South Hills notebook: Zang, Karcher shined at plate for Thomas Jefferson softball

Friday, June 28, 2019 | 6:36 PM

Notebook items from around the Thomas Jefferson campus:

• The final numbers are in.

The TJ softball team advanced to the WPIAL playoffs for the fourth year in a row and fifth time in six seasons this past season.

The Jaguars finished second in Section 2-4A, then advanced to the WPIAL semifinals and third-place consolation.

“We had a very good season record-wise,” coach Heidi Karcher said. “I was just hoping to go a bit farther in the postseason.”

The Jaguars hit .330 as a team with a .483 slugging percentage and .399 on-base percentage.

Third baseman Mackenzie Zang racked up .443 batting average, .705 slugging percentage and .486 on-base percentage.

Other leading hitters were catcher Haleigh Karcher (.382), shortstop Abby Chalovich (.339), first baseman Lily Rockwell (.333), second baseman Paige Truax (.321) and right fielder Graci Fairman (.316).

Zang and Karcher paced the squad in hits with 27 and 26, and tied for first with 18 singles and five doubles. Karcher drove in 28 runs, followed by Zang with 25. Zang also scored 24 times.

Chalovich led in runs with 25 and stolen bases with 13 (in 13 attempts). Truax had 12 stolen bases (in 12 attempts) and Fairman added 10 ( in 11 attempts).

As a team, the Jaguars stole 62 bases and were caught only four times.

“It was a rough season with injuries,” coach Karcher said. “We missed Alana (Cleary’s) bat in the lineup.”

The Jaguars have posted six straight winning seasons, compiling an 82-40 overall record. During that span, they have won a WPIAL championship, finished as a WPIAL runner-up, were a WPIAL semifinalist and quarterfinalist, and captured a section title.

Thomas Jefferson lineman Mac Duda, who counted all eight Ivy League schools among his offers, recently committed to Princeton.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rising senior earned all-Big Eight honors last season at offense tackle.

He listed nearly 30 college offers in all, including many Mid-American, Patriot and Ivy League schools.

• Former Pitt/TJ football standout Dom DeCicco is employed by the San Francisco 49ers as the organization’s West area scout.

DeCicco is in his second season with the 49ers and first as the team’s area scout. He spent the 2017 season as an assistant in the scouting department. In 2016, he interned during training camp through the Nunn-Wooten fellowship.

DeCicco graduated from Pitt with a degree in communications and a minor in computer science. A two-time all-Big East selection and team captain as a senior, DeCicco appeared in 48 games (36 starts) for the Panthers and finished with 244 career tackles and 12 interceptions.

DeCicco signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2011, where he spent two years as a reserve linebacker and special teams player, appearing in 20 games. He also did a stint with Tampa Bay before finishing his career with Minnesota in 2015.

DeCicco graduated from TJ in 2007. During his three-year varsity career, the Jaguars won two WPIAL titles, s PIAA championship, finished as a WPIAL runner-up and a PIAA semifinalist, and captured two conference crowns.

TJ logged a 39-5 overall record during DeCicco’s career, which included a 17-1 mark in conference play.

• Michael Ladick, TJ’s fourth-year wrestling coach, offered a unique description of Max Shaw’s personality as a two-sport standout.

Shaw, one of the top WPIAL athletes in football and wrestling last year, will continue his career on the mats at North Carolina, where he was scheduled to report June 20.

“Max’s personality is that of a professional poker player,” Ladick said. “Always play your cards close to your chest, never give information that isn’t paid for or necessary and always get all your money in when you have the best hand.

“To be honest, Max is like Sam Farha. Specifically, look up the High Stakes Poker video where Farha went against Jaimie Gold on YouTube, and you’ll see Max in every bit of how Sam plays the hand.”

• Three members of the TJ football program recently announced offers from FCS program Valparaiso.

Shane Stump (quarterback), Dan Deabner (wide receiver/defensive back) and James Martinis (tight end/linebacker) received offers from the Crusaders. They were the first Division I offers for the trio.

Valparaiso competes in the Pioneer Football League. The Crusaders went 2-9 last season, 2-6 in the conference.

• Stephanie Campano retired as Thomas Jefferson’s athletic secretary after a long and distinguished career.

• Thomas Jefferson’s girls track and field team finished second to Chartiers Valley in Section 7-AAA this past season.


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