Trib HSSN softball team of the week for May 26, 2024

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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | 7:01 PM


Trib HSSN softball team of the week: Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Coach: Heidi Karcher (12th year)

Record: 6-4 in Class 5A Section 4, 11-7 overall

#Earned: Thomas Jefferson finished the regular season as the third-place team in Section 2-5A and with an overall record just above .500 at 8-7. Thomas Jefferson pulled off upsets in the first two rounds, knocking off No. 7 South Fayette and No. 2 North Hills, putting the Jaguars into the final four against the HSSN team of the week from last week, No. 11 Latrobe. Thomas Jefferson picked up the semifinal win, 4-2, but it was a costly victory. Early in the game, senior right fielder Emma DeSimone was ejected from the game for what the home plate umpire called a reckless and dangerous slide into home plate, one that Jaguars coach Heidi Karcher and team officials disagreed with. While the team is appealing the ejection, if not overturned, DeSimone will be forced to miss the Jaguars’ WPIAL championship game Thursday against top-seeded Armstrong.

Standout performers: Despite losing DeSimone as part of a three-run second inning, Thomas Jefferson held on to defeat Latrobe for the program’s first trip to the WPIAL softball championships in a decade. Youth was served in the big win for TJ with three youngsters playing big roles. Freshman Aubrey Shaffer was the winning pitcher after she allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Sophomore Adalina Bracco delivered a two-run single in the third inning, and freshman Layla Patterson drove home the other two runs with a bases loaded walk and an RBI double.

Last year: The black and gold finished in second place in Section 4-5A in 2023, three games behind eventual district champion Trinity and three games ahead of third-place finishers Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair. Thomas Jefferson opened the postseason with a slugfest victory over Plum, 8-6. For the second year in a row, the Jaguars saw their season end in the quarterfinals at the hands of Armstrong as the River Hawks advanced 5-3. In the spring of 2022, following a first round win over Kiski Area, TJ lost to Armstrong, 14-7.

Remember when: The trip to the 2024 WPIAL Class 5A championship game comes 10 years after the program’s only district softball title. The combination of sophomore Rachel Bowers and senior Kyla Prickett at the top of the Jaguars batting order proved to be too much as they beat Mars in nine innings, 5-3. Bowers was 3 for 5 with three runs scored while Prickett was 2 for 4 with a run and three RBIs, which included a two-run homer. Sophomore Lacie Lautner threw a complete game to pick up the victory. The title run completed an amazing turnaround for Thomas Jefferson after it had won only three games in Karcher’s first year as head coach in 2013.

2024 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week

Week 7 – Latrobe Wildcats

Week 6 – Penn-Trafford Warriors

Week 5 – Hempfield Spartans

Week 4 – Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers

Week 3 – West Allegheny Indians

Week 2 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors

Week 1 – Ellwood City Wolverines

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