Hard work pays off with league championship for 15U Penn Hills softball squad

Sunday, July 31, 2022 | 8:47 PM

Steve DeCarlo has spent seven years with Penn Hills teams of various age groups in the Eastern Fastpitch Softball League.

With half of his roster on the 15U team set to age out following this season, the league is considering adding an 18U division to have a recreational summer league available to play. That sounds like good news for this Penn Hills group, which likely doesn’t want to stop playing after hitting a high note.

Penn Hills won its first championship this season, beating Penn Township Gill in the championship game to wrap up a 14-0 season.

“I think they really enjoy coming back and playing every year,” DeCarlo said. “Myself and the other parents who coach with me, we work with these girls as much as we can. They have to work on their own as well as the time they spend in practice and games.”

Lauren Sipple said she started playing recreationally when she was 6. Sipple, who also plays on the travel and high school teams, said she enjoys the rec league because there is a group of five or six players she has played with every year since joining the team.

Not having the pressure of a varsity or travel game helps make the games appealing.

“I feel like the rec league is more for fun, learning and helping people that don’t have as much experience,” Sipple said.

Sipple was one of three players — along with Isabella DeCarlo and Ashley Vrzscak — who pitched for the team. Abella Gray, Domiana Hopkins, Shinia Lewis, London Irish, Iyarah Hicks, Cassidy Burkovich, Shaelyn Stit, Ava Wos, Lauren Johnson, Kaylee Helsel, Donjae Johnson and Brianna Marazas also played on the team.

The Eastern Fastpitch Softball League is a nine-team league that features teams from the suburbs in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties.

DeCarlo was excited with the team’s success. In his tenure as coach, Penn Hills had last played for a championship five years ago.

“It was nice to see the girls see their hard work pay off,” DeCarlo said. “We’ve had seven to nine girls that have played together for eight or nine years. They click well. This season, the hard work paid off for them.”

Sipple said playing in a championship game was fun for Penn Hills. They had to win playoff games to reach the final.

“I think that could have been our best game yet,” Sipple said. “Everyone was hitting and fielding their position well. We were looking forward to being in a championship game. That doesn’t happen for us every year.”

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