Expectations remain high for Southmoreland softball team

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022 | 8:16 PM


Southmoreland softball had some fun with its first week of practices, introducing themes.

Players showed up in all kinds of gaudy costumes.

One day, they were ballerinas. The next, hunters dressed in camouflage. Their outfits in the days that followed included medical scrubs, fluorescent construction gear and cowgirl hats and boots.

But now it’s time to get serious, and the Scotties plan to take on another persona: section contender.

“Every year, the expectation is to compete,” coach Todd Bunner said. “We reload at Southmoreland, and the expectations are high.”

The Scotties (11-6, 4-4) reached the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals last year but lost to Ellwood City, 4-2. On the cusp of a PIAA playoff spot, they dropped the WPIAL third-place game to Avonworth, 3-2.

While three key players graduated in Jess Matheny, Emily Eutsey and Emma Mullet, the Scotties bring back 10 letterwinners, including sophomore slugger Amarah McCutcheon.

“That was something to see, a first-year player have that kind of impact,” Bunner said. “We’re going build the lineup around her, and she will be one of our captains.”

McCutcheon took 3A by storm, hitting .613 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 32 runs.

“Our roster is full of athletes who all bring something strong to our team,” said McCutcheon, an all-state shortstop. “Our team bond, work ethic and positivity coming into this season makes our team special. We push each other to be the best that we can be. … We all are very optimistic about the season and can’t wait to hit the dirt.”

McCutcheon will be joined by sophomore pitcher Maddie Brown, who went 5-0 last season.

Southmoreland has another influx of freshman talent and is not afraid to use it.

Around the horn, the Scotties will have sophomore Kaylee Dopplehauer and sophomore Gabriella Grabiak competing for playing time, with junior Brynn Charnesky at second, and freshman Taylor Dopplehauer and senior Tyson Martin playing third.

Sophomore Gianna Perbonish and freshman Makayla Etling are catchers.

“We have a lot of options in the outfield,” Bunner said.

Senior Elle Pawlikowsky and sophomores Gwen Basinger, Brooke McBeth, Beatrix Pawlikowsky make up those outfield options.

“We always have hitters at Southmoreland,” Bunner said. “We should be able to hit the ball pretty well again. Our pitchers should be good, too. We’ll see how they turn out.”

Brown is the top returner in the circle, but Bunner said he may use three pitchers. Charnesky and senior Maddy Cyphert are the others.

Bunner doesn’t expect any days off playing in Section 3 with defending champion Mt. Pleasant, Waynesburg, South Allegheny, McGuffey and Brownsville ready to tee it up.

“It’s never an easy section,” Bunner said. “Our girls will be ready.”

The Scotties will begin the year ranked No. 4 in Class 3A. Mt. Pleasant is No. 1.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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