Playoff win caps season of growth for Bishop Canevin softball

Saturday, May 29, 2021 | 11:01 AM

The Bishop Canevin softball team started the season losing four of its first five games.

The Crusaders then won four of the next five contests.

It was that kind of spring for the Crusaders, one in which everything balanced out, including their final record of 7-7.

“This season was a good season for us to build on,” Bishop Canevin coach Karen Seitz said. “We had a lot of freshmen and new players and had to juggle some positions around, and it took us a bit to find our footing. I asked the girls to be patient, that we’d be a much better team at the end of the year than at the beginning.”

Part of the slow start for Bishop Canevin was the domino effect of dealing with key injuries.

“We had a couple injuries at the beginning of the year to starters that were a factor,” Seitz said. “My catcher missed 2½ weeks. An outfielder missed two-plus months. We just got her back for the playoffs. I think that played into our slow start and good finish, that and the new players improving as the year went on and they got more experience.”

Some of those improving players include senior Bree Bazeck and juniors Bella DeMark and Alysha Cutri.

“DeMark batted over .600, had about 14 doubles and two home runs,” Seitz said. “She’s so good at everything. I had to put her at shortstop even though she’s a lefty. Bazeck had another solid season, batting over .300 and playing third base. And Cutri is a threat every time she’s up. She hit over .500 and also had two home runs. She had a good season on the mound.”

Despite the slow start, Bishop Canevin ended up finishing third in a tough Section 1-A thanks to a hot stretch in late April.

The Crusaders won four of five section games to climb into the race. They did so in dominating fashion, outscoring their opponents 62-0 in those four victories.

“South Side and Union are really good teams as you can see from both of them being in the (WPIAL semifinals),” Seitz said. “But it’s good to see that competition and know where we have to get to.”

The Crusaders qualified for the playoffs and were the No. 9 seed in the 12-team Class A brackets.

Bishop Canevin defeated Jefferson-Morgan in the first round, 8-3, to advance to the quarterfinals.

“The playoff game against Jefferson-Morgan is easily the highlight of the year,” Seitz said. “Definitely our most complete game, and you could see us building towards that.”

The Crusaders’ season ended the following week when they lost to top-seeded West Greene.

Seitz and her coaches are proud of how this season ended with the visible improvement and are excited to look forward to the 2021 campaign.

“As for next year, expectations are going to be higher, which is good,” she said. “The new girls got their feet wet, there’s a couple new freshmen coming in next year, and while Bree and Meadow (Lokaitis) will definitely be missed, the improvement from the younger girls should be even greater next year.

“We need to keep progressing and closing that gap between us and South Side and Union, and I definitely think we’re doing that.”


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