Plum slow-pitch softball chasing another WPISL championship
By: Michael Love
Saturday, October 6, 2018 | 10:36 PM
The Plum slow-pitch softball team won all 17 of its games last year and captured its second Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Softball League championship in three years.
The Mustangs have their sights set on another title this fall, and the senior-laden group has not slowed down in its quest.
“This team is not a team who likes to lose, at all,” senior co-captain Allison Blackwell said.
“We welcome being the hunted. We love it, 100 percent. It puts a target on your back, and you want to prove you are still good and still the top team. There are some great teams in this league, and we know we have to bring our best game each time.”
Plum stood at 8-0 after a doubleheader sweep of Mt. Lebanon on Oct. 2. The team, with 10 seniors on its 11-player roster, was to celebrate senior day Sunday with a doubleheader against perennial league power Montour.
The Plum seniors, in addition to Blackwell, are Skyler Bisceglia, Alyson Bryner, Cheyanne Burris, Angela Dawson, Jessica Frew, Deanna Pernice, Chloey Pilston, Alexa Seigh and Bailey Weber.
The games with Montour were to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition.
Montour won the league championship in 2013, ’14 and ’16, and the ’16 squad was the first to go undefeated through the regular season and playoffs since the league formed in ’06.
Plum, which defeated Montour to capture the 2015 title, upended Mt. Lebanon in last year’s championship game and became the third WPISL team to win two titles.
Seigh and Pernice experienced both championships. They were members of the team as freshmen in 2015.
“Last year was an amazing feeling, going coast to coast undefeated,” Plum coach Eric Seigh said. “It wasn’t a short sprint. It was a long journey that started in the offseason and with preseason workouts in August. The girls just never had a bad day.”
This year’s Plum team scored 113 runs through eight games, an average of 14.1 runs a contest.
“We all want to contribute and be a factor in our success,” said Alexa Seigh, a co-captain with Blackwell.
“We have a dominant defense, so we all know we need to pick it up on offense, too. The thing about a good lineup is that one person might not be hitting well, but there always is someone there to pick them up.”
Coach Seigh said Plum is not a power-hitting team that can stack up against others that hit the long ball.
“These kids have known for a long time that we don’t have that size,” he said. “They’ve learned to become line-drive hitters. We go one through 11 in the lineup, and I feel there are no weaknesses. I can count on all 11 to produce.”
Despite having 10 seniors out of 11 total on the roster — Delanee White, a junior, will be the only returning player next year — the mood already is one of reloading, not rebuilding.
Plum is the only program in the league with two junior varsity teams. Plum Gold was 4-3 through Oct. 1, and Plum Purple compiled a 4-2 mark in league play.
“There’s a lot of kids ready to fill those roles next year,” coach Seigh said. “We’re excited to see the talent spread out over the two JV teams. It’s never too early to think about the future teams in order to keep the success going.”
Plum also established a junior high program last year, and opportunities to play also exist throughout the borough’s youth organization.
“Baseball and softball in Plum, it’s kind of a hotbed for both,” coach Seigh said.
“We have a very strong (Plum Baseball and Softball Association), and they’re playing slow-pitch from a young age. There is just a strong commitment from the players and their families. The girls saw a lot of talented players and teams growing up, and they wanted to find that success, too.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at email@example.com or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.