Penn Hills sophomore Sipple helps Nitro 14U softball capture World Series title

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Sunday, August 1, 2021 | 9:08 AM


Sub-optimal results in pool play didn’t change Lauren Sipple’s feelings about the Nitro 14U softball team winning a tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

A 1-3 record wasn’t ideal, but the elimination round was a chance to start fresh.

“I still thought we had the ability to win it,” said Sipple, who is a sophomore at Penn Hills. “We had to step up our game more, which is what we did.”

The Nitro team won the Gold Division of the North American All Sanctioned World Series, reeling off five games against teams from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. It ended a marathon stretch of games for the team.

“The tournament play was brutal,” Nitro coach Eric Zubovic said. “Once you get into bracket play, it’s single elimination, and we ended up playing six games in 12 hours. It was game after game with a 15- or 20-minute break. It was 95 degrees, and we were determined not to give up.”

Sipple, who hit her first home run with the team during the tournament, hit .375 during the event.

Sipple, who was named honorable mentioned all-section by the Big 56 as a catcher last spring for the Indians, played multiple positions for the Nitro team.

“She’s an extremely athletic young lady that understands the game,” Zubovic said. “She’s a quiet competitor that won’t quit.”

Being able to showcase her versatility was something Sipple enjoyed about the summer season. There wasn’t a spot on the field she felt uncomfortable trying.

“I enjoy it,” Sipple said. “I like being able to play every position. I liked being where they need me.”

Zubovic believes Sipple is on the right track to keep approving.

Her next hurdle to get over will be improving the mental aspect of the game.

“She just needs to believe in herself,” Zubovic said. “She doesn’t believe in herself as much as I do. She’s always doubting her ability. As her confidence grows you’ll see her continue to get better.”

Sipple’s teammates never lost their confidence.

That allowed the Nitro to turn things around to win the title.

“I think we had the motivation,” Sipple said. “It is our last tournament, and it was the world series and we had to keep going. It was my favorite team I’ve ever played on. Everybody has their spot on the team.”

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