North Hills wins slow pitch softball title

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Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 5:20 PM


The North Hills girls slow pitch softball team hoisted its first Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Softball League title after defeating Plum, 12-8, in the championship game at Tillbrook Field in Irwin last month.

The program has strived to win the title since its inception 13 years ago. In commendation of the Indians’ efforts, the North Hills school board recognized the team at its Nov. 7 meeting. For the team’s program administrator, Ed Vesely, the honor serves to cap off a milestone season that he’s envisioned ever since he helped found the team over a decade ago.

“Since its beginning, the one thing we’ve always emphasized is the word ‘program’, and it’s great to be recognized as such,” Vesely said. “We teach that to the girls from seventh grade on, and this was a team that really achieved this through every player’s contributions. I’m very proud of our coaches, I’m very proud of our program, and most importantly, I’m very proud of our players that have bought into that.

“They’ve worked hard to achieve a goal that we’ve been trying to accomplish for 13 years. And they did it together, as a team that succeeded off its depth.”

The Indians needed every last bit of their depth to defeat Plum in the title game. According to Vesely, the championship winners jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before relinquishing it in the sixth inning. From there, North Hills battled back and reclaimed the lead for good in the seventh and final frame.

Coach Ryan Bruner oversaw the group, which hit .581 collectively in the playoffs. Pitcher Ashley Katz led the team in hitting in both the regular season (.646 batting average) and in the playoffs (.818).

Alissa Manjack tallied the most extra base hits in the playoffs for the Indians.

Other contributors to the championship season include Lexi Bruner, Sofia Caloiero, Isabelle Cobaugh, Mina Farshchi, Hannah Gorrell, Isabella Hopf, Sydney Kirsch, Morgan McClurg, Nicole McKinney, Morgan Nolan and Kaelee Sheppard.

“Slow pitch is mostly about hitting, but our team performed well in what I consider to be all four facets of the game — pitching, defense, baserunning and offense. We hit with authority all year, both for average and for power,” Vesely said. “Our defense, especially our outfield, has tremendous speed, range and arm ability. Our pitching was phenomenal all year. It was a total team effort.”

Vesely also says that he hopes the championship experience encourages further participation in the program and helps the team and sport continue to grow and expand in the future.

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