Plum slowpitch softball excited for future

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Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 11:01 AM


The Plum slowpitch softball team was unable to solve second-seeded Seneca Valley in a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Softball League quarterfinal Oct. 24 at Mt. Lebanon.

The Mustangs reached that point with a first-round victory over West Allegheny, but the Raiders ended Plum’s season with a 15-5 win.

“We had a really good week of practices heading into the playoffs,” Plum coach Eric Seigh said. “For all the inconsistencies we worked through during the season, splitting a lot of the doubleheaders we had, we played as well as we could’ve played (in the playoffs). We didn’t make many mistakes in the field. We ran the base paths aggressively, and we hit the ball hard. In the end, we just got beat by a better team in Seneca Valley.

“Seneca Valley has a lot of seniors and is very talented. We also saw them in the first week of the season. We lost both, but they were very close. Seneca, top to bottom, just has a good-hitting lineup.”

Seneca Valley went on to defeat No. 3 Bethel Park in the semifinals before losing to No. 5 North Allegheny, 21-10, in the championship game.

“There were a lot of close, exciting playoff games,” Seigh said.

Plum, with just five seniors, finished the regular season 7-7 and earned the No. 7 seed for the playoffs.

Against West Allegheny, Plum took an early lead but the Indians made it interesting going into the fifth inning.

That’s when Plum freshman Carena Dapra delivered one of the biggest hits of the season.

Her three-run home run broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Mustangs the lead for good.

Senior Gabbi Walkup had two hits and three RBIs, and classmate Megan Franzi added two hits and an RBI.

Junior Cassidy Starr and seniors Emily Zangrilli and Cassie Wiles also drove in runs against West Allegheny. Wiles was the winning pitcher.

Seigh said he and his players were glad the season took place with all of the coronavirus uncertainty in sports throughout the summer months.

“I think it took the girls some extra time to find themselves as a team,” Seigh said. “That was probably the case for a lot of the teams. We were able to beat the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 playoff seeds — Bethel Park, North Hills and North Allegheny — in the regular season, but we couldn’t beat them twice. It came down to consistency. We told the girls they had the talent, but it was just putting it all together for each game.”

Seigh said it is tough to say goodbye to the five seniors: Franzi, Walkup, Zangrilli, Wiles and Alexis Beiter.

“My first year as head coach of the program, these seniors were a part of the first group of freshmen,” Seigh said.

“When they were freshmen, the class was twice as large as it is today. These are the five girls who stuck through it all four years. They were here when the varsity team was going undefeated, and they were paying their dues. Some made contributions as sophomores and juniors, but they really had to be patient with other talented players ahead of them. They really showed strong leadership throughout the season for the rest of the varsity team and the 34 total players in the program.”

Seigh said he is excited to see what next season will bring with the return of the 15 juniors and other underclassmen.

“These girls understand the tradition that has been established in the program, and they want to work hard to keep it going,” Seigh said.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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