Knoch’s Amanda Fischer named Valley News Dispatch Softball Player of the Year
Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 9:56 PM
2019 Valley News Dispatch Softball All-Stars
Player of the Year
Amanda Fischer, Junior, Pitcher, Knoch
Amanda Fischer was one of the WPIAL’s top pitchers this spring.
It’s no coincidence her Knoch Knights were one of the district’s top softball teams.
The junior right-hander was 13-3 with a 1.73 ERA and 106 strikeouts against just nine walks.
Her consistent performance in the circle and at the plate — she hit .366 with 21 RBIs and two home runs — helped orchestrate an undefeated Section 3 title and the No. 3 seed in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.
Bolstered by a potent lineup, the Knights (18-3) went on to finish third in the WPIAL and reached the PIAA playoffs, where they lost to Grove City, 4-0, in the opening round.
Knoch won 13 straight games during one of the best seasons in program history.
For her efforts, Fischer is the Valley News Dispatch’s Softball Player of the Year, edging last year’s honoree, Freeport’s Ally DeJidas, and Leechburg’s Emma Ritchie for the honor.
After having some time to reflect, what are your overall thoughts about the season?
I think it was a great season, very historic for us. I think we realized the potential we had after the big win over Ambridge in the season opener. We had a great season. We always picked each other up. And the chemistry with the team was really what got us where we went.
What was your highlight of the season?
Probably when I reached 100 strikeouts for the season. That was my biggest goal for the season. When I reached it, I was really happy.
What was the key to the long winning streak?
We kept the bats alive. We were able to hit no matter who we faced. If we were down, we were able to come back up.
What are your expectations for next season with so many players returning?
We need to go in confident but also can’t be too cocky. I think we’ll have a good run next year, as well. But we need to know we have a target on our backs now, and we need to play just as well.
How many pitches do you throw?
I have five pitches: fast, change, drop, screw and curve.
Which is your best?
Definitely my curve. It’s my go-to pitch.
Who was the toughest-hitting team you faced this season?
Elizabeth Forward was the toughest.
Do you have a nickname?
Because of my last name, it’s King Fish and Fish Stick.
What’s your favorite account to follow on Twitter?
NCAA softball (@NCAAsoftball).
Who were you rooting for in the College World Series?
Alabama. I have family down there, so I like keep up with them. They are my go-to for any sport really.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
What type of activities do you like outside of softball?
I like to draw. It gets me in trouble sometimes because it’s in all my school notebooks.
BURRELL, SR., CATCHER
A veteran presence on defense and at the plate for the Section 1-3A champion Bucs, the Gannon commit clubbed nine home runs, knocked in a team-best 33 runs and finished with a .524 average (22 of 42) and a .630 on-base percentage.
FREEPORT, SR., OUTFIELD
The Mercyhurst commit was dominant at the plate for the playoff-qualifying Yellowjackets. In 14 games, DeJidas batted .591 (26 of 44) with seven doubles, three triples and five home runs. She knocked in 19 runs and scored a team-best 29.
PLUM, SR., CATCHER
The Northwest Florida State commit fueled the Mustangs’ drive to a Section 2-5A co-championship and the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL playoffs. She led the team with a .534 batting average (31 of 58) and produced eight doubles, a pair of home runs and a team-best 34 RBIs.
KNOCH, SR., SHORTSTOP
The Saint Vincent commit was a big reason the Knights went undefeated in Section 3-4A, finished third in the WPIAL playoffs and earned a trip to states. Gourley, often in the leadoff spot in the batting order, hit .602 with 33 runs and 15 RBIs. She tripled and drove in two runs in the Class 4A third-place victory over Thomas Jefferson.
PLUM, JR., SHORTSTOP
The Towson recruit was a steady force on defense and at the plate for the Mustangs. The veteran infielder batted .453 (29 of 64) and knocked in 25 runs and scored 25 runs for a Plum team that averaged 9.9 runs. Lake also delivered 10 extra-base hits.
KNOCH, SR., FIRST BASE
Her home run in the WPIAL third-place game against Thomas Jefferson gave the Knights extra breathing room in what turned out to be a 7-2 victory. Luffy, who will continue playing at Division III Marywood, finished with a .424 average, knocked in 35 runs, scored 23 and collected nine doubles and four home runs.
LEECHBURG, SO., SHORTSTOP
The Blue Devils reached the WPIAL playoffs for the 33rd straight season — a WPIAL record — and Pierce was a big reason why in her second season as a starter. She batted .468 with 23 RBIs and a team-best 33 runs scored. Her .566 on-base percentage and .903 slugging also led the team as she collected 12 doubles, three triples and three home runs.
FREEPORT, JR., PITCHER/THIRD BASE
After recovering from an ACL injury suffered last August, Radvan made the most of her return to competition. She finished with a .644 average (29 for 45), tallied seven home runs and nine doubles and drove in a team-high 29 runs. In the pitching circle, she went 8-3 in 12 starts and struck out 72 in 61 innings.
LEECHBURG, SO., PITCHER
Ritchie was double trouble for opponents. She compiled a 17-3 record and a 2.54 ERA with 125 strikeouts over 107 2/3 innings. At the plate, Ritchie batted .429 with 29 RBIs and collected seven doubles as Leechburg made it to the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2009.
BURRELL, SR., SECOND BASE
The Pitt-Greensburg commit was a force in the leadoff spot in the lineup and a stalwart at second base for the Bucs. She delivered a .526 average (30 of 57) with 23 RBIs, four home runs and a team-best eight doubles. Santucci also tied for the team lead with 25 runs.
SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS
Alyssa Cappa, Riverview, Sr., P
Maura Cerra, Deer Lakes, Jr., 2B
Molly Charlton, Apollo-Ridge, Sr., P
Jillian Durst, Plum, So. OF
Cara Fiore, Burrell, Sr., OF
Alexis Hrivnak, Springdale, Fr., P
Kristen Knapp, Leechburg, Sr., C
Hannah Mass, Deer Lakes, So., 3B
Bailey Rickenbrode, Knoch, So., 3B
Emily Schmidt, Freeport, So., SS
Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.