Latrobe softball pitchers prove to be worthy replacements

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | 8:37 PM


Latrobe has done just fine without Jordan Tallman, thank you.

Don’t get the wrong idea.

The Wildcats miss their senior ace and can’t wait to get her back in the circle. But they have done more than provide a stopgap with a pair of underclassmen arms.

Tallman injured the wrist of her throwing arm against Penn-Trafford on April 20 when she was hit with a line drive. She still is waiting to be game ready but has enjoyed watching freshman Kayla Williams and sophomore Josie Straigis in her place.

Tallman is training to be a pilot. Her replacements were waiting in the wings.

Latrobe (9-3, 8-1) has not lost since the injury to Tallman, going 6-0 and securing a playoff spot out of Section 2-5A.

“I honestly couldn’t be prouder of my team,” said Tallman, who admitted she expected to be back sooner — bruised nerves in her wrist are taking their time to heal. “Of course it’s difficult being on the sidelines, but watching their success has been incredible, and I have been there cheering them on the whole time. I am especially proud of my fellow pitchers.”

Williams grabbed headlines last Thursday when she threw two no-hitters on the same day as the Wildcats swept a doubleheader from visiting Gateway.

She struck out 24 — 12 in each game — as Latrobe won 7-0 and 12-1 (five innings).

“I was really focusing on my spin pitches and my spots for each pitch,” Williams said. “My defense was solid and made all the plays. With Jordan out, all I can do as a pitcher is hit my spots, and if the batters hit the ball, I know I have a defense behind me that can get outs and make plays. So far, I think Josie and I have been handling the situation pretty well.”

The no-hitters impressed sophomore teammate Emma Blair.

“Kayla is a very talented pitcher, and so I knew that she was capable of throwing that good,” Blair said. “I think that Josie and Kayla have been doing extremely well recently by not letting any pressure get to them and being able to keep us in close games. It’s nice to be able to lean on them while Jordan is not able to pitch.”

Williams and Straigis both are 3-0. Williams allowed three hits and struck out four in a 5-4 win over Connellsville that saw senior Lauren Bisignani deliver a walk-off homer in the seventh.

“We have a couple younger girls who we think can come in and do the job,” Latrobe coach Bob Kovalcin said after Tallman was injured. “We think we’ll be OK.”

When the Wildcats avenged a loss to Penn-Trafford, Straigis not only picked up the win but also homered in a 15-8 victory.

“Both Kayla and Josie have had so much success,” Tallman said. “It has been such a blessing to have two amazing and talented girls to be on a pitching staff with.”

Tallman said Williams’ fast development should not come as a surprise.

“Kayla betters herself every day in practice and pushes herself to be the best,” Tallman said. “I truly pity any team or coach who underestimates her based on her age. That really goes for both of them actually.”

I think we saw with her two no-hitters that she is absolutely a threat when she’s on the mound.”

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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