Senior softball players enjoy relaxed atmosphere of inaugural all-star game

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | 10:15 PM


Temperatures hovered in the mid 80s under a setting sun as Team Gold and Team Black gathered Tuesday evening for a celebration of the 2024 WPIAL softball season.

Many of the region’s best senior players tested their skill in the inaugural Western PA Softball All-Star Game, a relaxed and fun atmosphere after the pressure and rigors of the season had concluded.

Abby DeJidas, a force in the leadoff spot and at shortstop for WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinalist Freeport, was excited to take the field one last time in her Yellowjackets jersey.

“I am very honored to have been selected to play in this game,” said DeJidas, a teammate Tuesday evening with Greensburg Central Catholic’s Gracie Kindel and Belle Vernon’s Grace Sokol, also teammates together on the Pittsburgh Passion club team.

“I wouldn’t be here without my teammates and coaches who helped me get to where I am. It is really cool to play one more game with (Freeport’s) Sydney (Selker). I met a lot of great girls, and we were able to share stories about our season. There is so much amazing talent on this field.”

DeJidas didn’t start the game for Team Gold, but she was in there at shortstop in the top of the second.

Team Black won 7-4.

The rules were relaxed for the game compared to a regular-season or playoff contest.

Officials and coaches did what they could to get every player into their position on defense and at least one at-bat. The game began with the hopes of getting in seven, eight or nine innings in the books.

In all, players from Armstrong, Norwin, Bethel Park, Southmoreland, Laurel, South Allegheny, Penn Hills, Mars, Fox Chapel, Shaler, Kiski Area, Chartiers Valley, North Hills, and Yough represented Team Black.

Team Gold featured players from Indiana, Serra Catholic, Latrobe, Butler, Freeport, Indiana, Neshannock, Avonworth, Belle Vernon, Chartiers Valley, Mohawk, Freedom, Woodland Hills, Greensburg Central Catholic, Mt. Pleasant, Highlands, and Western Beaver.

“It’s nice to put on the uniform one more time, play with my travel ball girls, play with and against girls who I’ve played against for so long and play against some girls who I’ve never even seen before,” said Sokol, a Lackawanna College commit who started the game at first base for Team Gold. “It was fun to meet new people.”

“There are a lot of players out here, you might just know the name, but then you are able to put a face to the name and see what they were able to do for their team all season,” said Kindel, a Kutztown University commit.

Serra Catholic pitcher Madison Zigarovich kicked off the game facing Norwin pitcher Brookelyn Kotch. Zigarovich got the better of Kotch, forcing her to pop-out to Chartiers Valley’s Caitlyn O’Farrell.

Team Gold retired Team Black in order in the top of the first, and the game was off to a strong start.

Zigarovich then made history in the bottom of the first as she recorded the game’s first base hit, a single off of Armstrong’s Madison Baker.

Mohawk outfielder Mya McGreal scored the game’s first run. Courtesy running for Zigarovich, McGreal made it to third and scored on a wild pitch to give Team Gold a 1-0 lead.

Indiana catcher Hailey Hamilton made it 2-0 in the bottom of the second by crushing a Kotch offering over the fence in left-center field.

Team Black got on the board in the top of the third as North Hills outfielder Savannah Bodnar singled home Bethel Park outfielder Belinda Bova to cut the Team Gold lead to 2-1.

Team Gold made it 3-1 in the bottom of the third as a ground out to second by Mohawk shortstop Aricka Young brought home O’Farrell. The advantage grew to 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth as Woodland Hills outfielder Jazalyn Sanders, a Mercyhurst commit, homered to right.

Team Black struck in the top of the fifth as Laurel pitcher Autumn Boyd, as she did many times throughout the season for the Class 2A state semifinalist Spartans, delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to cut her team’s deficit to 4-3.

Kotch then singled home a pair of runs to put Team Black in the lead at 5-4.

Team Black scored a pair in the top of the seventh to extend its lead as Shaler third baseman Bella Mubel drove in a run with a single, and Laurel’s Alexis Brua scored on a wild pitch.

Sanders (offense) and Zigarovich (defense) were named Team Gold Most Valuable players, and Kotch and Boyd shared MVP honors for Team Black.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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