TribHSSN Softball Player of the Week for games of May 20-25, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019 | 10:46 PM

The Trib HSSN Softball Player of the Week is Laurel senior Kayla Ruperto, who helped lead the defending WPIAL Class 2A champions back to the title game.

Laurel isn’t the only team back in the finals. It will be a rematch of the championship game last spring as the Spartans battle Frazier.

“We expect another hard-fought defensive battle,” Laurel coach Frank Duddy said. “Frazier is a well-coached team with a ton of talent and playoff experience. I think both teams match up well. It should be a great game.”

If the Spartans are to repeat, they need another great performance from Ruperto. She was the winning pitcher in quarterfinals and semifinals wins over Carmichaels and Freedom, improving her season record to 14-2.

“Kayla has great command of her pitches,” said Duffy. “Her ability to put it where she wants it is a big part of her success. She struck out 20 in those two games (last week) and walked only three. When she’s slinging it like that, it’s harder for teams to score.”

Ruperto not only was the winning pitcher in both playoff wins, she helped a Spartans offense that scored 12 runs in each game.

“Kayla was 6 for 8 with two doubles and a home run in the quarter- and semifinals games,” said Duddy. “She’s been consistent all year. She is seeing the ball well and making good decisions.”

While several current players played a key role in last season’s title run, Ruperto was sidelined and has worked hard to be part of a repeat performance.

Duddy feels overcoming those injuries has made Ruperto a great leader in her senior year.

“She is always positive and encouraging to her teammates,” he said. “She missed most of the past two seasons with injuries, and during that time she became one of the biggest motivators in our dugout.”

Honorable mention:

Rachel Martindale, North Allegheny

Senior Rachel Martindale once again was the driving force for top-seed North Allegheny on offense. In a Class 6A semifinals win over Norwin, Martindale hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning that blew open a close game as the Tigers won 8-4. The hit was the 100th of Martindale’s standout career.

Kailey Larcinese, Elizabeth Forward

Sophomore Kailey Larcinese was the winning pitcher in two games, and No. 2-seed Elizabeth Forward is title-game bound. In the quarterfinals, she limited Indiana to two hits and struck out eight in the Warriors’ 5-1 win. Two days later, Larcinese dominated again as she blanked previously unbeaten Knoch, 4-0.

Logan Hartman, Frazier

Junior Logan Hartman was the winning pitcher in two victories that put Frazier in the Class 2A finals for a third straight year. Hartman pitched a one-hitter and struck out 15 in a 10-0 defeat of Vincentian Academy. In the semifinals, she had a double with two runs scored and two RBIs as the Commodores beat top-seed Chartiers-Houston, 10-3.

Previous Trib HSSN Softball Players of the Week:

Izzy Farmer, West Mifflin

Madison Slowinski, Freedom

Nina Grandey, Serra Catholic

Jena Hixson, Connellsville

Sydney Calderaro, Vincentian Academy

Maddy Hershberger, Albert Gallatin

Claire Zimmerman, Seneca Valley

Payton List, Beaver

This Week’s Trib HSSN Team of the WeekKeystone Oaks Golden Eagles

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