After disappointing finish last season, Plum softball ready to bounce back
Monday, March 16, 2020 | 5:40 PM
Last season didn’t end the way the Plum softball team wanted it to.
After a regular season in which the Mustangs went 15-3, shared the Section 2-5A championship and received the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL playoffs, Plum lost to eventual Class 5A champion West Allegheny in the quarterfinals.
“That one still hurts,” senior shortstop Mackenzie Lake said. “It hurt throughout the summer, and it still hurts to this day. We don’t want to feel that way again.”
The Mustangs lost four seniors from a team that outscored opponents 185-47, and they return seven starters, including Lake, who hit .435 and drove in 25 runs.
Infielders Alyssa Schofield (.467 batting average) and Chloe Fabio (.368) also are key hitters, and second baseman Fran Beighley and outfielders Maura Marston and Jillian Durst give the lineup depth.
“We should be a really strong-hitting team,” second-year coach Phil DiLonardo said. “We have a lot of seniors, a few juniors and one of our sophomores who played extensively last year. So I would like to think we’ll be pretty good. We were a solid defensive team last year, but we were a pretty good-hitting team, too, and I don’t see that changing.”
After the departure of Abby Froehlich, junior Melanie Mienke will take over the primary pitching duties after going 8-1 last year.
DiLonardo believes the Mustangs are set up for another successful season.
“You need the leadership from those girls, and I think they’ll be able to help us make that leap,” DiLonardo said.
Plum’s four losses last season came by a combined seven runs, and a one-run loss West Allegheny ended its season. With so much experience and talent returning, the Mustangs are aiming high.
“We lost a few big girls, but I feel like we have some people coming in that can fill in those spots,” Fabio said. “I think overall, our (camaraderie) is just as good as last year and I think we’ll do just as well.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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