Trib HSSN softball team of the week for April 24, 2023

Monday, April 24, 2023 | 4:59 PM

Neshannock knows what it’s like to be perfect on the softball diamond.

The Lancers finished 26-0 last year, winning the program’s first WPIAL championship since 2014 and first PIAA crown since 2012.

So the team’s encore to going undefeated in 2022 has been, well, perfect.

The Lancers picked up three more wins last week to improve to 6-0 in Section 1-2A and 9-0 overall with little sign of slowing down.

“One of the things I wanted to push when I became head coach (in 2018) was selflessness and forget the selfishness,” Neshannock coach Jackie Lash said. “I have 21 girls on the roster, and 19 of those girls play travel ball. That’s hard for nine or 10 of them to be sitting on the bench when on their travel teams, they might be the stud shortstop or third baseman. That’s just something we try to push: Everybody here matters and makes a difference for this team.”

That everybody-matters mindset came into play on a frigid Monday last week when Lash used 15 players in only three innings as Neshannock rolled past New Brighton, 18-1.

“Monday was very cold with rain and a little snow mixed in,” Lash said. “I’m very fortunate to have a lineup of pitchers, and we had a chance to pitch Gianna Paglia, who is a freshman this year. She came up and pitched her first varsity game and did a really good job, especially in those kinds of conditions.”

Paglia allowed one run on one hit in three innings, with two walks and six strikeouts, while super sophomore Addyson Frye was 3 for 3 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Junior Gabrielle Perod and senior Hannah Donaldson both had two hits and three RBIs while seniors Aaralyn Nogay and Hunter Newman also contributed two hits for the Lancers.

On Wednesday, one of the biggest nonsection games of the season took place in a battle of unbeaten and 2022 champions as Class 3A Avonworth faced 2A Neshannock.

“We work hard over the winter on our nonsection schedule,” Lash said. “We’re not worried about picking up teams that are going to pad our record. Let’s look at teams that are really going to put these kids to the test. I believe we have a really good team, but you have to play other great teams to prove it. Playing (Avonworth junior) Alivia Lantzy, she’s a great pitcher who has been doing great things all season.”

Neshannock jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings and rolled to an impressive 9-2 win to hand the Antelopes their first loss of the season.

While Aaralyn Nogay and junior Alison Giordano led the way on offense for the Lancers with three hits each off Lantzy, Frye and freshman Jaidon Nogay each had two hits, including a home run, and a combined six RBIs in the win.

Frye was the winning pitcher for Neshannock, allowing 10 hits but only giving up two runs.

“Ten hits may sound like a lot of hits, and it is, but let’s face it, that’s a really tough team,” Lash said. “Addy really pitched well. Some of those hits just happened to fall in.”

That set up the second meeting of the year with rival Laurel, which suffered its only loss of the season April 5 at home to Neshannock, 6-3.

On Friday at home, the Lancers scored five runs in the first inning and four more in the sixth to roll past the Spartans, 10-2.

“I think we learned not to let our foot of the gas,” Lash said. “That first inning was huge for us, but then we kind of went stagnant. I think our girls felt a lot of pressure because there something about Laurel that gets into our heads and I’m determined to change that mentality.”

Newman had two hits, including a home run, and Frye had a three-run homer as well as striking out 11 Spartans in a complete-game victory.

Neshannock is scheduled for four more section games this week, including trips to Freedom and Shenango and a home doubleheader against Aliquippa.

On Tuesday, another WPIAL 2022 champion comes to Neshannock for a nonsection showdown as the Lancers host Union.

2023 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week:

Week 3 – Trinity Hillers

Week 2 – Charleroi Cougars

Week 1 – Carmichaels Mighty Mikes


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