Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week for April 17, 2023

Monday, April 17, 2023 | 11:37 PM

Not all home runs can be measured the same way, and we’re not talking about distance here.

While all long balls are thoroughly enjoyed by the batter and their teammates, their weight on the outcome of a game may differ.

Clubbing one in a blowout victory is nice but lacks critical status.

However, if a long ball is of the walk-off variety, then that is a tater that will be remembered by all involved for a long time.

Chartiers-Houston sophomore catcher Ella Richey had a lot to ponder after last week as she clubbed five home runs in three games, all Buccaneers victories.

“Ella had an outstanding freshman season, making first team all-state catcher in Class 2A, and she has just continued to improve each and every day,” Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson said. “Although she is only a sophomore, she is a big leader on our team, not just because of her skills, but also because she leads by example. Her biggest improvements have been hitting consistently and with power to all fields, being more vocal behind the plate and trying not to do too much.”

The week began for Chartiers-Houston on Monday with a 10-0 nonsection victory over Steel Valley.

Richey had three hits with a double and two home runs in the Bucs’ third straight win.

“Everything went pretty well,” Richey said. “As a team, everyone hit the ball and we did well on the field.”

While the Monday game may have lacked suspense, that was not the case 24 hours later as Chartiers-Houston hosted Class A power West Greene.

The Bucs scored three runs in both the third and fourth innings while the Pioneers scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings, leaving the game tied 6-6 after five innings.

West Greene took the lead in the top of the sixth inning, 7-6, setting the stage for the dramatic bottom of the seventh.

With two runners on and one out, Richey ended it with a game-winning three-run homer to give the young Buccaneers a dramatic 9-7 win.

“The walk-off home run was huge for us to get that section win,” Alderson said. “The bottom of our order had been doing a good job during the game getting on base, so when we were at 7-8-9 in the seventh inning, we were hopeful that we could get at least one player on base to get back up to the top of our order and give Ella a chance to extend the game.

“She has hitters behind her as well, so we felt pretty good about our chances if we could get the bat in her hands. The home run was icing on the cake.”

Due up fourth in the inning, Richey had a good feeling she would get a chance.

“I had confidence in the bottom of our lineup and they did their job,” Richey said. “The whole team did their jobs the whole game. I was really proud of my teammates. I just tried to stay calm in the moment and act like it was any other regular at-bat.”

Two days later, Chartiers-Houston improved its Section 2-A record to 4-1 with a 15-0 win at Mapletown. Richey had a triple, home run and five RBIs.

For the week, the Bucs catcher was 7 for 10 (.700) with three walks, a double, a triple and five home runs with 11 RBIs, a 2.500 slugging percentage and an OPS of 3.269.

“We look forward to the rest of this season and two more with her as our catcher,” Alderson said.

Chartiers-Houston will be challenged this week with home section games against Jefferson-Morgan and Carmichaels.

The Mighty Mikes handed the Buccaneers their only section loss on Mar. 30, 6-3.

“We are really just trying to focus on one game at a time, so Jefferson-Morgan is all that we are concerned about right now before even thinking about Carmichaels,” Alderson said. “We had a rough 0-4 start against good teams, and I think playing that good competition has helped us. Our section is good, and I think any playoff teams coming from it will do well.”

Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:

Week 2 – Shaylyn Shall, Western Beaver

Week 1 – Olivia Zimmerman, Indiana


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