Trib HSSN softball player of the week for May 28, 2023

Sunday, May 28, 2023 | 9:30 PM

The WPIAL postseason can by a torturous ride with plenty of “Edge of your seat” and “hold your breath” moments.

Unless you are the 2023 Montour softball team, which is making the trip through the Class 4A playoff field look like a chill day at the beach.

The offense has dominated.

In two wins that ended early because of the 10-run rule, the Spartans have scored in nine of the 10 innings played.

However the pitching of senior Kaitlyn Molitoris has been even better.

In the quarterfinal win over Indiana, 11-1, Molitoris allowed one run on two hits.

Last week in the semifinal win over section foe Chartiers Valley, the Alderson-Broaddus recruit gave up only one hit with no walks in another big win for Montour, 10-0.

“She was focused, composed and hit nearly every spot we called,” Montour coach Ken Kutchman said of her performance in the semifinals win. “It all started in her warm-up. I saw it coming.”

Molitoris was very good this spring, with a regular season ERA of 2.37. However she has been lights out in the district postseason with one run and three hits allowed in 10 innings of work.

“She has become a pitcher, not just a hard thrower,” Kutchman said. “In the past it was just try to throw it by people; now she hits spots, changes speeds and has developed into a complete pitcher.”

Montour is now 15-3 and ended the regular season as co-champion of Section 3-4A, tying Chartiers Valley for first place. After two one-sided victories in the playoffs, the Spartans are in position to bring home the program’s fifth WPIAL championship.

Kutchman believes Molitoris, along with fellow senior starters Mia Arndt and Avrie Polo, are the driving force behind the Spartans’ 2023 success.

“They are three kids who were starters, nearly from the first day of their freshman year,” Kutchman said. “That hasn’t stopped them from continuing to out-work everyone on the field and in the weight room. Their drive and commitment is not often seen in many high school athletes. They are the kids that, even on off days, are at the field practicing some part of their game and getting better. There were days when I had to ask them to please take a day off to rest and reset.”

There are a lot of things going on at this time of the year for all seniors, yet alone high school seniors who are athletes whose season is still going on.

However, Molitoris has had no trouble focusing on her softball and the Spartans’ march to a possible championship.

“It’s pretty easy for me to focus on softball probably because I’ve been balancing it with things my whole life,” she said. “I’ve played for travel ball and now I’ve played for this school for eight years, so I kind of got used to it.”

The focus for Molitoris and the rest of the Spartans turns to the green and gold. Montour will face a Belle Vernon (17-4) team, fresh off an upset of top seed and undefeated Elizabeth Forward in the 4A semifinals.

Belle Vernon is a strong team that we often see in the fall,” Kutchman said. “They are and have been a great program under Coach Rodriguez year in and year out. They have good players who are well coached. We expect to have our hands full with them.”

2023 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week

Week 7 – Bethany Rodman, Shaler

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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