Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week: Week ending June 19, 2022
Monday, June 20, 2022 | 9:27 PM
The deer may be home, home on the range, but the Antelopes are celebrating in that rare golden field, where only district and state champions go to play.
The Avonworth softball team added to its title collection this spring with a PIAA 3A crown after beating Lewisburg, 7-2, to capture the school’s first state championship in any sport.
All of this with a young team that received key contributions from several sophomores and freshmen.
“It is amazing to have such a young squad,” Avonworth coach Jenna Muncie said. “We had four seniors who started or contributed to this year’s team. We are going to miss them terribly, but it was great to have five sophomores and two freshmen start for this team. In addition to the starters, we have four additional sophomores and freshmen who were able to contribute and make a difference in every game. With no juniors on the team, I can say that this team has a bright future.”
One of those super sophomores is pitcher Alivia Lantzy.
“I expected that Alivia was going to take a step up from her freshman year,” Muncie said. “As a freshman, Alivia was great, but I knew she had just scratched the surface of how great she could be. She is an extremely calm and confident presence on our team, so I never doubted that she would have an amazing sophomore season.”
In the PIAA semifinals, Lantzy shut down District 6 champion Bald Eagle, 9-2. She scattered three hits and struck out eight.
“I loved her demeanor on the mound during this game with Bald Eagle,” Muncie said. “Bald Eagle is a very good and seasoned team. They have big hitters. I knew if we were going to win that game, Liv would have to be herself and throw the pitches that make her successful. She did just that, and when she was in a jam, she remained calm and collected, which allowed her to come out on top.”
It doesn’t hurt Lantzy that the Antelopes have been swinging hot bats since plating eight runs in the WPIAL championship game. Avonworth scored 22 runs in their first three PIAA playoffs wins over Westmont-Hilltop, Karns City and Bald Eagle.
“I think Alivia is really confident in our team,” Muncie said. “Often times, she mentioned that she knew we would come through for her. However, it was certainly amazing that we provided her with the support she needed to be able to work confidently on the mound. She loves good run support.”
Heading to Penn State to play for a state championship is something Muncie said did not unnerve or frazzle her young team one bit.
“This team was an extremely calm and confident group of young ladies all year. I think I was more nervous than they were. I was really impressed with Alivia’s ability to go out on the mound, as a sophomore, in the biggest game of her career, and really buckle down and limit a great hitting team. I am really impressed with how this team handled themselves this season.”
Lantzy struck out nine and yielded only three hits in beating District 4 champion Lewisburg, 7-2.
“The key to her success was staying ahead in the count,” Muncie said. “Anytime she was able to work ahead, she was able to stay in charge. That is huge in big games, especially against a great team like Lewisburg.”
In the PIAA finals, Lantzy showed she can help chip in on offense as well with a hit and a run scored.
“I think if anyone watched Alivia all season, they saw she was a force in all areas of the game,” Muncie said. “She works extremely hard all year long on all aspects of the game. Her hitting is something she takes great pride in. She enjoys having an opportunity to come up in big moments to help her team to victory. Something that people don’t really know about Alivia is that she does play other defensive positions very well. She can run a ball down in the outfield and pick a ground ball in the infield with the best of them.”
There is time to wonder about what’s next for this young Avonworth core, but for now, Muncie and the Antelopes are basking in their golden glory.
“Historical and epic, there is no better season. Section champions, WPIAL champions, state champions and 15 really successful young ladies on and off the field. I am speechless.”
2022 Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:
Week 10 — Autumn Boyd, Laurel
Week 9 — Jenna Clontz, Armstrong
Week 8 — Payton List, Beaver
Week 7 — Mia Smith, Penn-Trafford
Week 6 — Casey Barton, Seton LaSalle
Week 5 — Addy Frye, Neshannock
Week 4 — Abby Scheller, North Hills
Week 3 — Bella Hess and Paige McAvoy, Chartiers-Houston
Week 2 — Emma Augustine, Yough
Week 1 — Abby Quickel, Bethel Park
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