Elizabeth Forward’s Kailey Larcinese named Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Year
By: Don Rebel
Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 11:23 PM
Kailey Larcinese dominated in the pitchers circle for a team that won 19 games in a row, a first WPIAL championship and a runner-up trophy in the PIAA postseason.
What stands out about the sophomore’s super season was it was her first year as the starting pitcher for Elizabeth Forward.
“I consider her a freshman pitcher,” Elizabeth Forward coach Harry Rutherford said. “She has not been a first pitcher on any of her travel ball teams. She certainly has taken a step up.”
Rutherford credits a new pitch as part of Larcinese’s rise to stardom.
“She did a great job in improving and stepping up her game,” he said. “We talked that she needed to spot her fastball better, get her change-up to work a little bit better and really improve her rise ball.
“The rise really improved to the point it was jumping a lot; we got a lot of movement on it. She really stepped up her game as a sophomore pitcher for us. She came up big time.”
Larcinese really came up big in the postseason.
She allowed only one run in three WPIAL playoff games, including a 3-0 shutout of previously undefeated Mt. Pleasant in the district Class 4A championship game.
In three PIAA tournament wins, she gave up only three runs, including a 2-1 win over Mt. Pleasant in the semifinals that clinched a first trip to a state title game for EF.
However, the Warriors came up short in a 3-2 loss to West Perry that ended a 19-game winning streak and dashed their state championship dreams.
It was still a golden season for Larcinese. She finished with a 19-5 record, an ERA of 1.02 and a WHIP of 0.85. She walked 36 in 151 innings while striking out 202 batters. Opposing hitters had a feeble .169 batting average against her.
Nine of her 19 victories were shutouts. On April 18, Larcinese threw a no-hitter against Carrick and finished with three one-hitters.
For her performance this season, she is the Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Year.
Rutherford believes the confidence of his young pitcher was a big part of her successful 2019 season.
“Her attitude is great,” Rutherford said. “She’s very confident in herself now, and that’s what it takes to be that pitcher. You need somebody that’s going to have that attitude.”
Larcinese took some time for a Q&A:
Now that the year is complete, how do you look back at your season?
Looking back on my sophomore season, I am very proud of what this team has accomplished. We went from losing a WPIAL championship my freshman year to winning the WPIAL and making it to the state championship.
How big of an adjustment was it for you in becoming the team’s No. 1 pitcher?
Last year, I was not sure if I was going to be the starting pitcher for the high school team, but coming into this season, I believed in myself and worked on every weakness to make sure I would be starting.
How do you feel you did offensively?
Offensively, I think I could have done better, but mostly during high school, I just like to focus on pitching and getting done what I need to on the mound.
When the season began, did you think this team could win a district crown and play for a state championship?
In the beginning of this season, I knew we would make a good run for the WPIALs, not even thinking about states. Winning the WPIAL was what we all needed to do, so we pretty much just focused on that. This team has accomplished so much this past season, breaking records almost every game.
Was there a highlight that stood out for you?
Being able to beat Mt. Pleasant twice and come back and win the WPIAL after a heartbreaking loss last year was definitely the best moment throughout this season.
You are midway through your high school career, have you started thinking/looking at colleges?
I have started looking at colleges being that I can get recruited this September 1st. For my summer team, we travel and do college showcases to get to look into colleges and see who is interested.
After softball, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
I am hoping to go to college to play softball and become either a physical therapist or an occupational therapist.
What are your three favorite desserts?
2. Peanut butter sundae
3. Oreo desserts
Weather-wise, what is your favorite season?
Summer is definitely my favorite season. You can explore many things and the weather is just amazing, when it’s not raining here in Pennsylvania. But every day you can go out and just do anything basically and be with your friends not having to worry about school.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.
Tags: Elizabeth Forward