning that drove home three Montour runs. The performance at the plate raised Capp’s team leading batting average to (.469) and her three RBI’s improved that total to 12 which also leads Montour. The Spartans defense was solid behind Kutchman and Capp had a hand in that. Montour turned three double plays in the game and Capp was in the middle of a conventional 6-4-3 twin killing as well as starting a 4-6 double play by snagging a line drive and nailing a McGuffey base runner who had strayed too far off of second base. The Montour coaching staff named Capp its Player of the Week for 04/3/2011 and for her performance in helping the Spartans to their fifth straight win sophomore Stacey Capp is MSA Sports choice for the “Sweet 16” Player of the Game.
April 26 2011
VALLEY VIKINGS 5 – Mars Planets 0
CAITLIN NEALER – VALLEY VIKINGS – SENIOR – PITCHER
The Valley Vikings were moved up in classification this season from Class AA where they won the WPIAL Title to AAA this season. So far so good for head coach Carol Perroz’s team. The newly top ranked Class AAA team in this week’s MSA Sports Network Top Ten Class AAA rankings did not let their lofty new status prevent them from staying unbeaten this season at 7-0 and 6-0 in Section 5 AAA with a 5-0 shut out victory on their home field at Valley High School on Tuesday. Hits were at a premium in this contest against the Mars “Fighting Planets” who entered the game 2-3 in Section 5 AAA and 2-8 overall but were only one game out of a playoff spot. Valley manufactured the first run of the game in the bottom of the first on a first pitch hit by pitch to senior second basemen Allison Rayburn. A sacrifice bunt by center fielder Kelsey Bonk advanced her to second base and a passed ball and wild pitch brought Rayburn home for a 1-0 Vikings lead. That lead stood up for two thunder delays and 3 and a half innings before Valley broke this close game open in the home half of the fifth. Rayburn doubled to left center field for Valley’s first hit of the game. Kelsey Bonk popped out to third base for the second out and that brought up Valley’s superb pitcher and strong hitter senior Caitlin Nealer. Caitlin is a dangerous and productive hitter with an aluminum twig in her hands. She did not disappoint as she powered a very well hit two-run home run over the left center field fence to increase the Vikings advantage to 3-0. Junior catcher Katrina George followed with a single to short center field and senior shortstop Angelina Masters walked. A passed ball moved both runners up a base and an error by Mars first basemen Clare Galibinski led to both George and Masters coming into score and a 5-0 Valley margin after five innings were complete. That would prove to be more than enough run support for the PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME VIKINGS PITCHER CAITLIN NEALER to close the door on any late inning comeback by the Fighting Planets. Nealer was sensational in improving her record this season to 7-0. She struck out (15) did not walk a batter allowed 0 runs and allowed just one hit (a one-out single to left field by Jani Mickus in the fifth) on her way to delivering another complete game masterpiece. As a hitter Caitlin was 1 for 1 with the home run (2) RBI (1) run scored (1) walk and a sacrifice bunt. At one point in the game she fanned (6) straight Fighting Planets in the second and third inning. With the exception of Caitlin Nealer’s long bomb Mars starting and losing pitcher Rachel Pastorek pitched very good in her own right. Pastorek in six innings struck out (10) walked (5) yielded (3) hits and (5) runs of which only (2) were earned. The Vikings take their unbeaten record (7-0) and travel to face Section 5 AAA foe Highlands on Thursday afternoon. Mars (2-9) returns home on Thursday afternoon to host Hampton in a big Section 5 AAA game that will seriously impact their playoff hopes.
April 26 2011
BALDWIN HIGHLANDERS 4 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 3
KATIE NATTER – BALDWIN HIGHLANDERS – SENIOR – SHORTSTOP
Baldwin avoided the upset on Tuesday afternoon scoring 2 unanswered runs in the 5th and 6th inning to escape with a 4-3 victory over Upper St.Clair. The Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead scoring in the 2nd inning when shortstop Katie Natter’s throw sailed wide of first and that allowed Becca Stage to score from second. Upper St Clair would score 2 more in the 5th one on Karis Rooney’s RBI double and an error by second baseman Amber Weimer. Baldwin would answer in the bottom of the inning. Anna Lauterbach led off the inning with a homerun and Maria Bandi had an RBI single. Baldwin would score the winning runs in the 6th. Laura Hall led off the inning with a single and then Katie Natter would follow with a 2 run homerun. With that hit Katie Natter was named the player of the game. Baldwin now goes to 4-2 in section play and Upper St.Clair falls to 0-5 in the section.
April 21 2011
Peters Township Indians 8 – BALDWIN HIGHLANDERS 3
KATY NATTER – BALDWIN HIGHLANDERS – SENIOR – SHORTSTOP
The once beaten (5-1) “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Baldwin Highlanders hosted the once defeated (4-1) Peters Township Indians under the lights at Baldwin High School’s Softball Field on Thursday evening in a big Section 4 AAAA contest. After starting out the season 5-0 under their first year head coach Samantha Hovanec the Highlanders dropped their first game of the season on Wednesday night at home to the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 2-1. This game against Peters Township was a rematch of a Baldwin road victory over the Indians a week ago 12-0. On this cool evening the Highlanders would find themselves in comeback mode all game long. Peters Township took the lead in the top of the first inning with two outs on a single a throwing error by Highlanders third basemen Mara Bandi and an RBI triple to go ahead 2-0. The biggest highlight of the game for the Highlanders came in the bottom of the third frame when the PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME SENIOR SHORTSTOP KATY NATTER drove the first pitch that she received from Indians pitcher Tara Kanopka over the right center field fence for a two-run home run to tie the game at 2-2. Katy has already accepted a scholarship to continue her education and softball career at California University of Pennsylvania next year. Peters Township would then score a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning to go out in front 4-2. Baldwin moved back to within one run when their junior pitcher Anna Lauterbach powered a 1-1 pitch from Kanopka over the left center field fence leading off the bottom of the sixth inning to move the Highlanders within one run at 4-3. Unfortunately that would be as close as Baldwin would get in the late innings of this one. Peters Township put the game away by plating (4) runs in the top of the seventh on (3) hits (1) walk and (1) hit batsman to grab an 8-3 lead after six and a half innings were complete. Baldwin went down in order in their half of the seventh and watched Peters Township take the early Section 4 AAAA lead with a 3-1 mark. The Highlanders are tied for second place with Mount Lebanon at 3-2. Baldwin’s starting pitcher Anna Lauterbach went the distance and her record is now 5-2. The Saint Joseph’s University recruit struck out (6) walked (4) permitted (11) hits and yielded all (8) runs. Peters Township starting pitcher right hander Tara Kanopka pitched a strong game in authoring a complete game victory as she mixed her pitches well and was quite effective throwing both inside and outside in throttling the Highlanders offense. She fanned (7) walked (3) scattered (7) hits and allowed (3) runs on a pair of Highlanders bombs in improving her record to 5-1. Kanopka also played an influential role in her team’s win as a hitter. From the cleanup spot Tara went 2 for 3 with (2) RBI and (2) runs scored including driving in the Indians game-winning run. Next up for the Baldwin Highlanders is a section home game on Monday against Bethel Park at 6:30 pm. They will try to put an end to their two game losing streak. Peters Township returns to action on Monday with a home section match up versus Canon-McMillan.
April 21 2011
MONTOUR SPARTANS 3 – Ambridge Bridgers 0
KAITLYN KUTCHMAN – MONTOUR SPARTANS – JUNIOR – PITCHER
Thursday afternoon featured an intersection Class AAA match up between the top-ranked Class AAA team in this week’s MSA Sports Network’s Top Ten the undefeated Ambridge Lady Bridgers (6-0 and 4-0 in Section 1 AAA) against “Sweet 16” Softball Program member Montour. The Spartans (5-2 and 4-0 in Section 2 AAA) are the defending WPIAL Class AAA Champions and are ranked number five in this week’s MSA Sports Network’s Class AAA Top Ten. The 12:30 pm. affair served as an early season indicator of what we might expect when the 2011 season advances to the playoffs. Ambridge entered this game having been nearly unstoppable on offense this season outscoring their first (6) opponents by a whopping margin of 80-8! Montour came into this contest not nearly as prodigious on offense against their first (7) foes as they had a scoring differential of 43-22. However the Spartans had an ace or two up their sleeve. They defeated their former section rival three times last season. Twice in section play 5-4 at Ambridge on April 10 2010 and 5-1 at their home field at Fairhaven Park in Kennedy Township on April 27 2010. Plus the “gold and black” won the most important game played between these two squads in 2010. That being a Spartans 1-0 win for the WPIAL Class AAA Championship on June 3 2010 at California University of Pennsylvania’s Lilly Field. The Lady Bridgers were hoping to end the Spartans recent mastery over them by coming to the Spartans home turf and vanishing their 3 game losing streak against them. Both the Spartans and Lady Bridgers return a plethora of All-Section talent this season. Montour has (4) such players in sophomore second basemen Stacey Capp sophomore center fielder Alyssa McMurtrie junior pitcher Kaitlyn Kutchman and senior shortstop Marina Scarantino. Ambridge counters with their own 4-pack of All-Section returnees in junior right fielder Nikee George senior catcher Stephanie Beck senior shortstop Jenna Lakas and senior pitcher Kayla Haslett. However it did not happen for the Lady Bridgers as they were shutout by the Montour Spartans 3-0. The PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME WAS MONTOUR SPARTANS JUNIOR PITCHER KAITLYN KUTCHMAN. Kaitlyn is no stranger to posting shutouts as she delivered (11) of them last season including (4) straight blank jobs in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. Ms. Kutchman allowed only one Ambridge base runner to reach third base. That being Lady Bridgers center fielder Bree Gleason. Gleason walked with two-outs in the top of the second inning and was ruled safe on a pair of close stolen base attempts at second and third. Kutchman ended the threat by fanning Ambridge second basemen Emily Myley on a 2-2 pitch to deny the Lady Bridgers their last and best scoring opportunity of the contest. Kaitlyn retired (13) of the next (14) hitters that she faced after that (Nikki George got aboard in the fourth frame as a hit batsmen). Kaitlyn raised her record this season to 6-2. She struck out (5) walked (1) and allowed (2) hits in authoring the complete game. For the season she has struck out (56) batters in (55) innings. Montour head coach Bill Wills said this about his outstanding hurler “Montour’s success begins with Kaitlyn’s pitching arm with every game she gets stronger and after today’s success you will be hearing a lot more from her. The entire team is on the right track and is focusing on one game at a time.” Speaking of being on track the Spartans flashed some very good looking leather against Ambridge. Montour did not commit an error. Shortstop Marina Scarantino made two tremendous diving plays back-to-back in the sixth inning ranging to her left and throwing out two Lady Bridgers runners from down on her knees. Unfortunately the Ambridge defense was not nearly as good behind their starting pitcher Kayla Haslett. The Lady Bridgers committed (3) infield errors which led to Montour scoring two unearned runs. Haslett lost her first game of the season and her record drops to 6-1. She struck out (5) walked (2) allowed (7) hits and (1) earned run in pitching a complete game. Coach Wills said in the “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s post-game show following his team’s win that his team has emphasized hitting this season. In this game against Ambridge the increased emphasis paid off. Seven of the nine hitters in the Spartans lineup registered at least one knock and an eighth player (Tori Roman) got on base with a walk and scored Montour’s second run of the game. So the “King” showed on Thursday afternoon that they are not dead in 2011. Montour demonstrated to Ambridge that the Lady Bridgers are going to have to play with more poise and mental acuity if they want to be the team to knock the Spartans off of their throne. The Spartans snatched their fourth straight victory over Ambridge dating back to last season. There are several very talented and experienced teams looking to challenge Montour for supremacy in this classification.
In that group is a pair of “Sweet 16” Softball Program members who are currently undefeated Valley and Yough. Montour has fired their first salvo in response to their challengers. And the Spartans three word response is “bring it on.”
APRIL 18 2011
STO-ROX VIKINGS 5 – VINCENTIAN ACADEMY ROYALS 3
TALIA SMARRA – STO-ROX VIKINGS – JUNIOR – PITCHER
The defending WPIAL Class A Champion Vincentian Academy Lady Royals hit the road to play their newest Section 3 A competition the Sto-Rox Lady Vikings on Monday afternoon. It was the closest game that Sto-Rox has played to date. Coming into this match up of Section 3 A unbeatens the Lady Vikings had outscored their first six opponents by a combined score of 84-4! Conversely Vincentian Academy had been outscored by their first four opponents 26-20. This season Sto-Rox has been reclassified from the AA ranks to single A. They have been quite impressive in the early going in steam rolling their first six opponents in getting off to a 6-0 record. This was a strange game as Vincentian Academy outhit Sto-Rox five hits to two but ended up on the wrong side of the score in suffering a 5-3 loss and sees their overall mark drop to 2-3 and 2-1 in Section 3 A. However the main reason that the Lady Vikings are still undefeated was the performance of the PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME JUNIOR PITCHER TALIA SMARRA. Talia was dominate in the circle despite some rather leaky defense being played behind her (five errors). Ms. Smarra went the distance (she has pitched every inning of every game this season) and struck out (11) and did not walk a batter. Smarra stranded (6) Lady Royals and fanned at least one Vincentian Academy hitter in each inning in raising her record to 7-0 this season. Danielle Melvin took the loss for Vincentian Academy even though she only allowed (2) Lady Vikings hits. Melvin had (5) strikeouts but issued (7) free passes and stranded (5) Sto-Rox base runners. Danielle had some control issues as she went to three ball counts to (14) Lady Vikings hitters in going the distance for Vincentian Academy. Sto-Rox looks to increase their record to 8-0 tomorrow in a section contest at Cornell. Vincentian Academy returns home tomorrow hoping to stay only one game in the loss column behind Sto-Rox in the Section 3 A race when they entertain North Catholic.
APRIL 15 2011
AVONWORTH ANTELOPES 8 – BRENTWOOD SPARTANS 4 in 8 INNINGS
JULIANNE HIRSCH – AVONWORTH ANTELOPES – JUNIOR – PITCHER
This game featured a matchup of two “Sweet 16” Softball Program members who were unbeaten in Section 1 AA play after two games. The Avonworth Lady “Lopes” were 4-1 overall and came to visit the Brentwood Spartans who were unbeaten on the season at 5-0 and had blanked their last (4) straight opponents at Brentwood Park by a combined score of 26-0! Avonworth entered the game having outscored their first (5) foes this season by a combined score of 38-23. So the stage was set on a very pleasant afternoon in the “walking community of Brentwood” for an exciting contest. Indeed this game did not disappoint. Avonworth received some stellar play defensively from their senior shortstop Natalie Zivic in the first two frames as the strong-armed infielder ended the first and second innings by starting two double plays after Brentwood had gotten a runner on first base with one out. In the bottom of the first she caught a line drive off the bat of Spartans senior catcher Lauren Healy and gunned down Brentwood freshmen third basemen Sydney Bauer who had wandered just a bit too far off of first base. One tremendous defensive play was not enough for Zivic as she duplicated her cannon of an arm with Brentwood’s junior second basemen Brianna Gibbons on at first after an error by Avonworth’s senior third basemen Erin Zakor. This time in the bottom of the second inning Natalie retrived a pop out to short by the Spartans sophomore shortstop Meghan Gildea and nailed Gibbons before she could retreat safely back to first base. The game remained scoreless through three innings before Brentwood finally broke through to register two runs across the pay station in the bottom of the fourth. A dropped third strike to the Spartans leadoff hitter Sydney Bauer put her onboard to start the inning. Then Lauren Healy followed with a two-run home run to left field that went over 200 feet and it was 2-0 Spartans after four innings. The Spartans added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out single by Healy walk to senior pitcher Taylor Sherry and a fly out to center field by Gibbons moved both runners up a base with two outs. An error by Avonworth shortstop Zivic brought Healy home from third to increase Brentwood’s advantage to 3-0 after six innings were in the book. After being held to just (4) hits through six innings by Brentwood’s returning All-Section pitcher Taylor Sherry the Lady “Lopes” captured some “two-out lightening” to make this game very dramatic. With two-outs in the top of the seventh inning Avonworth recorded (5) consecutive hits. THE PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME JUNIOR PITCHER JULIANNE HIRSCH started their comeback with a solid single to left field. Zivic followed with another single to left and an infield single by senior catcher Melissa Milbert loaded the bases with two outs. Avonworth finally broke through to score their first two runs of the game on a two-run single to right center by senior second basemen Tracy Catanzarite that scored both Hirsch and Zivic to make the score 3-2 Brentwood. However there would be some controversy. The throw by Spartans junior right fielder Alexis Climas appeared to have gotten Milbert at third base. Home plate umpire Jim Woods had left his position behind home plate to move down the third base line and was set to make the call but the base umpire Bo Davis came running across the field and was going to make a call on the runner as well. There was a delay as the two umpires conferred and after their gathering Milbert was ruled to have gotten under the tag at third base. Instead of the game being over and Brentwood remaining unbeaten at 6-0 this season the game continued. Avonworth senior first basemen Kelsey Knox then “smoked” a two-run double down the third base line to score the tying and lead runs for the Lady “Lopes”. Lucy Angell senior designated player grounded out to short to end the top of the seventh and Avonworth headed to the field with a lead for the first time all afternoon 4-3. Brentwood’s Climas got on base on an error by Zivic to start the bottom of the seventh inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior designated player Madison Monahan struck out. However senior third basemen Alexis Cerminara (who was 0 for 3 at the time) delivered an RBI single to left field to tie the game at 4-all. Two ground outs ended the inning and sent the game to extra frames. Avonworth showed their “never say die attitude” once again in the top of the eighth after two were out. Junior center fielder Ali Chambers (returning All-Section player) singled to center and then the P-O-T-G Julianne Hirsch followed with what turned out to be the game-winning hit with an RBI double to left center field to plate Chambers. Zivic then added an RBI single to center that brought home Hirsch and Milbert put the icing on the cake with a two-run blast over the fence in left field to make the score 8-4 Lady “Lopes”. Avonworth had registered (9) hits in the seventh and eighth innngs to come from a 3-0 deficit with two outs in the seventh inning to now take an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth. The Spartans went down in order in the bottom of the eighth and they watched their undefeated record come to a startling end. The rematch between these two teams is on Thursday May 5th at 7:30 pm. at Avonworth’s Mayernik Field and will be broadcast live on the MSA Sports Network. Avonworth’s Julianne Hirsch (a two-sport athlete – volleyball) got the win as she went all (8) innings to improve her record to 3-1. Ms. Hirsch had scattered (5) hits over the first six innings but three Spartans had scored . Hirsch was also clutch in this game with a bat in her hands. The right hander struck out (6) walked (3) allowed (6) hits and (4) runs. Taylor Sherry suffered her first loss of the season and is 5-1. The right hander went the distance and permitted (13) hits (1) walk fanned (6) and allowed (8) runs.
April 14th 2011
SOUTH SIDE BEAVER Rams 7 – Rochester Rams 6 in 10 innings
SARAH ANDROLIA – SOUTH SIDE BEAVER RAMS – FRESHMAN – SHORTSTOP
VICTORIA CONTI – SOUTH SIDE BEAVER RAMS – SOPHOMORE – LEFT FIELDER
Finally they could get out of the gym and play oh and they played. A 7-6 ten inning come from behind victory by the South Side Beaver Rams over the Rochester Rams that took two and a half hours. The Rams improve to 3-2 and 2-0 in the section with their section win over Rochester. It didn’t look good early as Rochester scored 3 runs in the first inning 2 in the 2nd and 1 in the 3rd to take a 6-0 lead. Alexis Trip the South Side pitcher didn’t seem on and the Rochester bats were humming to the tune of 8 hits thru three innings.But this game would have so many things happen that you would forget that South Side was down by 6 early on. The Home team South Side had chances in the first few innings. In the 2nd inning they had three hits but had a runner gunned down at the plate to end a threat and in the 3rd inning they left the bases loaded. You just had the feeling that they were due to break it open.They finally did scoring 1 run in the 4th inning 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th to cut the lead to 6-4. Both teams seemed determined to let the other team score easy runs with errors. Rochester committed 5 miscues and South Side 4. But a funny thing those same defenses also got both pitchers out of many jams. South Side had 3 runners thrown out at the plate on great Rochester defensive plays. South Side turned 2 double plays and thru a runner out at first base from right field. In all both teams combined left 26 runners on base 14 for South Side 12 for Rochester. This game saw 2 controversial appeal plays of runners leaving third base early on sacrifice fly balls. Rochester lost a run while South Side’s run would count. South Side down 2 runs in the 6th with one out got a double from CO PLAYER OF THE GAME Sarah Androlia a wild pitch put her at 3rd. After a ground out to the pitcher it was down to the last out. Marla Thomas singled to score Androlia then Michelle Klein singled. With runners at 1st and 2nd base CO PLAYER OF THE GAME VICTORIA CONTI singled in the tying run. On the play Rochester’s right fielder would make 2 errors enabling the runner from first (Klein) to attempt to score all the way from first base. But she was thrown out at home to end the inning. Rochester went down in order in the 8th inning South Side threatened and had runners on 2nd and 3rd base but couldn’t score to end the game. Onto the 9th inning and Rochester led off with a double to centerfield coupled with an error they had the go ahead runner at third with no out. An apparent sacrifice fly RBI was appealed as the Rochester runner left early and was called out adding more drama. South Side didn’t threaten in the 9th so it looked like it would go to the 10th inning but the umpires and coaches conferred and it was undecided weather they would go to the international tiebreaker rule. That is where after the 9h inning into the 10th you put your last batter to 2nd base to promote scoring and try to end a tied game. The umpires confused and unsure made phone calls to no avail and the 10th inning began. Rochester went down in order so South Side would get their chance to win on the 10th. But…another delay as the umpire received a phone call this time. They were told that the tiebreaker rule should have been in effect after the 9th inning but since the 10th inning was half complete they had to finish that first then go to it in the 11th if needed. Well South Side wouldn’t need am 11th inning as they got a 1 out single from Allison Frasier then a single from Cassie Gentile and a game winning walk off single from Trish Lamont who was 0-5 until the big hit in the 10th. CO PLAYER OF THE GAME Sarah Androlia a Freshman shortstop was 4-5 with 2 singles a double and 2 runs scored plus 4 strong throws from her position to get outs. CO PLAYER OF THE GAME Victoria Conti was 3 for 5 with 3 singles and 3 RBI. She singled in the the 2 runs in the 6th and 1 in the 7th to tie the game. She also made one nice defensive play in the outfield for a put out. After having 7 games postponed by rain or bad fields everyone was happy to get to play again especially South Side head coach Thersa Waxler who said after the game “I’m so proud of these girls they never give up we were shaky early on defense but we kept loose in the dugout and climbed back in it to give ourselves a chance to win it late”
April 14 2011
Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers 3 – Frazier Commodores 1 in 8 innings
KAYLA BRIGGS – CHARTIERS-HOUSTON BUCCANEERS – SOPHOMORE – RIGHT FIELDER
On a gorgeous Thursday afternoon at Jefferson Township Field the Frazier Commodores hosted the defending PIAA Class A Champion and Section 1 A Titilist Chartiers-Houston in a matchup of two of the MSA Sports Network’s Top Ten ranked Class A teams. The Buccaneers entered the game with a 5-0 overall record and 1-0 mark in Section 1 A and the Commodores came in sporting a 5-1 overall ledger and a 2-0 mark in Section 1 A. Last season these two section foes split their two game series with each winning on their home field. Both the “Bucs” and Commodores have produced plenty of offense this year as Chartiers-Houston had outscored their first five opponents by a margin of 59-3. Frazier has had no shortage of offensive firepower in 2011 as they had out produced their first six foes by a margin of 59-22. But as it often happens when two good teams face each other runs came at a premium. They did in this game as it took (8) innings for Chartiers-Houston to defeat Frazier 3-1. The PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME WAS THE BUCCANEERS KAYLA BRIGGS. Their multi-talented sophomore right fielder scored (2) runs including the first one of the game as she demonstrated the many different ways that she can beat you. Kayla led off the top of the first with a well-delivered single to left field. Proceeded to steal second base advanced to third on a groundout to second and scored on a one-out single to centerfield by junior catcher Colby Miller. That one run stood up until the Commodores tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Frazier tied the score when senior shortstop Melissa Brown began the frame with a single and moved over to third on a pair of groundouts and came home to tally the Commodores only run on an RBI single to right centerfield by junior third basemen Kelsey Dillon that evened the game at 1 all. The outcome was essentially determined in the top of the eighth when “Bucs” number nine batter sophomore first basemen Piper McLaughlin got aboard on an error by pitcher Andrea Lash on a ” little nuber” to the right side of the circle that she did not field cleanly. Briggs followed with a single to left center field to put runners at first and second with no outs. Junior center fielder Kelli Dufresne moved both runners up with a sacrifice to the pitcher and Colby Miller drove in her second RBI of the game and the winning run with a ground out to second base. Clean up batter junior shortstop Rachel Tucker followed with her third single of the game an RBI single down the first base line to score Briggs with an insurance run and a 3-1 lead. Frazier went down in order in the bottom of the eighth and Chartiers-Houston left Jefferson Township Field still unbeaten with a 6-0 overall record and 2-0 log in Section 1 A. Buccaneers senior pitcher Kiersten Conwell went the distance for the win. She allowed (1) run (5) hits struckout (8) and did not issue a walk. Conwell retired the last (8) Commodores hitters with the exception of a dropped third strike by Miller that did not lead to any scoring by Frazier in the bottom of the seventh inning. Andrea Lash went all the way for Frazier to suffer the loss. She was quite effective in the early innings after yielding the first run of the game as she retired (9) Buccaneers hitters in a row from the last out in the second inning through the first two hitters in the top of the fifth. Andrea gave up (3) runs (10) hits fanned (4) and did not issue a free pass. Kayla Briggs the P-O-T-G and the reigning “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Co-Class AA/A Player-Of-The-Week went (3 for 4) with a stolen base and two runs scored. Next up for Chartiers-Houston is a non-section game on Friday against Monessen. Frazier (5-2 2-1 in Section 1 A) will next take to the diamond on Saturday when they travel to play Fort Cherry in a section game.
APRIL 13 2011
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 5 – BELLE VERNON LEOPARDS 1
COURTNEY SEMAN – BELLE VERNON LEOPARDS – JUNIOR – 2ND BASEMEN
The “Sweet 16” Softball Program’s Belle Vernon Area Leopards hosted the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions at Belle Vernon Area High School’s football stadium on Wednesday afternoon in a non-section game. Leopards head coach Tom Rodriguez said that Belle Vernon has difficulty finding opponents who are willing to come and play the Leopards on the artificial surface but the Centurions were more than willing to come and play Belle Vernon in their PIAA approved for softball games football stadium. The reason most often given by those teams who do not choose to play the Leopards in their football facility is that they believe the Leopards have an advantage since they have the ability to practice on the turf. However in this contest the Class AA Centurions scored first with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning to go out in front 2-0. It was a lead that Greensburg Central Catholic would not relinquish. They added single tallies in the third fourth and fifth innings to upset their AAA opponent by a final score of 5-1. The PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME FOR THE LEOPARDS IS COURTNEY SEMAN. The junior second basement led the Belle Vernon offense with two hits (a single and a double in three at bats) and scored the Leopards only run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Belle Vernon saw their three game winning streak snapped and their potent offense contained by a very solid pitching performance by Greensburg Central Catholic freshmen pitcher Anna Marie Gatti. Entering this game the Leopards had outscored their first five opponents by a margin of 35-8. Gotti went the distance in picking up the win striking out (7) and permitted (4) hits and (1) run. Belle Vernon senior pitcher Katie Gauden made her first start of the season as she has been recovering from a back injury and took the loss. Reigning “Sweet 16” Softball Program Class AAAA/AAA P-O-T-W Haley Bashada pitched the last two innings in relief of Gauden and retired the last six Centurion hitters without allowing a ball out of the infield on (5) groundouts and (1) lineout to second base. Belle Vernon’s overall record drops to 4-2 and the Leopards will return to action on Thursday with a big Section 3 AAA road game at South Park. Greensburg Central Catholic improves their overall mark to 2-1 and next up will continue on the road in a Section 4 AA tilt at Steel Valley on Friday afternoon.
APRIL 7 2011
LATROBE WILDCATS 12 – Connellsville Falcons 2
MARISA LARKIN – LATROBE WILDCATS – JUNIOR – DESIGNATED PLAYER
The Greater Latrobe Wildcats opened defense of their Section 1 AAAA title with a five-inning victory over the Connellsville Falcons Thursday afternoon on their home field at Latrobe Rotary Community Park. The Wildcats are ranked # 2 in this week’s MSA Sports Network ranking of the Top 10 Quad A teams and made a strong statement in this section opening game for both teams that they do not plan to give up their section crown easily in 2011. Greater Latrobe has been know in recent seasons for possessing outstanding pitching and there does not appear to be any shortage of that with senior Becca Taylor today’s starter and winning pitcher and senior Alexa Larkin who played first base against the Falcons and scored three runs and stole a base. However in this 12-2 win over Connellsville it was her younger sister MARISA LARKIN WHO WAS THE PLAYER-OF-THE GAME. The designated player went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice and scored 2 runs and contributed 4 RBI as the Wildcats broke open a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the third inning with four runs and put the game away with a 6 spot in the bottom of the fourth frame. Marisa is the last of the Larkins who will play softball for Greater Latrobe head coach Bob Kovalcin (her older siblings being Alexa and Breann). She is a high ranking student academically and in her spare time works at Dairy Queen. She was clutch in this contest with a bat in her hands. She drove in her first pair of runs with a two-out 2-run RBI single to right centerfield in the third frame and added two more RBI in the fourth inning with one-out single again to the right centerfield gap. Becca Taylor picked up the win for the Wildcats as she went all (5) innings walked (2) struck out (5) and scattered (9) hits. If the Wildcats can continue to deliver the sterling hitting that they produced against a very good pitcher in Connellsville’s Meghan Uher (who suffered the loss) throughout this season Greater Latrobe just may win their third WPIAL Class AAAA Championship (2007 and 2008 were the other seasons) in the last five years. Next up for Greater Latrobe (2-0 overall and 1-0 in Section 1 AAAA) is a non-section game on Friday at Belle Vernon.
March 31 2011
Franklin Regional Panthers 8 – MCKEESPORT TIGERS 5 in 9 innings
NICOLLE DRISCOLL – McKEESPORT TIGERS – JUNIOR – 2nd BASEMEN
The “Sweet 16” member McKeesport Tigers hosted the Franklin Regional Panthers in the first-ever game broadcast of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program on a cold afternoon at the McKeesport Area High School Softball Field. It was the Section 2 AAAA opener for both teams and both squads entered the contest looking for their first victory of the 2011 season. The Tigers are the defending Section 2 AAAA champions and are coming off of their first outright section title since 1992. Franklin Regional has been moved up from Class AAA in 2011 after winning the Section 4 AAA championship last season. Franklin Regional scored first wIth a run in the top of the second inning. McKeesport took the lead in the bottom of the third when the Tigers plated three runs when the PLAYER-OF-THE-GAME NICOLLE DRISCOLL drove in a pair of runs with a one-out 2-run single to left-centerfield. For the game Nicolle went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and a stolen base. McKeesport head coach Robin McCabe said that Nicolle showed a strong performance defensively. That 4th inning offensive uprising by the Tigers would be McKeesport’s highlight on this afternoon. Franklin Regional pushed across single runs in the fourth and fifth frames to tie the game at 3-3 to send this section matchup to extra innings. The Panthers scored (5) runs in the top of the ninth when they collected six hits off of McKeesport’s starting pitcher senior Kristen Popp to take an 8-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth. The Tigers did not go out meekly in the bottom of the ninth. They scored two runs with one out before Franklin Regional starting pitcher Sam Johnson retired Tigers senior first basemen Kelli Hall on a fly out to left field and freshmen left fielder Courtney Patterson on a pop up to first to end the game. McKeesport’s early season record is now 0-3 overall and 0-1 in Section 2 AAAA. The Tigers next face the Plum Mustangs at home on Thursday April 7th in a Section 2 AAAA clash.
* 2011 MSA Sports Sweet Sixteen Softball Sponsors
* 2011 MSA Sports Sweet Sixteen Softball Broadcast Schedule & Results
* Numbers Crunching with the 2011 – Charter Members of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program
* Photos from the 2011 MSA Sports Sweet Sixteen Softball Representatives Meeting
The “Sweet 16” Softball Program began with the “First Pitch” meeting that was held on March 17 2011 at Greensburg-Salem High School. The “Sweet 16” Softball Program is comprised of teams from all four of the WPIAL enrollment classifications and are located in five different counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. This meeting brought together under one roof at the same time all of the major components involved in the sport.
That being the student-athletes coaches and booster club representatives. A record number of student-athletes attended the gathering (37) and the total attendance was (67) individuals. Each team selected one player to serve as team spokesperson at the meeting.
If you would like to discuss your high school’s softball team becoming a member of the “Sweet 16” Softball Program contact Jonathan Whaley at 724-289-8376 and via e-mail at [email protected]