Westmoreland softball notebook: Latrobe’s Kraynick swinging hot bat

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 | 8:15 PM

Latrobe senior left fielder Hayden Kraynick has found her groove at the plate.

She has been on an offensive tear lately for the Wildcats (9-1, 4-1), who have been piling up runs and have the look of a WPIAL contender in Class 5A.

Latrobe scored 39 times in its last three games, defeating Franklin Regional (8-3), Kiski Area (20-3) and Penn-Trafford (11-0).

“She’s been swinging a hot bat,” Wildcats coach Bob Kovalcin said of Kraynick, an Erskine commit.

Against Franklin Regional, Kraynick went 3 for 4 with two home runs, a double and six RBIs. She then went 4 for 5 with two singles, a double, home run and five RBIs in the Kiski Area game.

Then, she went 2 for 3 with two RBIs against Penn-Trafford.

Add it all up, and she is 9 for her last 12 with 13 RBIs.

Now and then

Hempfield has the talent to win a WPIAL championship this season, but second-year coach Tina Madison also carefully is trying to mortgage the future.

Madison has a talented crop of freshmen, particularly a potential future battery combination in pitcher Julia Varhola and catcher Ella Berkebile.

Both have seen playing time in big games, particularly recently against Seneca Valley and Norwin.

“I have been trying to get them in as much as possible, so they can see the better competition,” Madison told Westmoreland Sports Network.

Madison said it is tough to pull steady sophomore catcher Alli Cervola from behind the plate, but Berkebile fills in nicely and provides offense.

Varhola has seen spot relief for standout sophomore Riley Miller, the Spartans’ ace.

“It’s hard to tell I switched sometimes (at catcher) because we don’t miss a beat with Ella,” Madison said.

“I want Ella’s bat in the lineup. I think she has a bright future here.”

Pulling rank

Hempfield leapt to No. 1 in the Trib Class 6A rankings, but a 10-8 loss to Norwin could impact the lofty mark next week.

Norwin came in No. 3 this week in 6A.

Only two other local teams were ranked this week: Southmoreland was No. 2 in 3A, and Greensburg Central Catholic was No. 4 in 2A.

Games to watch

Next week is front-loaded with top games, with a number of key matchups set to happen Monday.

They include: Armstrong at Latrobe, Greensburg Salem at Belle Vernon, Ligonier Valley at Yough, Mt. Pleasant at Southmoreland and Apollo-Ridge at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Wednesday isn’t short on strong matchups, either, with Seneca Valley at Norwin, Latrobe at Franklin Regional and Yough at Southmoreland.

Next Friday features Franklin Regional at Armstrong, Yough at Mt. Pleasant and Serra Catholic at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Numbers game

17: Runs Franklin Regional scored in the first inning Monday against Gateway.

17: The number of games Ligonier Valley has won in a row at home.

14.8: Franklin Regional’s runs per game in road games this season.

13.3: GCC’s runs per game at home.

7: Wins in a row for Southmoreland.

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

More High School Softball

Trib 10: Baseball power rankings shaken up despite poor week of weather
Leechburg softball team proud to uphold playoff streak
Westmoreland County softball notebook: Southmoreland captures elusive section title
Close games sharpen Greensburg Central Catholic softball for battles ahead
Trib HSSN softball player of the week for May 1, 2023