Young Fox Chapel lineup gears up for Section 1-5A play

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Saturday, March 30, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel softball coach Chris Olbrich was happy to have a runway before the start of section play. The Foxes have a young team and scheduled seven games before their Section 1-5A opener with defending PIAA Class 5A runner-up Shaler.

While the temperamental Western Pennsylvania weather prevented some of those games from being played, Fox Chapel still had a few games to get ready for the rigors of section play. After dropping the first two games of the season, Olbrich has an idea of where his team needs to go.

“We’ve got to hit,” Olbrich said. “We have to figure out swinging the bats better. We have too many strikeouts early on in the season. We’re a young team, and it takes more of an adjustment to go to high school. They play travel ball, and it’s OK. It’s different when you play in high school at the varsity level. We need to get some seasoning and the speed of game figured out. See improvement as the season goes on.”

Fox Chapel doesn’t have a roster with a lot of veteran players. Third baseman Mia Dunleavy and second baseman Catie Troutman are the only two seniors on the roster.

Overall, the Foxes have six starters returning from last season, but there are still some position battles that will play out over the course of the season.

“I’m glad we have a few more games after the break before section,” Olbrich said. “We hope we can have some positions solidified.”

Fox Chapel also is working on breaking in two freshman pitchers. Jillian Hague and Ella Eisner will be counted on to pitch for the Foxes.

Olbrich believes they will show improvement as the season goes along.

“We want to be patient with them,” Olbrich said. “We want to be patient with them and explain our expectations. We don’t need 12 strikeouts a game or anything. We don’t want to give out any free passes and play the rest of the game out. We want to allow them to feel their way through the game.”

Fox Chapel is glad to have had some time to smooth things out by the end of the year.

“They’ve got to believe in themselves,” Olbrich said. “They need to believe in themselves as a team. They can’t all think they have to be the one to fix it, pass the bat down the line, and someone else has their back. Have trust in each other and develop as a team. That’s what we are working on.”

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