Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week for May 9, 2022

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022 | 12:07 AM


Last year, the Charleroi softball team won its last four regular season games to finish in a tie with Carmichaels for second place in Section 3-2A behind Frazier.

The Cougars were the No. 9 seed in the WPIAL playoff and lost in the first round to Neshannock, 6-4.

Charleroi closes the 2022 section schedule Wednesday at Carmichaels. A win and the Cougars finish strong and earn second place outright. A loss would put them in a tie for second again with the Mighty Mikes and the reality of another spot in the 8-9 first-round game could also repeat itself from last season.

“Wednesday’s Carmichaels game will be a big test at their place for us heading into pairings on Thursday,” Charleroi coach Trey Tilghman said. “I don’t want to share second.”

The Cougars are in a good place not to share thanks to going 4-0 last week.

On Monday and Tuesday, Charleroi poured it on with section victories over California and Washington in which they outscored the teams 23-0.

“We had contributions from top to bottom offensively, especially our first and second batters,” Tilghman said.

Juniors Rece Eddy was 4 for 6 and Leena Henderson 4 for 9, a combined 8-for-15 with eight runs scored. Sophomore pitcher Sofia Celaschi struck out a combined 26 batters in the two shutouts.

On Wednesday, there was no cruise control as Charleroi fell behind early at Bentworth. The Cougars chipped away at the three-run deficit and tied the game in the seventh inning before winning it with two home runs in the ninth.

“After allowing three runs in the bottom of the first, we buckled down pitching and defensively,” Tilghman said. “Emma Stefanick pitched the first three innings, then Sofia shut them down the rest of the game, striking out 11 with no walks. Emma did great, but offensively, we didn’t give her any help. Tying the game in the top of the seventh when freshman Avery Pendo tripled with one out and eventually scored on Maddie Lancy single was big. Stefanick and Lancy both cleared the fence in the ninth inning.”

The first of the two late-season showdowns against Carmichaels took place at home Thursday and the Cougars passed with flying colors, 4-0.

“It was a close, competitive game,” Tilghman said. “We were able to take advantage of their first pitcher having some control issues to score four runs in innings two and three before they switched. Then Sofia took care of the rest with 12 strikeouts.”

Six of the eight Charleroi wins this year have been shutout victories by Celaschi. She is 7-5 with 129 strikeouts.

“Sofia will be our driving force,” Tilghman said. “She’s incredible; the control of all her pitches has been tremendous.”

Besides Celaschi, some of the other standouts for the Cougars this past week were Eddy, Henderson and sophomores McKenna DeUnger, Maddie Lancy, Riley Jones and Stefanick.

This will mark the second straight season Charleroi has qualified for the WPIAL softball playoffs after missing out since 2014.

Tilghman knows the postseason won’t be easy in Class 2A because of one particular aspect.

“Pitching will definitely be on display,” Tilghman said. “There is tons of pitching talent in 2A. Runs will be hard to come by the deeper you go. Who’s getting hot? It’s going to be exciting.”

2022 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week

Week 4 – West Allegheny Indians

Week 3 – Avonworth Antelopes

Week 2 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 1 – Ligonier Valley Rams

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