A-K Valley athletes of the week: Leechburg’s Anna Cibik, Plum’s Silvio Ionadi

Saturday, April 30, 2022 | 6:53 PM

Anna Cibik

Class: Junior

School: Leechburg

Sport: Softball

Report card: Leechburg junior pitcher Anna Cibik capped a busy week by throwing a pair of one-hitters Friday in a doubleheader sweep over Ellis School. The Blue Devils won 15-0 and 12-1. On Monday, she threw a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 4-3 loss to Springdale. Tuesday, she tossed a no-hitter and had eight strikeouts in an 18-0 victory over Riverview. Leechburg is 6-3 overall and 6-1 in Section 3-A.

How did the team play in the doubleheader Friday against Ellis?

I think we did really well. The defense was really good. We only had one error in the two games. On offense, we struggled with the slower pitching at first, but we caught onto it and did really well.

Isn’t it hard to pitch a doubleheader?

With travel experience, it’s easier because you’re used to playing multiple games in one day. It wasn’t really a struggle for me.

What was it like to throw a no-hitter against Riverview?

It was good. We did really good that game. It was only a three-inning game. It was really cold out.

What are some of your strengths in the circle?

My endurance and I don’t get frustrated. I can go long periods on the mound, and if my team makes errors, I know I have to keep my head up and keep just pitching. My other strength would definitely be my movement pitches. I’ve had movement for a long time, and I use them pretty well to get strikeouts.

How did you get started with pitching?

My mom (Janel Cibik) was a pitcher in high school. She pitched for Leechburg. As soon as I started playing softball, she got me into pitching and taught me the fundamentals. Through the years, my dad (Erik Cibik) has kept me in it. He’s been my catcher for everything. He’s taken me to lessons.

What are the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

We want to try and split our section with Springdale, and we just want to go far in playoffs.

Have you started looking into playing in college?

I definitely want to play in college. I’ve been emailing and looking around, but I’m not 100% sure where I want to go yet, if I want to be close or go far. I’m just not really sure yet.

Who is the toughest batter you’ve ever faced?

A girl I play travel ball with, before we were on the same team, Jessica Dunn. She plays for Karns City. She always gave me a hard time pitching to her because she’s such a consistent hitter. Sometimes, I just didn’t know what to throw her.

What is something people might not know about you?

I did dance for 11 years when I was younger. I did tap, ballet and jazz.

Does that help in softball?

Dance always improves people’s coordination and body movement. So it might have helped me. Being a pitcher, your coordination has to be really good and everything has to be together.

Silvio Ionadi

Class: Senior

School: Plum

Sport: Baseball

Report card: Plum’s shortstop went 2 for 5 with a double and two RBIs Friday as the Mustangs beat Penn-Trafford, 10-2. He also was 2 for 2 with two doubles and two RBIs in Tuesday’s 11-0 victory over Penn Hills. Plum improved to 9-3 overall and 6-2 in Section 2-5A after winning its sixth straight game.

How did the team play against Penn-Trafford on Friday?

It was a great team win for us. This season, we’ve had our ups and downs, not really getting it to click. (Friday), we came out swinging pretty hot. Everything worked out for us. Everyone batted around the lineup, good defense, great offense, and our pitching was outstanding. That’s all we can ask for.

What has the team done well during this six-game winning streak?

The past few weeks, we’ve really started to pick up our hitting. At the beginning of the season, that was a big weakness for us. We’ve really started swinging better and getting to the baseball, get better hits, get timely hits. That’s what you need to score runs.

What are the goals for the rest of the season?

As a team, I think we would love to win section. After that we want to go on a state playoff run. Playoffs, that energy is just unmatched. I would love to keep playing as long as I can.

How would you describe your role on this team?

This year, they voted me as team captain. So, I’ve kind of been in the middle of everything. I’ve really had to step up my hitting, fielding. I feel like if I have an off day, the whole team is looking the same way. So I just feel like I have to bring it every day and not take any days off.

Have you made any plans for next fall?

I plan to play baseball at Penn State Behrend. I’ve been in contact with their coach, and I hope he will put me on the squad.

I love the location, great weather up there, the school is great, great campus. The baseball field is amazing. I went to a camp there in the fall. All the players were nice and gave me a lot of insight about the season and the school. Their engineering program there is one of the best in the state, so it seemed like kind of a no-brainer for me.

Who would play you in a movie?

Probably Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s probably the most fitting for me.

What is something people might not know about you?

Most people look at me and think I’m a city boy, but I actually love to hunt. I just got my first buck this last season, a nice little 8-point buck. I love to hunt, I love to shoot guns at the range. My dad is the owner of a gun shop, Smoke N’ Guns in Oakmont.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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