South Hills notes: TJ softball off to solid start

Monday, April 16, 2018 | 7:36 PM

Notebook items from around the South Hills:

• Thomas Jefferson's softball team finally opened the season April 5 with a 7-1 win against visiting Connellsville, the defending Section 2-5A champion.

The Jaguars were led offensively by freshman center fielder Claire Whalen, who punched out a single and triple and collected three RBIs in her varsity debut.

“Claire is a fierce player but doesn't say too much,” TJ coach Heidi Karcher said. “At her last at-bat, the defense was playing her really tight and close. All I said to her was ‘assess the D, Claire;' she knew then to hit a hard slap over the infield and not soft slap. Her softball IQ on the bases is uncanny, never having to be told to take the extra base.”

Haleigh Karcher, a junior catcher and West Chester commit, also had two hits, while winning pitcher Bella Bucy clouted a two-run homer. Bucy, a left-handed sophomore hurler, struck out seven, walked four and allowed one unearned run against the Falcons.

Freshman designated player Lily Rockwell and junior infielder Sarah Thornton chipped in with a single apiece for TJ, which scored all seven runs late in the game.

Bucy and sophomore outfielder Abby Chalovich also are members of the 16U Gold Steel City Cyclones. Both are two-year starters for the Jaguars.

Chalovich batted .344 last season.

• How did the Baldwin softball team rebound from a season-opening 3-0 nonsection defeat at Ringgold?

The Highlanders exploded for 23 runs — albeit two weeks later — in a rousing 23-5 section victory at Upper St. Clair.

It is the most runs scored in one game by a Baldwin softball team in recent years.

Baldwin blanked Brashear, 22-0, last year, and defeated Upper St. Clair, 20-1, in 2015.

• Brentwod's softball team played its season opener at the latest date of the season in recent memory — April 10 — when it lost a 7-2 section decision to Serra Catholic.

Preseason drills commenced March 5, meaning the Spartans were in the gym or practice field for six weeks before finally being able to open the season.

In the past 15 years, Brentwood commenced its schedule in April only three other times — April 5, 2017, with a 16-0 win against Sto-Rox; April 2, 2013, with an 11-10 win against Charleroi; and April 5, 2004, with a 3-1 loss to Shady Side Academy.

The Spartans' earliest game in recent history was an 11-10 victory against Springdale on March 20, 2009.

• Senior leadership on the Baldwin boys tennis team is provided by the trio of Chad Kelley, Jacob Lombardi and Nick Regel.

Other team members consist of juniors Tom Ahlin and Mike Magnotti; sophomores Bill Brown, Remy Davic, Dan Mezhinsky, Ian Murphy and Dom Yeso; plus freshman prospect Hunter Kozlowski.

• The South Hills Classic track and field meet — scheduled April 7 at Baldwin Stadium — was postponed by inclement weather.

More than 1,000 athletes representing 23 teams were set to compete.

Discussions were being held for a possible makeup date for the classic.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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