Westmoreland softball notebook: Franklin Regional plays power ball

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 | 7:46 PM

Franklin Regional did more than hit the beach in Florida.

The Panthers softball team also hit the ball — all over the place — when they opened the season at a KSA event in Orlando.

Coach Jim Armstrong expected offense to be swift and productive, and the Panthers (4-1) didn’t waste any time proving him right.

They won all four games convincingly, as freshman Toryn Fulton displayed her budding potential.

Fulton hit four home runs, including two in a 10-0 win over Passaic (N.J.). In that game, she drove in four runs, while freshman Cierra Camacho went 3 for 3 and junior Sydney Jackson also had four RBIs.

In a 14-3 win over Mars, Fulton homered and had four RBIs, Jackson homered and drove in three, and Camacho doubled.

Junior Madison Nguyen, the top returning hitter who batted .451 last season, hit a grand slam and drove in five, senior Erin Hanes doubled and junior Tait Ramchandran went 3 for 3 in an 11-10 victory over Nutley (N.J.).

And when the Panthers downed Episcopal Academy, 12-6, Jackson and Fulton homered (Fulton had four RBIs) and Camacho doubled.

“We have hitters, but every one of these girls will lay out for a fly ball and do whatever it takes,” Franklin Regional coach Jim Armstrong said. “This junior class is special. So are the seniors.”

The Panthers hoped to use the opening trip to prepare them for the Section 1-5A opener at Armstrong on Tuesday. The game turned into a slugfest with Armstrong winning, 18-13.

The teams combined for 30 hits.

“The girls never got down in that game,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong scored nine times in the fourth inning after the Panthers took a 9-6 lead.

Kamryn Marcus had three doubles, Camacho went 3 for 5, and Nguyen and Jackson homered.

Nguyen had four RBIs.

The Panthers, who are averaging 12 runs per game, already have 10 home runs.

Jim Armstrong said his girls have a humorous side. They like to tell jokes in between dingers.

“Toryn and the crew keep things light,” he said. “They like to play pranks. We have some pieces. They make it fun.”

Junior Carli Ramchandran has handled most of the pitching so far.

“She is normally a second baseman/outfielder,” Armstrong said. “She has only pitched a little bit in travel ball. She has really worked hard.”

Fresh debut

Another local freshman also made a fast impact on opening day.

Yough first-year player Adoria Waldier delivered a two-run, walk-off home run as the Cougars edged Charleroi, 4-3.

She also doubled and finished with three RBIs in her debut.

GCC road trip

Greensburg Central Catholic opened the season with a win against a WPIAL team in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Emma Henry went 3 for 4 with a double and four RBIs, and Makenzee Kenney struck out eight in a 7-2 win over Deer Lakes.

The Centurions dropped three other games, falling 10-0 to Avonworth, 4-3 to Chardon and 9-3 against South Allegheny.

Let the games begin

Other highlights from opening day:

• Margaret Howard went 4 for 4 with a double as Hempfield won new coach Tina Madison’s debut, 9-8 over Connellsville.

Southmoreland and Ligonier Valley had one of the lowest-scoring openers as the Scotties slipped by the Rams and star pitcher Maddie Griffin, 2-1.

The go-ahead run scored on an error in the bottom of the seventh. Griffin struck out 14 in the rare loss.

• Kylee Piconi doubled and homered, and Mia Smith struck out 13 as Penn-Trafford topped defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A champ Mt. Pleasant, 5-3.

• Freshman Mia Zubovic and Olivia Kolowitz homered for Belle Vernon, but the Leopards and Greensburg Salem settled in a 13-13 tie.

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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