Kiski Area softball hungry for bounce-back season

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Friday, March 13, 2020 | 6:24 PM


Last season didn’t go as expected for the Kiski Area softball team, which battled a lot of adversity along the way.

The Cavaliers lost their starting pitcher, Megan Andree, at the beginning of the season and other injuries hampered their ability to be successful. The end result was a disappointing 2-13 record and a last-place finish in Section 1-5A.

The Cavaliers have put last season behind them and are hungry for a bounce-back season.

“That was something that we definitely had to work through last year, but I think it definitely made us stronger,” senior Courtney Moyer said. “I think it brought us together, knowing that if someone goes, we all have each other’s back.”

“I think we’re all ready to redeem ourselves from last year,” senior Brook Bires added.

It could’ve been seen as somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Cavaliers, who are just two years removed from an 11-7 season and only had two seniors.

This year, they return a majority of their roster and also head into the season under new coach Dee Cortazzo.

Cortazzo was the head coach at Jeannette for 15 years but has spent the past four years as an assistant coach at Kiski Area under former coach Maggie Nicholas. She said most things won’t change and the Cavaliers are hoping to continue what Nicholas created.

“I’m keeping her program. She had something going here that she had started from the ground up, and we just want to build on that,” Cortazzo said. “She set the foundation, and that’s what we’re going to continue.”

While the Cavaliers look to establish themselves once again, they’ll have to do so by playing in one of the toughest sections in the WPIAL. Of the seven other teams on their section schedule, four made the WPIAL quarterfinals last year and three advanced to the semifinals.

The Cavaliers believe that playing against that type of competition will only help them. If they can compete with the top teams during the regular season, they can do it down the road as well.

“It makes us stronger mentally,” Bires said. “We know we’re gonna play tough teams. We just have to persevere and keep working hard.”

Cortazzo said junior Kasandra Cessna will enter the season as the team’s No. 1 pitcher, but freshman Hannah Simpson could see time in the circle as well.

Cortazzo said her lineup is full of a bunch of hitters who have the ability to put the ball in play.

“I think our defense will be solid, and with our offense, we can hit. We just have to find the confidence,” Cortazzo said. “I think we’re pretty well rounded. We just gotta jell a little bit.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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