Mt. Pleasant’s Alincic named Westmoreland Tribune-Review Softball Player of the Year

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Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 9:34 PM


2019 Tribune-Review Westmoreland Softball All-Stars

Player of the Year

Carolyn Alincic, Senior, Pitcher, Mt. Pleasant

Pitchers come and go in prep softball, and they approach hitters with differing styles.

Some work to induce groundouts and fly balls. Others dabble with curve balls and changeups to catch batters off balance.

Carolyn Alincic wound and delivered, time and again, with pure, unfiltered heat.

Catch her if you can.

The senior from Mt. Pleasant once again was one of the top glove-popping aces in the WPIAL, hardwired in the circle for the Vikings, who went 19-2 and reached the WPIAL Class 4A title game and PIAA semifinals for the second straight time.

For her efforts, she is the Tribune-Review Westmoreland Softball Player of the Year.

Penn-Trafford’s Brooke Cleland and Hempfield’s Emma Hoffner and Laura Fox also were considered.

“Carolyn has been a big part of the Mt. Pleasant softball program,” Vikings coach Chris Brunson said. “She is the type of player that when you have a strong team she can help put you into another category. She embraced the leadership role as a senior and led by example.”

Alincic, a Morehead State commit, had more than a fastball. Her rise ball also was turbo quick.

But her speed pitches are what helped her produce a 15-1 record and 1.16 ERA. She had 209 strikeouts and 25 walks in 121 innings and allowed 75 hits and 26 runs.

A third-year starter, she had 10 or more strikeouts 13 times this season, including 20 against WPIAL Class 5A champion Connellsville, 18 against section rival Yough and 16 in a no-hitter against Highlands.

Alincic, who overcame a scary vehicle accident and accompanying injuries last November, was a chiseled veteran by the time she stepped on the rubber this season. She was the winning pitcher as a sophomore in the 2017 PIAA championship and finished her career with a 36-5 record and 396 strikeouts.

She had some help this year from sophomore Mary Smithnosky, her heir apparent who assured Alincic would not have to throw every single pitch — until the playoffs, of course.

You were part of WPIAL and PIAA championship teams during your career. Do you feel satisfied with what you accomplished at Mt. Pleasant?

I’m extremely satisfied with everything I’ve done with Mt. Pleasant softball. There aren’t many athletes that can say they’ve done a lot of the things I’ve done.

How do you want fans to remember you?

I really hope fans remember me as the pitcher that throws hard but has funny facial expressions when she pitches.

Having pitched for so long, do you see yourself as one of those “face of the program” type players? Who do you see stepping in next season to replace you?

I definitely see myself as a face-of-the-program player, simply because I was around for some of the biggest moments in Mt. Pleasant softball history. I imagine Mary Smithnosky will be the one to step in and take over the team from here. She’s one of the most hard-working and talented players I know, so I know I’m leaving the team in good hands.

What was it like being the team’s only senior?

It didn’t really bother me. I tried my best to connect with all of the players as players rather than freshmen, sophomores and juniors, which really helped us build stronger relationships.

What pitch, moment and game would you love to have back the most?

I wish I could relive the day I committed to Morehead State. The whole situation was extremely stressful, and the entire process of having to decommit from Dominican really weighed on me. I can remember bawling in my room for days trying to decide where to go, because I felt so guilty for cheating my then-coach out of a player, but I didn’t want to pass up my dreams. I didn’t really get to enjoy and appreciate the moment the way I wish I would have.

Who was the best hitter you faced?

Annalia Paoli from Albert Gallatin. We played travel together once, so she kind of knew what to expect when it came to my pitching style and what most of my pitches did when it came to movement. So I had to work extra hard to find ways to pitch around her.

What is the fastest you’ve been clocked pitching?

George Mason supposedly clocked me at 68 mph at an early summer tournament. Sounds crazy, but it was on a rise-ball, which is significantly faster than all of my other pitches, and I was coming back from a cracked rib so I had a few weeks of rest.

Do you regret not having the chance to hit in a game?

Hitting is fun, but once I started pitching, I never really cared about batting. When I bat in travel, it’s always either a bomb or I strikeout, so I know that in high school, when games are do-or-die, our coaches need a batter in there that’s going to produce runs, and I just didn’t fit that. I knew my role on the team was to throw strikes, so I never got upset about the batting aspect of the game.

Do younger pitchers ask you for advice, and if so, what do you tell most of them and how does that make you feel?

Every once in a while I’ll have a girl (direct message) me or something on Instagram or talk to me at my lessons. I tell them exactly what Jana (Hudson) told me when I started pitching with her: 1. Hammer your spots; 2. You do not need movement pitches when you’re in middle school; 3. If you’re not having fun, then it’s not worth it. I get teary-eyed every single time the younger girls even talk to me because I remember what it felt like to look up to the older girls when I was their age.

What will you remember most about your senior season?

I’ll miss playing for Chris Brunson the most. We have a very good relationship with one another. He was able to put full faith in me. I was able to put full faith in him, and he really acted like a second father figure to me.

What was it like for your team to be ranked nationally by MaxPreps?

It still doesn’t feel real. We we’re ranked among and above some amazing teams from the west, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

What were your senior superlatives?

Most senioritis, most likely to be late to graduation and life of the party. I was 20 minutes late to graduation.

What are you most looking forward to at Morehead State?

I’m so excited to play for Coach (Samantha) Jones. She was an extremely talented player at the University of Kentucky, and she really creates deep, personal connections with all of her athletes. She’s currently rebuilding the softball program at Morehead State, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. And Addy Nicholson is my roommate, and she works at Dunkin Donuts, so hopefully she’ll share her employee discount with me.

You took an indirect path to Division I softball, but how rewarding is it to know you’re headed to a high-level program?

Less than 10 percent of all softball players go on to play at a D-I program, so it’s truly an honor to be where I am today, mostly because I didn’t think I had it in me to bounce back from everything that happened to me after my car accident. It’s incredible to see all of my hard work and sacrifices paying off.

Terrific 10

Emma Armstrong

Penn-Trafford, Sr., 1B

One of several offensive leaders for the PIAA Class 5A champion Warriors, the Hartford recruit hit .430 with seven doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBIs and 29 runs.

Haylie Brunson

Mt. Pleasant, So., 3B

The Division I prospect led the WPIAL Class 4A runner-up Vikings with four home runs while batting .338 with six doubles, a pair of triples, 15 RBIs and 14 runs.

Brooke Cleland

Penn-Trafford, So., OF

Cleland provided one big hit after another for the state champion Warriors. She batted .470 with an .892 slugging percentage, nine home runs, 30 RBIs, 26 runs and just two strikeouts in 91 at-bats.

Hailee Culberton

Norwin, Sr., SS

The first-team all-section selection was one of top shortstops in Class 6A. The Alderson Broaddus recruit helped lead the Knights to the WPIAL semifinals for a second straight season.

Laura Fox

Hempfield, Sr., OF

A team leader and key center fielder, she batted .471 with four home runs, 18 RBIs and 30 runs. The Pitt-Johnstown commit added three triples for the Spartans during their WPIAL five-peat.

Jane Garver

Ligonier Valley, Sr., P

The Robert Morris recruit led the Rams to the District 6 Class 3A semifinals. She hit .403 with six home runs and 32 RBIs, while going 15-2 with a 1.56 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 99 innings.

Emma Hoffner

Hempfield, So., C

One of WPIAL’s best catchers helped lead the Spartans to a fifth consecutive WPIAL championship and the PIAA semifinals. She batted a team-best .519 with 41 hits — 14 for extra bases — including 10 doubles and 27 RBIs.

Callie Sowers

Hempfield, So., P

She showed steady improvement from the start of the season until the playoffs, when she was at her best. Sowers finished 18-6 with 2.29 ERA with six shutouts. She struck out 121 and walked 45.

Kierra Waywood

Yough, Sr., P

The Cal (Pa.) recruit and fixture in the circle for the Cougars had a 12-7 record with a 0.79 ERA and 161 strikeouts against just 15 walks. She surrendered just 14 earned runs all season.

Second team

Bailee Bertani, Norwin, So., OF

Mallory Halleck, Franklin Regional, Sr., 1B

Katie Hutter, Mt. Pleasant, Fr., 2B

Faith Johnston, Jeannette, Jr., P

Lexie Klatt, Southmoreland, Sr., OF

Makayla Munchinski, Latrobe, Sr., C

Morgan Nedley, Penn-Trafford, Sr., SS

Victoria Shimko, Norwin, Jr., 3B

Bella Skatell, Greensburg Central Catholic, Sr., OF

Mary Smithnosky, Mt. Pleasant, So., OF

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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