Penn Hills softball players earn postseason honors

Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Lauren Sipple didn’t anticipate having many nerves about if she would see the field for the Penn Hills softball team as a freshman.

The Indians had vacancies at several positions going into the season.

“I wasn’t nervous because I knew there weren’t a lot of people at Penn Hills who wanted to play,” Sipple said. “I was just focused on trying to get better going into the season.”

Sipple, who plays catcher, was selected as an honorable mention choice for the Big 56 All-Section softball team. She was one of two Indians players chosen, along with senior shortstop Irlynn Richardson.

Richardson, who was selected to the second team, will play next season at Lincoln (Pa.). She was also awarded Penn Hills’ Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award. That is given to the athlete who has the most varsity levels and highest GPA.

Penn Hills had to battle through adversity throughout the season. The Indians had several players miss time because of coronavirus protocol, and the start of their season was delayed by a week.

Once the season started, Penn Hills dropped its first four games before rallying with a 13-1 win over St. Joseph. The Indians finished the season 2-12 with an 0-12 mark in Section 1-5A.

Missing a week at the beginning of the season made getting everyone settled in a difficult task.

“We are being positive and focused on helping the girls learn the game,” Indians coach Rich Burkhart said following the win over St. Joseph. “Having five girls on the team who have never played softball is a struggle sometimes. We’re counting on the girls with more experience to step up and help those girls, too.”

Sipple, who plays travel softball, enjoyed having the opportunity to have teammates to play with other teammates who were adjusting to varsity.

Sipple recently had the winning hit for the Nitro 14U travel team at a tournament in Indiana. She said she enjoyed playing for the high school team and is looking forward to next season.

“We had a fun team,” Sipple said. “Everyone who was playing wanted to be there. Coach Rich was able to help everyone improve.”


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