North Hills softball to miss senior leadership

Thursday, May 17, 2018 | 11:00 PM

After months and months of grinding it out and putting in the effort on the softball diamond, it was one tough inning that ended up doing in North Hills' season.

The No. 12 Indians' WPIAL Class 6A first-round playoff matchup against No. 5 Norwin began with two scoreless frames before the Knights busted the game open thanks to Alex Brentzel's grand slam that kicked off a seven-run third inning.

Norwin (11-6) tacked on another run in the fifth as North Hillls (5-10) attempted to battle back. Leslie Rozanski ended up clearing the fence with a two-run home run in the seventh for the Indians, but that was all the team could muster before their season came to an end after an 8-2 loss.

“It was definitely one rough inning that did us in. We had an error that hurt us, then Norwin loaded the bases. I was confident in Anna McNickle, our pitcher, she handles those moments so well. She handled the at-bat well; the hitter just took a pitch that wasn't a great pitch and she struck it well,” North Hills softball coach Libby Gasior said.

“Norwin was ready to play and they came with a lot of effort. Our kids did, too. We got a lot of contact on the ball. Unfortunately, it was just finding mitts out there.”

While it may not have been the end to the season the Indians were hoping for, the playoff loss does little to diminish the tireless work and positive improvement the players continued to show throughout the season, according to Gasior.

It took role players stepping up into starting positions, and some players swapping their defensive alignments, in order for the Indians to replace valuable contributors from the season before who graduated. And in many scenarios, it was the leadership of seniors Madison Posterivo, Anna McNickle and Lauren Rebel that helped guide the way.

“We really had to replace key positions and figure out our identity coming into this year. I was really, really happy with the way that a lot of our kids stepped up and succeeded in different spots. It was really encouraging, and I hope it's a sign of things that will continue,” Gasior said.

“Our seniors were tremendous. They were all four-year letter winners and they came in at a time when they had some talent ahead of them, but they found a way to contribute in a big way for four straight years. It's been great coaching those kids.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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