Greensburg Central Catholic softball off to promising start

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | 9:34 PM


While three games is a small sample size, it represents a strong start to the Greensburg Central Catholic softball team, and is perhaps a sign of what’s to come for the program.

The Centurions were anxious to take the field last year to display their improved pitching and defensive play. They were a team looking to round into form and start to be taken seriously in WPIAL-wide conversation. While the pandemic shut down the season, it didn’t deter the team from its goals.

After a few games, GCC is finally showing what it couldn’t wait to roll out.

“I love our pitching and our defense,” coach Mike Gaffney said. “We’ve gotten timely hitting with runners on base.”

GCC (2-1), which opened Section 2-A play Tuesday with a 9-3 loss to Jefferson-Morgan, won its first two games. The team had not started 2-0 since 2007. The Centurions were 4-1 in 2012, 5-1 in 2013 and 6-1 in 2015. Again, small sample size. The road is long, but there have been some positives.

“It’s too early to tell,” Gaffney said. “Our goal is to be better in the end, not the beginning. I am proud of how we’re growing every day.”

GCC went 9-8 in 2019 — its first winning season since 2015, the last year it won a playoff game.

“So far, we’ve kept our defense tight and brought our bats to the plate,” sophomore Emma Henry said. “If someone’s struggling, we pick each other up, which is definitely one of my favorite things we’ve done lately.”

Gaffney has players locked into positions where they belong. Girls are not being moved into spots out of necessity.

Henry and Makenzee Kenney have been solid in the circle.

Henry tossed a one-hit shutout, struck out 12 and added a pair of hits, while junior Natalie Ward had two RBIs as the Centurions blanked visiting Seton La Salle, 5-0, for their first season-opening win since 2017.

In a 12-0 win over St. Joseph, sophomore catcher Isaella Marquez had three hits, Henry doubled, homered and drove in five, and outfielder Riana Booher tripled.

Kenney pitched a five-inning no-hitter and struck out 12.

GCC has a long way to go to be compared to other local programs — the Hempfields, Penn-Traffords and Mt. Pleasants of the world — but each win is a step closer to prominence.

Does that motivate the Centurions?

“Obviously to be included in that mix and have such a strong showing of so many Westmoreland teams, being where we are, yes,” Gaffney said. “Who wouldn’t want to be compared to some of those programs? After years of hard work, to continue to climb the mountain means a lot to our school and our players — both present and past. When I got hired, one do the first people I called was (Hempfield) coach (Bob) Kalp.”

GCC has only two seniors on the roster.

“I definitely think we should be taken seriously as a contender this year,” Henry said. “I’m excited to see how we react to all of our games this next two weeks.”

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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