Trib HSSN Softball Team of the Week: Week ending June 12, 2022

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Sunday, June 12, 2022 | 9:50 PM


On April 27, the Seneca Valley softball team lost a third straight game, dropping its record to 5-6.

Since then, the high-flying Raiders have been unstoppable.

Seneca Valley has won 10 straight games, including a WPIAL championship and a pair of PIAA postseason victories.

So what changed?

“This is my first year as a head coach, and it is an entire new staff,” Marleese Hames said. “I think it took a little while for us to learn about the girls and them to learn about us and for us to jell. Once we became a team, the energy changed and ramped up and we just started winning.”

The team’s WPIAL 6A championship — a 9-5 win over rival North Allegheny — was the program’s third overall and first softball title in 23 years.

Was there any concern for Hames of a championship letdown heading into the state playoffs?

“I did not have any concerns about focus after winning WPIAL. As a staff, we remind them to enjoy the process, be in the moment, enjoy the experience and to love being on the field with your teammates. These are a special group of girls, and they are good friends. They love playing together and are having fun.”

The fun was on display in the first round as Seneca Valley roared past Central Dauphin, 8-2.

“We were strong at the plate with zero strikeouts,” Hames said. “Many girls contributed with 11 hits, and our defense was very strong. It was a total team effort win.”

Hames’ daughter, freshman pitcher Lexie Hames, continued to shine in the circle. She allowed one earned run and had nine strikeouts.

While the Raiders offense excelled in the first round, Lexie Hames’ pitching and the defense were in the spotlight in the quarterfinals against Quakertown on Thursday.

“Our defense and pitching were phenomenal,” Marleese Hames said. “Lexie had no walks and 11 strikeouts, but so many great defensive plays were made. Hayley Walter at second base had several hard grounders that she handled well to end innings, and Bella Gross caught a line drive that ended the inning with a runner on third. We were not as strong as we have been at the plate, but she was a really good pitcher with good spin. She painted the corners well.”

The game’s only run came in the first inning on a Kara Pasquale triple and a Mia Ryan bunt.

In the two state playoff wins, Maddie Gross is hitting .600 with a 1.46 OPS., Pasquale is hitting .500, both Bella Gross and Lexie Hames are hitting .400 and Mia Ryan has three RBIs.

The growth of Lexi Hames’ game has been a huge part of the turnaround for SV. The freshman has done so much for the Raiders in the circle and at the plate that Coach Hames/Mom has taken notice.

“Lexie has grown tremendously as a pitcher this season. She has learned that she needs to spin the ball as well as have speed. She has worked this season on spinning the ball more so that she can create ground balls and fly balls for her defense rather than line drives. As a hitter, she is a power hitter and has worked on hitting pitches that are off the plate. Most teams who know her do not give her any really nice pitches, so she had to work in hitting outside or inside low pitches.

“Coming in as a freshman — felt she needed to prove herself. I think she put a lot of stress and pressure on herself in the beginning. Throughout the season, she settled in and realized she just needed to be herself and relax. She knows that she has a great defense behind her and a great offensive team as well.”

Now in the PIAA final four, the reigning District 7 champions will face a Pennsbury team Monday that just eliminated North Allegheny in the quarterfinals.

“They are a good team and are a fast team,” Hames said. “They like to bunt and get baserunners on. They are aggressive baserunners. We need to be able to control this.”

2022 Trib HSSN Softball Teams of the Week

Week 9 – Union Scotties

Week 8 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors

Week 7 – Bentworth Bearcats

Week 6 – Waynesburg Central Raiders

Week 5 – Charleroi Cougars

Week 4 – West Allegheny Indians

Week 3 – Avonworth Antelopes

Week 2 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 1 – Ligonier Valley Rams

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