Franklin Regional softball ready to again light up scoreboards

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 | 6:38 PM

Franklin Regional took a trip south to open the softball season.

Expectations for the Panthers are pointing due north.

Twelve times last season — over 20 games — the team scored double-digit runs, using extra-base hits to fuel a fluid and fun offense.

Coach Jim Armstrong can still hear the repeated ping of the bat that created 196 runs and 29 home runs.

It was a ringing sound that allowed the Panthers to slash, as a team, .351/.423/.604 — their collective batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

The team’s big three returners are sophomores Toryn Fulton and Ciara Camacho and senior Madison Nguyen.

“The usual three suspects are back,” Armstrong said.

Fulton, an outfielder, hit .414 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs and 25 runs.

Camacho, an infielder who will catch this year, had a .362 average with eight homers and 15 RBIs, while first baseman Nguyen led the team with 30 hits and a .536 average with eight homers and 36 RBIs.

Senior Carli Ramchandran will go back to the pitching circle after she broke her arm last season.

“We feel that last year we could have gotten farther into the playoffs if Carli would not have broken her arm against Seneca Valley,” Armstrong said. “She is healthy this year.”

Senior Tait Ramchandran should be the everyday shortstop, and senior Sydney Jackson is back in the outfield.

Armstrong said senior Alexa Patberg will move to third base with Camacho now catching.

The Panthers were 13-7 last year and tied Kiski Area for second in Section 1-5A at 9-3.

They lost to Shaler in the first round of the playoffs, 14-6.

Junior Sophia Reitz and senior Mackenzie Woehler were competing for the third outfield spot.

Freshman Chloe Lancaster likely will share pitching duties with Ramchandran. She was the opening day starter during the Jackie Robinson Spring Training showcase in Florida.

The team beat McDonnel Enternal, 19-1, in their only game there. Camacho went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs, Fulton homered and drove in three, Nguyen was 3 for 5 and Carli Ramchandran was 3 for 4 with four RBIs.

The Panthers (2-1) won their opener by forfeit. Their bats were silenced as they were shut out by Class 6A title-contender Hempfield, 8-0, on Wednesday.

Another freshman who is slated to play second base but is a natural outfielder is Adrianna Martz.

“I think our seniors are great leaders, and they are very unselfish in everything they do,” Armstrong said. “We have some very good underclassmen who have had a lot of success.”

If Armstrong has learned anything in his tenure in the Panthers’ dugout, it is this: Backups need to be ready when their name is called.

“Things can change throughout the year, but I feel like we have some depth this year,” the coach said. “That, in the past, is probably the most glaring thing holding us back.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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