Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week: May 3, 2021
Sunday, May 2, 2021 | 7:55 PM
Two years ago, Avonworth crushed Keystone Oaks in the WPIAL Class 3A title game to earn a softball championship for the first time in school history.
After a slow start this spring, the Antelopes have found their stride and again are dreaming about gold.
“Since we won the WPIAL in 2019, our team has lost four girls in total due to graduation and then the loss of the covid season,” Avonworth coach Jenna Muncie said. “While those four girls were integral to what we did, they set the precedent for what Avonworth softball should look like. And although we replaced them with six freshmen, the idea of winning softball is still instilled in this team and teams moving forward.”
The Antelopes entered last week with a 2-2 Section 2-3A record and trailing Keystone Oaks, South Park and Ellwood City by a game in the standings and with games against each coming up.
The showdown week for the ‘Lopes began with a home game Tuesday against South Park.
“South Park is always a great team that knows how to win,” Muncie said. “The key for us was that we came out right away and scored, then played good clean defense for the remainder of the game. We really were able to keep them from getting in a rhythm.”
The out-of-sync Eagles could not score as Avonworth picked up a 5-0 victory.
The next day, the Antelopes traveled to Keystone Oaks for a title game rematch against the Golden Eagles, two weeks after KO defeated Avonworth, 11-4.
“The pitching on both sides was phenomenal,” Muncie said. “Our pitcher, Alivia Lantzy, was really able to keep their hitters off balance and work out of jams when needed. In addition, our defense was very good and our focus in a very close game really allowed us to succeed.”
Avonworth earned a 2-1 victory to move into a tie for first place in the section.
The big week concluded Saturday with a home game against an Ellwood City team that also had knocked off the Antelopes earlier this season, 8-7.
“Our victory against Ellwood City is easily classified as our best team victory this year,” Muncie said. “Multiple players had great offensive games, and our defense was stellar when we needed it. Ellwood City is an excellent team, and we feel very fortunate that we were able to put together a complete game and come away with the section victory.”
The 16-4 victory over the Wolverines gave the Antelopes seven straight wins.
While it was a grueling week, the three wins lifted Avonworth into first place by a half-game over Keystone Oaks and South Park and a full game over Ellwood City. It also was a great measuring stick for the “defending champions” with the postseason a few weeks away.
“The three teams we played this week are consistently powerful teams in 3A,” Muncie said. “South Park, Keystone Oaks and Ellwood City always challenge us and provide us with opportunities to play in high-pressure games that prepare us for the playoffs.”
There was no shortage of players who came up big last week for the Antelopes.
“Our captains, Leah Logan, Meghan Fissore, and Abby Stanley, have done a great job keeping this young team on a successful course,” Muncie said. “It is difficult to point out all of the individual accomplishments that led to the success of this week. Alivia Lantzy, this week’s pitcher, went 3-0 with 34 strikeouts. Meghan Fissore went 6 for 9, Rylee Gray was 4 for 10, and Cassie Heinauer was 5 for 9.”
Avonworth is scheduled to close section play hosting Beaver Falls on Monday and visiting Quaker Valley on Wednesday. Two wins guarantees a share of the section crown.
“I love this team because they pull for each other every day,” Muncie said. “I believe that they have the ability to compete and do great things this season.”
2021 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week
Week 4: Montour
Week 3: Central Valley
Week 2: North Hills
Week 1: Norwin
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