Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week
Sunday, June 9, 2019 | 10:38 PM
The Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week is West Greene junior Jade Renner, who was the winning pitcher and contributed offensively as well for the two-time defending PIAA Class A champions.
On Monday, the Pioneers will battle DuBois Central Catholic in the team’s fourth straight state semifinals appearance.
West Greene has pitched 12 shutouts this season, including two in the WPIAL semifinals in title game by Renner.
In the first round, Renner allowed only one run on four hits in an 8-1 victory over Rockwood. Then, the junior bent but did not break in a hard-fought 5-4 victory for the Pioneers over Clarion.
“When Jade commands her change, she is doubly tough,” said West Greene coach Billy Simms. “Being able to throw it on any count makes her exponentially tougher to hit off of. When she can lead batters off with a change the second or third time through the order, it is quite difficult to stay timed on her.”
In the quarterfinals win, Renner also did damage with the bat. She was 3 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs.
“Jade is dangerous with the bat,” said Simms. “She has always possessed the flair for the dramatic. She has had 2-3 huge at-bats in the rounds you are talking about and none bigger than the bases clearing double against Clarion.”
An example of coming up big in clutch situations is her postseason record as a pitcher. Renner is 19-0 in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs and has 55 career wins and over 300 career strikeouts.
“Expecting to win is just in all our girls’ nature, not just Jade,” said Simms. “She is ultra-competitive in everything from checkers to bumper car racing to softball. You name it, she’ll play it and expect to win.”
The Pioneers are on an impressive postseason streak with 19 straight playoff wins with a record of 26-1 in the last four years.
“I want the team to de-emphasize winning the game,” said Simms. “I just want us to focus on playing defense, pitching well, and letting the at bats come as they fall. If we play clean defense and pitch well, we are a tough opponent. We want to apply pressure to DuBois Central Catholic and hope to be the team with more runs at the end of the game.”
Brooke Cleland, Penn-Trafford
Sophomore Brooke Cleland was the extra-base queen as Penn-Trafford powered their way to the state semifinals. Cleland was 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs in an opening round 13-6 win over Central Mountain. Then she homered twice and drove in three as the Warriors eliminated WPIAL champion West Allegheny 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward
Sophomore Kailey Larcinese was lights out in the circle for the WPIAL Class 4A champs in the first two state playoff games for Elizabeth Forward. In the first round, Larcinese scattered three hits and struck out nine in a 8-2 triumph over Punxsutawney. In the quarterfinals, she only gave up two hits and struck out 8 in a 2-0 shutout of Grove City.
Logan Hartman, Frazier
Junior Logan Hartman had two hits, a run scored and an RBI in two state playoff wins for Frazier. Her best work though came in the circle as she allowed no earned runs and struck out six in an opening round win over Marion Center, followed by a 5 hit and 3 strike out performance as the Commodores knocked off rival Chartiers-Houston in Round 2.
Previous Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.