Competition for lineup spots fierce on Latrobe softball team

Friday, March 26, 2021 | 7:05 PM

Latrobe softball coach Bob Kovalcin has seven seniors on his roster, and during the preseason, he told each of them they had first crack at their position.

Whether they keep it will be performance-based.

“I told the seniors it’s their job to lose, but there’s somebody right there behind them on the depth chart. And if they do not perform, they will lose their job and the next person will go in,” Kovalcin said. “It’s up to them. They have to hit, field and be ready to play. We also have some underclassmen that will push them for playing time. How they perform on the field will determine how much playing time they get.”

The seven seniors are Grace Revitsky, Lauren Bisignani, Jordan Tallman, Sydney DeGram, Jordan Novak, Alaura McHenry and Hannah Brewer.

Some of the underclassmen include catcher Jenna Tallman and center fielder Emily Schmucker and a quartet of players who helped Latrobe win a girls basketball section title in Camille Dominick, Emma Blair, Bailey Watson and Sami Krowenwetter.

What it adds up to is plenty of depth for Kovalcin as he begins his second stint with Latrobe. He guided the Wildcats to three WPIAL titles in 2007, ’08 and ’11 and was slated to make his return to the dugout last year before the season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kovalcin has one name inked in pen in his batting order. The rest are in pencil as he evaluates what will work best. He still is getting to know everyone and their unique skill sets after not seeing them in games last year.

“My leadoff hitter will not change. It’ll be Sydney DeGram,” Kovalcin said. “She’s a left-handed slap hitter with good speed. We haven’t determined who’s going to hit 3-4-5 or any of the rest of the order. That’s going to be determined based on performance in scrimmages and in practice.”

DeGram transferred from Howell, Mich., last year.

Jordan Tallman will anchor the pitching staff with sophomore Josie Straigis and freshman Kayla Williams also seeing innings.

Latrobe opens the season Saturday at Belle Vernon and has two other nonsection games scheduled with Norwin and Canon-McMillan before it opens Section 2-5A play against Thomas Jefferson on April 9.

Section 2 figures to be challenging. Along with Thomas Jefferson, the Wildcats will face Albert Gallatin, Connellsville, Penn-Trafford and Gateway. Every team in the section made the WPIAL playoffs in 2019. Penn-Trafford placed third in the WPIAL and went on to win the state championship. Connellsville was the WPIAL Class 5A runner-up.

“They are all good teams. I know a lot about Penn-Trafford, Albert Gallatin, Connellsville and Gateway,” Kovalcin said. “The only team I really don’t know about is Thomas Jefferson. That’s the only team I haven’t had in section before or played before. They are the wild card for me.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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