Trib HSSN softball player of the week for May 21, 2023

Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 7:32 PM

Shaler senior Bethany Rodman is a three-year starter who has and continues to contribute mightily to the Titans softball program.

This year in particular, you could say Rodman is a perfect leader.

She has been called the heart and soul of a Titans team that is 18-0 heading into the Class 5A semifinals on Wednesday.

“She has matured each and every year she has been here, but this year she is at a different level of maturity,” Shaler head coach Tom Sorce said. “I really believe she is enjoying herself and her senior season.

“Everybody who coaches this game knows that you have to have a good pitcher to compete. She has given us the opportunity to compete because of her abilities. Her desire to become better since she got here has rubbed off on our team. She would be the first one to tell you that all of her teammates are the heart and soul of this team, especially our seniors. Now you know why our coaching staff is so high on her.”

Rodman admits the team was not sharp when Shaler opened the postseason Monday against No. 15-seed Bethel Park.

The Titans had to scratch and claw to come back and beat the Black Hawks, 5-3.

“I pulled her out in the second inning when we gave up a couple of runs, even though the situation was not all her fault,” Sorce said. “She didn’t pout or complain. She just did what was asked and didn’t let it affect her. In fact, she drove in two runs after that. She is a true team player.”

The win moved No. 2 Shaler into the WPIAL quarterfinals Wednesday against a Franklin Regional team that scored 10 runs in a first-round win over Moon.

“The key to her success is her team-first attitude,” Sorce said. “This was the first game that she did not start for us and she could have been disappointed or had a bad attitude. Instead when I told her what we were going to do, she looked at me and said, ‘Whatever you need me to do coach.’ That statement says it all about the type of kid she is.”

The Titans wasted little time taking control of the game against the Panthers as Rodman struck early with a first-inning grand slam.

“It was the greatest feeling in the world to go up in the first inning by four runs,” Rodman said. “It gave us a little leeway for the other innings. It allowed us to play loose and have fun as a team.”

Asked if she was trying to hit a home run in that situation, Rodman replied, “I just need to get my bat on the ball. I don’t go up there swinging for the fences because I know if I do, I’ll whiff at the ball and probably strike out.”

In the two playoff wins, Rodman was 4 for 7 with a home run and seven RBIs.

“She has always been a decent hitter. But this year, her maturity as a hitter has really blossomed,” Sorce said. “Even though everyone knows she is a good hitter and a power hitter who drives in runs, they try and pitch around her, and she still is able to drive in runs. She can hit both the inside or outside pitch, and she has been able to make the necessary adjustments.”

As Rodman approaches her final days in Shaler red and blue, she will continue her academic and softball career in the fall at Muskingum.

“Muskingum doesn’t know it yet, but they are getting the type of player that every coach wants, a team-first player,” Sorce said.

But this season might be far from over. A difficult challenge lies ahead this week as No. 2 Shaler battles No. 3 Trinity on Wednesday at Gateway in a 5A semifinals game.

“Our group feels very fortunate to be able to play in this tournament,” Sorce said. “We respect every team that we play. Trinity is just the next team on our schedule, and they are here because they are a very good team. I tell the kids that these are the fun games, the games that you will remember years from now, so enjoy the moment.”

2023 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:

Week 6: Lexie Hames, Seneca Valley

Week 5: Caroline Malandra, Serra Catholic

Week 4: Shelby Telegdy , Elizabeth Forward

Week 3: Ella Richey, Chartiers-Houston

Week 2: Shaylyn Shall, Western Beaver

Week 1: Olivia Zimmerman, Indiana


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