North Hills pitcher Sophia Roncone picks up bat, becomes doubly dangerous

Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 2:36 PM

Sophia Roncone has been one of the most electric pitchers in WPIAL Class 5A softball for the last couple of years. This season, however, she gave opponents two reasons to worry about her.

Roncone went 10-2 in the circle during the regular season with 116 strikeouts and 48 walks. The Indians finished 15-3 and 8-2 in Section 3-5A, taking a share of the section title and earning the No. 4 seed in the WPIAL postseason.

“I’m not as happy as I was last year,” she said, reminiscing on North Hills’ run to the WPIAL title. “But I felt like I got stronger, game by game.”

She also picked up the bat, something she had not done much of at the high school level. The results? Roncone hit .343 in 33 at-bats and launched three home runs. This after getting no at-bats a year ago.

“She decided that she was going to be a home run hitter this year,” Indians coach Libby Gaisor joked. “She’s been doing a great job back there and it’s been a nice addition.”

“I kind of realized that I’m not going to hit next year at school, and (Gaisor) is letting me hit so I wanted to make the most of it and not really stress, just have fun,” Roncone added.

The senior is committed to play at Holy Cross and made the decision in November shortly after taking a visit to Worcester (Mass.) college.

“I just fell in love with the campus and the athletic facilities,” she said. “It was really the type of school that I had envisioned for a while. Everything just fell into place there.”

Holy Cross is under a new coach in Kimberly Stiles, a Pitt grad who informed Roncone that she will have the opportunity to contribute right away.

“That’s pretty exciting,” Roncone said.

Roncone has been playing softball for as long as she can remember and has known for some time that she wanted to play the sport collegiately.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing that,” she said. “It was cool to finally make that happen this fall.”

While the hitting and pitching numbers have been impressive, getting on the field was a challenge in 2022. Roncone was sidelined during the early stages of the season while fighting a virus.

“That was tough, plus with all of the weather cancellations, it was hard to get in a rhythm with playing,” she said. “Now that it got hotter, we’ve been playing more consistently.”

Away from the diamond, Roncone is active in charitable work at North Hills, including the Hands for Service Club, which raises money for Make-A-Wish and Children’s Hospital.

“We do a dance marathon where we have all the kids from the school come and raise money,” she said. “This year we were able to raise $18,000 for them through that.”

On the field, however, Roncone has been a multifaceted, stable force for the Indians. Beyond her hitting and pitching, she also takes pride in becoming a leader.

“Sophia is one of the more talented kids who has ever come through here,” Gaisor said. “But she’s far and away the most humble and hardworking. She’s a pleasure to coach.

“She has an even temperament and leads by example. The girls look up to her because you know you can count on Sophia.”

Gaisor has watched Roncone grow as a player and person, and Roncone has embraced the opportunity to set the bar for her teammates.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve tried to make the most of a situation,” she said. “If I wasn’t the starter, every time I got the opportunity, I’d try to go play as hard as I can.

“Now that I’m a starter, I’m still trying to go out there and play as hard as I can and be a role model for all the other people trying to earn a spot on the team.”


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