Trib HSSN softball team of the week for May 8, 2023

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | 12:34 AM

In the two years prior to Dave Quinn taking over as softball head coach at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the Chargers won a combined 10 games.

In his first year in 2017, OLSH finished 11-5 and hasn’t missed the playoffs since as a new tradition was born.

This season, the Chargers are 12-3 after a loss to Charleroi on Monday; however, they finished their section schedule with a record of 10-2 and have clinched at least a share of the section championship for the second time in three years.

“That’s a tribute to the girls that play for us at OLSH. They have bought into the system that we brought here,” Quinn said. “The girls have been fantastic. They work extremely hard to develop the culture that we want to have. We have been ascending every year. Last year, we made it to the semifinals and earned our first state playoff appearance in OLSH softball history. It’s been a good ride.”

So what was the philosophy Quinn and his coaches brought to the Chargers that has made this program a success?

“I wanted my girls when they stepped on the field to have the most confidence that they have,” Quinn said. “When they have confidence, it will show when they perform. I, as a coach, always want my girls to feel good about themselves. That’s part of the culture. We’ve been extremely positive. We’re not going to look at the negatives whether we’re in practice or in the games. We’re always going to accentuate the positives.”

There was plenty to be positive about last week when OLSH won back-to-back games to clinch a share of the section crown.

On Friday, the Chargers locked up with a desperate Fort Cherry team that is fighting to make the playoffs, and after falling behind early, rolled to victory, 14-2.

“It was at home and they scrap and play hard,” Quinn said of the Rangers. “We’re down in the first inning, 1-0. Things can be fragile sometimes, but the girls came in and in the bottom half, we scored some runs. We started to hit the ball and did what we need to do.”

The next day, back at the Youthtown softball field in Clinton, OLSH squared off with playoff-bound Burgettstown. The Chargers took control early with 11 runs in the first two innings to cruise to a big section win, 12-2.

“We knew we had to play three games in four days, so our approach was one game at a time,” Quinn said. “Burgettstown beat Charleroi twice, and we turn around and did very well against Burgettstown. Our girls performed extremely well and the bats were alive on Saturday.”

Pitching is always a key to postseason success and Quinn likes his Chargers’ chances with Justena Giles.

“She’s been with me for four years and she’s just a kid that gets outs,” Quinn said. “She’s not a power pitcher, she doesn’t strike out a lot of girls, but she’s just crafty and gets outs for us.”

So with section play complete and only one nonsection game left in the regular season for OLSH, the Chargers can begin looking ahead to a deep 2A playoff field.

“If you are any coach in 2A, you have to look at the Neshannock team there,” Quinn said. “That’s the team that has the target on their back as the defending state champion with, I think, eight starters back and with Addy Frye, a tremendous pitcher. They are, on paper, the team to beat. We have two of the best pitchers in all of the WPIAL in Frye and Autumn Boyd (of Laurel). Double-A is a deep division.”

Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week:

Week 5 – West Mifflin Titans

Week 4 – Neshannock Lancers

Week 3 – Trinity Hillers

Week 2 Charleroi Cougars

Week 1 – Carmichaels Mighty Mikes

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