Bethel Park softball has reason for celebration, confidence
Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 11:01 AM
Bethel Park’s softball team reveled in a banner 2021 campaign, winning a WPIAL title and outright section crown for the first time in school history.
Ohio State recruit Reagan Milliken led a talented eight-player senior class last spring. Milliken was named Class 6A Player of the Year by Trib HSSN as Bethel Park’s shortstop. She hit 11 home runs and drove in 37 while batting a sizzling .660.
Milliken also was lauded as the 6A Player of the Year by the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association.
“This senior class will go down in school history as one of the greatest groups,” coach Heather Semplice-Scott said. “They showed younger players, not only on our team but throughout the community, what it takes to be a champion. They left their mark.”
Semplice-Scott was named Trib HSSN and section Coach of the Year. She said one of the team’s goals this spring is pretty basic: to strive for a playoff position.
“Our expectations are to work hard and try to earn a spot in the playoffs,” she said. “I think we will be competitive, but the girls will have to work hard to earn a playoff spot. The team has been working on and learning how to play together. We continue to work on fundamentals.”
The next chapter of Bethel Park softball is rich in talent, making for an interesting read.
Catcher Sandra Soltes, outfielder Ali Sniegocki and infielders Abby Quickel and Delaney Sierka form a solid nucleus as returning senior starters.
Soltes hit .500 with eight home runs last season, and Quickel (.380), Sniegocki (.340) and Sierka (.312) were “.300 Club” members.
“I think our team will be competitive,” Soltes said. “We have to learn how we play in a game-like situation. We had our first scrimmage (March 16) against Connellsville, and I thought it was a successful scrimmage because we started to look more comfortable with each other.”
All four returning starters were named all-section a year ago; three are Division I college recruits. Soltes has committed to Pitt; Quickel, normally an infielder who switched to the outfield last spring, has pledged to Robert Morris; and Sniegocki has designated Holy Cross as her college choice.
Soltes was a first team all-state selection by the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association.
“My main personal goal (this season) is to keep my batting average above .450,” Soltes said, “and to keep my walks at a minimum so I can try to drive more people in.”
Two newcomers who are expected to make an impact this year are Savana Knauff, a sophomore outfielder, and Lupe McElvenny, a sophomore utility player.
Others looking to make their presence felt include senior utility players Anna Levis and Bella Pusateri, junior utility player Victoria DePasquale, sophomore infielder Julia Miller and sophomore utility players Nicolette Antonucci, Becky Gillenberger, Madison Kristobak and Lily Spence.
Pitching is a key component of any high school softball team. The Black Hawks have three sophomore candidates: Alayna Owen, Makenzie Wade and Belinda Bova. Owen pitched in a few varsity games last season.
BP’s top freshman prospects in 2022 include infielder Kamiya Martin and utility players Audrey Campbell, Taylor Striegel, Allison Jones, Nina DePasquale and Rylee Rocco.
Semplice-Scott, who is in her 13th season as the Black Hawks’ field boss, believes Mt. Lebanon and Baldwin are the teams to beat in the Section 1-6A. She also expects Canon-McMillan to contend for the section title.
The Black Hawks have advanced to the postseason seven consecutive years and haven’t had a losing record since 2011.
Tags: Bethel Park
More High School Softball• Trib 10: Baseball power rankings shaken up despite poor week of weather
• Leechburg softball team proud to uphold playoff streak
• Westmoreland County softball notebook: Southmoreland captures elusive section title
• Close games sharpen Greensburg Central Catholic softball for battles ahead
• Trib HSSN softball player of the week for May 1, 2023