Latrobe softball team rallies around new ace Tallman

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | 8:58 PM


Latrobe softball is running on battery power again, only the charge is coming from a slightly different pitcher-catcher combo than the Wildcats first envisioned.

Senior catcher Makayla Munchinski returned to anchor the defense, and the team knew she would provide a productive bat in the order. Sophomore Jordan Tallman, meanwhile, was expected to be the No. 2 pitcher behind ace fireballer Kiley Myers.

But when Myers abruptly left the team four games into her senior season, Tallman’s role changed quickly.

Now, it’s Tallman-Munchinski looking to mow down hitters and keep the Class 5A No. 2 Wildcats (5-0, 3-0) undefeated as they get used to an uber-competitive Section 1.

The duo is up for the challenge.

“They work well together,” Latrobe coach Rick Kozusko said. “Makayla is such a good leader. She knows how to bring the team together. She is great at framing pitches. And Jordan did a nice job for us last year so we knew she could be effective. We thought we could have a nice 1-2 (pitching pair), but we have to play with who is here.”

Tallman improved to 4-0 with a 3-2 victory against Albert Gallatin. She struck out 13 to bring her season total for Ks to 49 in 21 innings.

Myers, a Marist recruit, was 1-0 and had 15 Ks in seven innings.

“Kiley could really bring the straight pitches,” Kozusko said. “Jordan is really coming into her own.”

Munchinski, who has two of Latrobe’s six home runs, said the transition from Myers to Tallman has been smooth.

Latrobe has outscored opponents 37-5.

“Jordan’s movement is up there with Kiley’s,” said Munchinski, a Cal (Pa.) recruit who hit .396 as a junior. “It has not been too hard of an adjustment. Jordan has fun out there.”

Tallman, who deals a riseball and changeup to balance speed, did not mind moving into the No. 1 spot, even though she only appeared in the circle in three games last season.

“I had big shoes to fill,” Tallman said of Myers, who struck out 142 and posted a 0.93 ERA last year. “We all miss her. She was a big part of our team. Having (Munchinski) back there makes it a lot easier for me. Not only her, but the whole team. I know they have my back.”

Latrobe has finished WPIAL runner-up the past two years in Class 6A.

The team and fans are rallying around Munchinski’s father, Scott, who was diagnosed with leukemia. He is known in travel softball circles.

Makayla’s mother, Dana, is an assistant coach on the softball team.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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