Westmoreland notebook: Southmoreland softball standouts earning recognition

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Sunday, September 12, 2021 | 8:15 PM


WPIAL Class 3A semifinalist Southmoreland had a young softball lineup last season. It lost only three seniors to graduation.

Among the roster were a talented crop of freshmen, 10 of them in fact, including power-hitting shortstop Amarah McCutcheon and pitcher Madison Brown.

Both are making inroads to college softball through success at the travel level. They are considered two of the rising sophomore stars as both made the Extra Elite Class of 2024 Rankings through their affiliation with the Ohio Outlaws and Team Pennsylvania Fast Pitch.

Brown checks in at the 119 spot, while McCutcheon is 160th on the national list.

McCutcheon was one of the toughest outs in the WPIAL last season. She batted .613 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 32 runs.

Digging it

Westmoreland County was well represented in the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association Week 1 Top 10 Poll, along with the association’s first set of weekly awards.

Penn-Trafford and Latrobe are ranked No. 9 and 10 in Class AAAA, and both had players of the week.

Latrobe senior middle hitter Anna Rafferty and senior libero Jude Lovre of Penn-Trafford picked up that honor.

Just like in basketball, the 6-foot-2 Rafferty and 6-1 Emma Blair are powering the front line for the volleyball team.

Franklin Regional, in the meantime, is ranked No. 9 in Class AAA, while Greensburg Central Catholic continues to hold down the loftiest local spot at No. 2 in Class A.

Pennies from heaven

Mt. Pleasant raised more than $1,600 for the American Cancer Society through its “ACS Penny King/Queen campaign. Sports teams raised money and awareness through the friendly and competitive fundraiser.

Hannah Gesinski and Lucas Poole were crowned the Penny Court queen and king.

Hutter coaching

Mt. Pleasant has a new girls tennis coach, and he already has the team lifting weights. Those around the school won’t be surprised when they learn who is coaching.

Softball assistant Aaron Hutter has taken over the program after the resignation of Allison Leonard.

Hutter’s daughter, Katie, is the team’s third singles player. He has established a weight-training program in the school, which caught on quite well with the softball team, which won WPIAL and PIAA championships last spring.

Adding it up

The wild finish at last week’s Westmoreland County Coaches Association girls golf championship, where a scoring error allowed Franklin Regional to sneak past two-time defending champion Greensburg Central Catholic and win by a stroke. There also was come confusion about which hole would be used for a scorecard player to determine the individual champion.

Franklin Regional senior Caroline Tragesser edged freshman teammate Anna Qin for the title after it initially was thought Qin had won.

“I’m glad that the tournament officials got it right in the end,” GCC coach Gerry Police said. “It makes our exhibition match at the end of the month (against Franklin Regional) more interesting. Congratulations to Franklin Regional.”

It all was shades of a similar bizarro ending to another WCCA event that also involved Franklin Regional.

In 2018, Hempfield’s girls left the county swimming championships thinking they had won by a slim margin over Franklin Regional (344 points to 343.5). But further review of the final points uncovered an error which moved Franklin Regional ahead, 351.5 to 348. The gaffe was a product of a format change to the way the association determined team point totals, awarding points down to 16th place like the WPIAL and PIAA does.

The format was not applied initially, on the first day of the two-day event, causing the fracas.

Zambrunos a package deal?

Greensburg Central Catholic standout twin golfers Meghan and Ella Zambruno have helped turn the Centurions into a perennial power. The team has won six straight WPIAL titles and took home PIAA titles in 2018 and ‘19 — with much of the success because of the play of the siblings.

But could the current seniors end up on the same college team? Maybe. Meghan has verbally committed to St. Francis (Pa.) in Loretto, while Ella has an offer from the Red Flash.

Freshman to watch

It looks like Franklin Regional has a future standout golfer in Qin. Actually, she is standing out now.

Qin took second to senior teammate Tragesser at the WCCA Championship, losing a one-hole scorecard playoff after they tied at 41.

She has helped Franklin Regional to a 4-0 start.

“I improved my ball flight (at the county tournament),” Qin said. “I took more club and hit it lighter. Some holes, I laid up 40 yards short so I could chip on. My putter is getting better.”

Qin was a regional finalist in the 2020 Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Oakmont.

“She has a great work ethic and she is incredibly intelligent,” Panthers coach Kane Daignault said. “She’s the kind of player who isn’t going to make a lot of mistakes. She’s not going to get into trouble.”

Next up

Now that the Westmoreland County Coaches Association golf tournaments are in the books, the county organization will turn its attention to its final fall event, the cross country championships.

The 2021 races will be 3 p.m. Oct. 13 at Westmoreland County Community College.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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