Shaler softball expects tough early schedule to pay dividends

Sunday, March 26, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Tom Sorce didn’t want to see the Shaler softball team have a schedule full of guaranteed wins. The Titans softball coach asked the athletic director to give the team a nonsection slate full of games that would provide a test.

What Shaler got was a schedule full of opponents from Class 6A and fellow 5A foes.

“Last year, I don’t think we played as tough of a nonconference schedule as we needed to,” Sorce said. “I asked for some tougher nonsection games. (Shaler athletic director Clint Rauscher) accommodated us.”

So far, Shaler has passed the first few hurdles. The Titans opened the season by scoring wins over Knoch and North Allegheny. Shaler’s win over North Allegheny was a 14-4 victory in which Bethany Rodman hit three home runs.

Rodman, who is the Titans’ top pitcher, has been off to a blazing start in the circle and at the plate. She has seven hits in her first eight at-bats and has picked up both wins.

Source said he wasn’t surprised by Shaler’s hot start, even though the Titans are only returning two starters — Ellie Facher, a Kent State recruit, and Rodman — from last year’s team.

“It was expected,” Source said. “They’ve bought in and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Whether Shaler was tested enough last season or not, it didn’t prevent the Titans from finishing 16-4 overall and 7-3 in section. Shaler knocked off Franklin Regional in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs before bowing to Penn-Trafford.

This year’s Shaler team will benefit from having depth at pitching. In addition to Rodman, freshman Bria Bosilijevac will spend time in the circle. Every player settling into her role is something Shaler is the most concerned with.

“We have to learn how to win with only two starters back, and we are taking time to get through it,” Sorce said. “We have a long way to go.”

Shaler will also have a player behind the plate it can count on. Alyssa Scaffold has established herself as the catcher and also hits in the third spot in the lineup.

With several solid players in place, the Titans are ready to pursue a strong season in Class 5A. Shaler is in Section 1 along with Fox Chapel, North hills Oakland Catholic, Penn Hills and Plum.

Sorce is excited to see how the Titans navigate the schedule.

“I look at everybody the same way,” Sorce said. “It’s important to get kids playing experience. Kids tend to make games bigger than they are. We need to get them to be chilled and relaxed.”


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