Bethel Park softball reflects on historic season

Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Bethel Park’s softball team enjoyed a historic run through the 2021 season, winning a WPIAL title in softball for the first time ever at the school.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this group of girls,” coach Heather Semplice-Scott said. “Their performance throughout the season never ceased to amaze us. They made school history, lifelong friends, and this team will be talked about for a long time.”

Bethel Park breezed through the WPIAL campaign with an 18-0 record, outscoring the opposition by a commanding 187-39 overall margin.

Eight players hit .300-or-better in WPIAL action, led by senior shortstop Reagan Milliken with a robust .660 batting average.

“Winning a WPIAL title was definitely a goal for us and it was by far the most exciting game I have ever been a part of,” Milliken said. “It is so cool to say that I was a part of the only softball team from Bethel Park to win a WPIAL title.

Junior catcher Sandra Soltes was next in hitting with a .500 batting average, while senior first baseman Gianna Sciullo (.476) and senior center fielder Lauren Caye (.453) were .400 club members.

Other leading hitters included junior right fielder Abby Quickel (.380), senior pitcher Delaney Nagy (.358), junior left fielder Ali Sniegocki (.340) and junior second baseman Delaney Sierka (.312).

The top-seeded Black Hawks rolled past Baldwin, 9-1, Pine-Richland, 9-0, and Canon-McMillan, 9-2, and were ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 6A by Trib HSSN.

Then came the dreaded letdown that has plagued numerous WPIAL champions over the years in PIAA first-round games.

Bethel Park lost to District 3’s third-place representative, Penn Manor, by a 4-1 score June 7 in the PIAA first round at Norwin.

“Our team’s performance in the state game is not an indication of how we played all season,” Semplice-Scott said. “We didn’t play with the energy that we had all year. We hit a wall; we didn’t hit well as a team, and our defense was not there. We just didn’t show up to play our game.”

For the first time all season, the veteran coach met with the squad following a loss as the girls sat as a group in short right field.

“When we talked after the game, we discussed the game briefly, but really focused on all the positives of the season,” Semplice-Scott said. “I told them not to hang their heads as they made school history, and should be proud of their 18-0 record and the first WPIAL championship for Bethel Park softball. The positives of the season outweigh that one game.”

Milliken, an Ohio State recruit, led a highly talented senior class in 2021; the Black Hawks had eight seniors on their varsity roster.

“I am beyond excited about how the team did this season,” Milliken said. “We all worked hard and it was so much fun to see all of that hard work pay off. Even though the season did not end how any of us wanted it to, I am happy with the season we had. We set so many records at our school and it was amazing to be a part of.”

Along with the athletic Milliken, also a basketball standout at Bethel Park, the senior class was represented on the team by Sciullo, Caye, Nagy, third baseman Samantha Stephenson, pitcher Riley McCann, outfielder Lexi Seese and IF/DP Emily Momchilovich, who was sidelined with an injury but has hopes of continuing her career at Chatham.

“This senior class will go down in school history as one of the greatest groups,” 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.”

The cupboard won’t be bare in 2022. There were four juniors — Soltes, Quickel, Sniegocki and Sierka — in the starting lineup this year.

“Sandra, Abby, Ali and Delaney will be our team leaders (in 2022),” Semplice-Scott said. “They have a lot of experience from playing on varsity the past few years. We look for them to take control, as our seniors did this year.”

Another player gearing to make an impact next season is freshman Alayna Owen, a pitcher/outfielder. Owen saw some time in the pitcher’s circle this season. Anna Levis, a junior, and Victoria DePasquale, a sophomore, also were varsity reserves.

“We will have some holes to fill next year,” Semplice-Scott said. “I think we will be competitive, but the girls will have to work hard to earn a spot in the playoffs. As for our pitching, we have several girls that have a chance of earning a spot on varsity to pitch.”

No less than 10 Bethel Park players were named all-section this spring, led by Milliken (INF), Sciullo (INF), Caye (OF), Sniegocki (OF), Nagy (P) and Soltes (C) as first-team picks.

They were joined by Sierka (INF) and Quickel (OF) on the second team, with Stephenson (INF) and senior Riley McCann (P) as honorable mention selections.

Semplice-Scott was voted Coach of the Year in the section.


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