Head of the Class: Softball Player and Coach of the Year for each classification
By: Don Rebel
Monday, June 24, 2019 | 1:50 AM
Back in the day, when a student did well in the classroom they were sometimes moved to the front of the class.
Well this is the TribLive HSSN version of that.
These players and coaches stood out for their performance on the softball diamonds around the WPIAL in 2019, and it’s time for us to put a colorful little star on their forehead to congratulate on a job well done.
The following have reached the TribLive HSSN Head of the Class for this past season and are our players and coaches of the year in each classification.
POY: Rachel Martindale, North Allegheny
The senior shortstop smacked five home runs and nine doubles while hitting .479. She only struck out three times in 73 at bats in helping North Allegheny to a share of the Section 2 title and a top-seed in the district playoffs.
COY: Bill Aguglia, Upper St. Clair
Took over a program in 2018 that hadn’t reached the playoffs in two decades and after a 4-15 season a year ago led the Panthers to a 13-7 record and the programs first playoff berth since 1999.
POY: Britney Wilson, West Allegheny
The junior catcher is a perfect 3 for 3 in wining WPIAL championships in her scholastic career. She batted .527 with a .861 slugging percentage, but this journey to gold was the first for Wilson and the Indians as an underdog as they won the title from the No. 10 seed.
COY: Phil DiLonardo, Plum
The first-year coach helped the Mustangs go from a fifth-place team last spring with a 9-10 record to a co-section champion this season with a 15-4 record that included a nine-game winning streak.
POY: Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
The sophomore pitcher was lights on in the circle with 19 wins and an ERA of 1.02. She threw 70 percent of her pitches for strikes and her opponents hit a paltry .169 against her as she led the Warriors to a first-ever WPIAL championship and a heartbreaking loss in the state title game.
COY: Harry Rutherford, Elizabeth Forward
The Warriors bounced back from a loss to Belle Vernon in the 2018 WPIAL 4A title game to win the program’s first district crown with hope for more with only two seniors in the EF lineup.
POY: Sarah Helffrich, Avonworth
The senior pitcher and second baseman finished a dental program in high school and will be joining the work force instead of going to college. That seems right as she drilled opposing pitchers all season with a .535 batting average with three home runs and 35 RBI while picking up double digit wins in the circle.
COY: Mark Kaminski, Keystone Oaks
The move down in class from 4A to 3A paid off for the Golden Eagles. After missing the playoffs last spring with a 7-9 overall record, KO finished 14-7 and reached the 3A title game where they fell to Avonworth.
POY: Logan Hartman, Frazier
The junior batted .407 with a .630 slugging percentage and won 21 games with an ERA of 1.39 for the Commodores who reached the WPIAL finals for a third straight year. The unique thing for Frazier is it finished second in the section and district playoffs, yet was golden in winning a first state crown.
COY: Bob Arnold, Vincentian Academy
Once a softball power with three straight WPIAL titles from 2008-2010, the Royals had slipped to the basement with a 3-13 record in 2018. Vincentian turned it around big time with a section title and a 15-2 record this spring.
POY: Jade Renner, West Greene
The junior pitcher was a standout at the plate with a .506 average and 37 RBI as well as in the circle where she won 20 games and had a 1.68 ERA. She also helped her senior teammates win their fourth straight WPIAL championship.
COY: Anthony Pototo, Springdale
Another team that benefitted from moving down in class. In 2018, the Dynamos won only one game in Class 2A. This spring, Springdale was a force in finishing second behind Leechburg in Section 3 with a final record of 13-4.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.