Penn Hills softball looking forward to enjoying home-field advantage

Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Penn Hills softball coach Ashley Banner and the Indians softball team are grateful for the school district’s maintenance staff.

Thanks to the staff putting plenty of long hours between the end of softball season last year and this March, Penn Hills was able to prepare a softball field for the team at Linton Middle School. The team had previously played at Milltown Community Park, which is shared with youth organizations.

Penn Hills played one scrimmage without a fence, but the benches and fence were in place for the start of the regular season.

“It was originally supposed to be ready for last season, but the weather didn’t cooperate,” Banner said. “The girls are excited to have their own field.”

The Indians have opened this season with renewed confidence following a bounce-back season last year. While Penn Hills finished 5-9 overall, the Indians nearly made their first WPIAL playoff appearance since 2007.

Penn Hills opened this season by beating Gateway and Woodland Hills by a combined margin of 42-5. During the first two games, the Indians batted .491 as a team.

Banner knows that the section schedule likely won’t bear out too many results like the first two games. Penn Hills will play its first home game on the new field when it opens section play April 3 against Oakland Catholic.

The Indians will also have to fend off Fox Chapel, North Hills, Plum and Shaler to try to make the playoffs.

“We want to keep the conversations the same for every game,” Banner said. “We want to be consistent and keep the same focus.”

The Indians have plenty of experience returning from last season. Maura Wade and Isabella DeCarlo, who have eight and six strikeouts so far, respectively, return in the circle.

Lauren Sipple returns behind the plate and can also play at shortstop. Cassidy Burkovich will also be counted on to play at catcher.

With Penn Hills getting off a fast start, the Indians have built some confidence. Now Penn Hills will need to continue building if it hopes to find a way back into the WPIAL playoff stage.

“We’ve preached attitude and effort,” Banner said. “We feel that we work well together as a team.”


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