Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week for week ending April 11, 2021

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Sunday, April 11, 2021 | 9:09 PM


In the 25 years between 1976 and 2000, the North Hills softball program won five WPIAL championships.

The Indians still are searching for a sixth crown.

A lot has happened to the program since just missing the Class 6A playoffs in 2019.

North Hills now is playing in Class 5A and is off to a great start.

“I would say a lot has changed since the 2019 season,” North Hills coach Libby Gasior said. “We graduated three seniors in Shaylin Hagerman, Sarah Mass and Bethany Wittig in 2020, who obviously didn’t get to play their senior year. The members of the 2021 team have decided to dedicate this season to those 2020 seniors and have taken on a renewed sense of urgency to take advantage of the opportunity to play.”

And play they have. The Indians concluded a 3-0 week to improve to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in Section 3-5A.

On Monday, North Hills defeated visiting Chartiers Valley, 6-4. On Wednesday against former section rival Pine-Richland, the Indians prevailed 10-0.

“What stood out to us after the Chartiers Valley win was our ability to hold on to a lead, play through some rough patches, and it highlighted a few of our major weaknesses that we need to continue to improve on,” Gasior said. “What stood out after the Pine-Richland win was our team’s ability to play well against a familiar opponent in a game that had a rivalry feeling.”

On Thursday, the Indians opened up section play against a new rival in visiting Mars.

“We were fortunate to be able to rely on Sophia Roncone’s pitching and timely hitting from our team,” Gasior said.

The junior Roncone picked up her second shutout in as many days, blanking the Fightin’ Planets, 8-0, as North Hills outscored its three opponents last week 24-4.

“Our pitching has been strong and seems to be continually improving,” Gasior said. “Similarly, the defense behind them has been solid. Each position player is looking to make a play and be a part of the team defense.”

Gasior is pleased with the efforts and contributions from many of her players, however she said two deserved special mention.

“Sophia Roncone stood out last week with three wins, pitching 17 innings, facing 62 at-bats, allowing 12 hits, with 24 strikeouts and five base on balls. Senior shortstop Melanie Taylor has been a standout hitter as well, hitting a home run against Chartiers Valley and Mars.”

Gasior likes what she has seen from her team as it prepares to face the likes of Fox Chapel, Hampton, Oakland Catholic and Shaler in section games over the next eight days.

“As far as the season goes, it is early, but four games is a good start. Unfortunately, that’s all it is: a start. We have a lot to prove. We are young and are looking to continuously improve by gaining experience. The girls have been working well together as a team and supporting each other, which will help as the season continues on.”

2021 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week:

Week 1 — Norwin Knights

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