Immediate future looks bright for GCC softball

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Monday, March 22, 2021 | 4:53 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic softball has been a slow build since coach Mike Gaffney took over six years ago.

There always were talented players, but Gaffney had to play them at varying positions on the field, many times in spots that didn’t quite suit them. It all was out of necessity.

Pitcher was the spot that facilitated the mishmash on the lineup card.

But with that spot secure with a travel-ball arm, other players can find comfort around the diamond.

“We have some softball players now. So we can move girls back to where they should be,” Gaffney said. “Having an actual pitcher is going to be huge for us and allow us to do more. We’ll be able to have girls play their natural positions. We have some softball girls who know the game.”

Sophomore Emma Henry takes over in the circle. She was set to debut last season before the pandemic canceled spring sports in the state.

Previously, Jaden Cox was the pitcher, but now the senior can move to third base, while freshman Makenzee Kenney can take over at first, junior Natalie Ward can play second and senior Laurin Sukay can take root in the outfield.

Cox should be one of the top hitters. Kenney also could see time as a pitcher.

An influx of young talent has things looking up for GCC. There are only two seniors on the team.

With a year away to ponder what was ahead, the potentially strong roster had players’ curiosity. Now, it has their attention.

A solid performance in a scrimmage against Apollo-Ridge last week was promising.

“We have a lot of potential,” Henry said. “We can be a good team if everyone wants it. We have everyone in their best positions now and everyone has a bat.”

Junior Bailey Kuhns, a basketball standout, will be a valued contributor in center field. The long-legged Kuhns also should deliver RBIs in the middle of the lineup with Henry. She also can play middle infield if necessary.

“She covers so much ground with her speed,” Gaffney said. “She used to be a pretty good travel player. She said the other day she wondered why she stopped playing (softball).”

GCC went 9-8 in 2019 for its first winning season since ‘15, the last year it won a playoff game.

“We get to the playoffs, but we’re always one-and-done,” Gaffney said. “This year, we might be able to do a little more, coming out of our section. We have to limit mistakes and keep walks down. We’ll make errors. Every team will, but we have to make sure the routine plays are made.”

The Centurions slide into a section that will wear on the bus tires. Section 2 also has Avella, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen and West Greene: the four-time defending WPIAL champion.

“We have been able to score a lot of runs (in the past),” Gaffney said. “But we gave a lot up. Those runs should come down now.”

Sophomore Isabella Marquez will do the catching, while other players looking to make an impact include freshman Grace Kindel (IF/OF), junior Marcia Amendola (utility), sophomore Sara Blahovec (OF), and juniors Laura Kondas (OF) and Riana Booher (OF).

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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