Southmoreland softball driven to succeed in state playoffs

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Saturday, June 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM


As the only senior on the Southmoreland softball team, second baseman Brynn Charnesky has a voice on the field, in the dugout and on drab bus rides home from championship game losses.

When she talks, the Scotties listen.

After a 5-1 loss to playoff nemesis Avonworth in the WPIAL Class 3A title game Thursday, Charnesky had a message for her teammates.

“We have to change our mindset and keep our heads up,” said Charnesky, who cradled the runner-up trophy as the team posed for a postgame photo. “If we give our all, we can keep the season going.”

Coaches will tell you want-to is the foundation of a state title run.

The Scotties (17-3) appear to have some as they get set to open the PIAA playoffs Monday against Chestnut Ridge (16-3), the District 5 champion.

It will be their second straight trip to the state postseason and third since 2018.

Getting the bad taste of an error-filled title game loss out of their mouth starts with a better showing in the state opener.

“I am proud of our girls for what they have done, the accomplishment of getting here,” coach Todd Bunner said. “It wasn’t the result we wanted, but they know they can play better. They’re disappointed right now … but they will be ready to go for states.”

Southmoreland had a nine-game winning streak snapped by Avonworth, a team that had ousted them from the postseason four straight times.

Four errors contributed to the Antelopes’ repeat title win.

“We need to clean some things up and do a better job getting runs in,” Bunner said. “We won’t change anything (to prepare). We’ll keep it the same.”

Southmoreland has not won in the PIAA playoffs since 2018, when it followed a WPIAL title with two state wins to reach the semifinals.

It lost last year in the first round at Bald Eagle, 4-1.

Charnesky, a Waynesburg commit, offered a different beat to the state preparation, one she hopes the Scotties can dance to as they begin a new playoff push.

Maybe stress is getting in the way.

“We need to play the game for fun,” she said, trying to add levity to an otherwise stressful time. “There will come a time when we’re done playing and don’t have a chance to make any more memories. It’s not always about winning and losing. It’s about the memories.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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