Bethel Park softball pleased with strong start but aims to improve

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Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Bethel Park’s softball team was perfect in the first month of the season. The Black Hawks improved to 10-0 with a 10-7 win at home April 27 against South Fayette.

It marked the seventh time in 10 games that the Black Hawks scored in double digits.

“I think we are playing pretty well,” coach Heather Semplice-Scott said, “but we have to continue to get better. With the second half of the season starting, we have to remain focused and continue to work hard.”

Bethel Park’s batting lineup against South Fayette was as follows: Ali Sniegocki (LF), Lauren Caye (CF), Gianna Sciullo (1B), Reagan Milliken (SS), Delaney Sierka (2B), Delaney Nagy (DH), Sandra Soltes (C), Riley McCann (P), Abby Quickel (RF).

“I am really happy with how the team has been playing. I think we’ve been playing really well together,” Milliken said. “We are taking each game one at a time. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, but we are excited for what is ahead.”

Milliken has played softball for 13 years and basketball for 11. She has a 4.0 GPA and is a National Honor Society member.

She will continue her softball career at NCAA Division I Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference. She also was recruited by Penn State and Pitt.

She is a three-year starter, two at shortstop after one at second base (the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic). She was recruited by the Buckeyes to play a corner infield position.

“I chose Ohio State because I love the atmosphere and the competitive spirit there,” Milliken said. “The coaches are all great and will push me to be my best. Another reason I chose Ohio State is because of all of the major options they have.

“I expect college to be a tough transition at first, but hopefully I will adjust quickly.”

Soltes, a Pitt recruit, smacked two home runs and went 3 for 3 against South Fayette. It was the first time she homered twice in a game.

“I’m very pleased with how we have been playing,” Soltes said. “Ever since my freshman year and our team lost in the first round of the playoffs, we’ve wanted to bounce back better than ever and this is our year for it.

“Our team has high expectations and tries to play the best we can every game. I believe our team has the heart and talent to beat anybody.”

Soltes has been playing softball since age 5. She said Pitt has been where she’s wanted to further her studies since she was a sixth-grader. The Panthers recruited Soltes as a catcher, her main position since her early days

“Being able to stay close to home at a high level university with great academics was huge for me,” she said.

Soltes, who has a 3.9 GPA and has participated in DECA at Bethel Park, also talked with Northern Kentucky, St. Francis (Pa.), Villanova, St. Joseph’s and Loyola before committing to Pitt.

Caye, a “take charge” center fielder, also had three hits against South Fayette; Milliken drove in three runs.

Riley McCann, Alayna Owen and Nagy did the pitching for the Black Hawks, who ended the month with a 5-0 record in Section 1-6A.

The Black Hawks have been ranked No. 1 in their classification all season in the Trib HSSN softball rankings. They also are the top-ranked team in the state.

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