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Mon Valley area graduates lift college softball teams

| Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, 6:07 p.m.

Several area softball players made significant contributions at the college level this past season.

For the third consecutive season, Belle Vernon Area High School graduate Ashley Nichols pitched the most innings for Wheeling-Jesuit University's softball team. She led the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in innings pitched in 2013.

The senior pitcher earned honorable-mention all-conference honors as well, as she hurled 207.2 innings in 44 appearances with 29 starts, 26 complete games and 12 victories with a 3.20 ERA. She struck out 124 batters, which included 45 batters looking.

Nichols won four games while pitching 134.2 innings in 2011. Two years ago, she won eight of the team's 14 total victories with 14 complete games.

As a freshman, she compiled a 7-11 overall record and led the Cardinals in strikeouts with 73.

In high school, Nichols compiled a 51-19 career record with a 1.28 ERA and led Belle Vernon to the 2007 WPIAL Class AAA title and a runner-up finish in 2008. She struck out 608 batters in 472 innings with six no-hitters, including two perfect games and a half-dozen one-hitters.

Wheeling-Jesuit finished the 2013 season with a 19-31 record and 12-17 WVIAC mark.

Triple threat

Three underclassmen helped the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg's softball team achieve a second consecutive winning season.

Meghan Uher, a freshman pitcher from Acme and a graduate of Connellsville High School, earned third-team All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference honors.

She made a team-high 20 appearances and compiled an 8-9 overall record with one save and a team and conference-best 2.04 ERA. She pitched 13 complete games with 110 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched. Offensively, she batted .308 with three doubles and two homers in 27 games.

Connellsville freshman, Brianna Cramer, batted .270 with 10 runs and 10 hits while starting in 14 of 20 games she appeared in.

Ringgold High School graduate Stephanie Koontz concluded her sophomore season by batting .296 while making 11 starts in 26 games.

A first baseman from Monongahela, Koontz batted .297 in 2012.

Pitt-Greensburg finished the 2013 season with a 20-19 overall record and 12-6 conference season. In 2012, the Bobcats finished 18-17 overall with an 11-7 conference mark.

The previous two seasons Pitt-Greensburg's cumulative record was 14-46 with identical 5-13 conference seasons.

Impact player

Senior shortstop Apryl Patterson was the fifth-leading hitter in 2013 for Muskingum (New Concord, Ohio) University.

A graduate of Belle Vernon Area High School, she batted .326 while starting in all of the Fighting Muskies' 40 games.

Patterson led the team in total at-bats with 141, and was second on the team in doubles (10) and stolen bases with 12 in as many attempts She was third in runs scored (33), hits (46), total bases (63) and added 19 RBI, two triples and four walks.

In 2012, Patterson received honorable mention All Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) after leading Muskingum with a .420 batting average.

Patterson was the team's fourth-leading hitter in 2011 with a .323 batting average and batted .310 in 2010 with nine stolen bases.

Muskingum finished the 2013 season with a 28-12 overall record and 9-9 conference mark.

Quartet at Waynesburg

Junior right fielder Jenna Dorazio was Waynesburg University softball team's fifth-leading hitter in 2013.

A native of Cokeburg and graduate of Bentworth High School, she batted .250 while starting in all of the Yellow Jacket's 36 games. Dorazio produced 28 hits, 14 runs, four doubles, one home run, nine RBI and three stolen bases.

In 2012, she batted .392 while playing in 28 of the Yellow Jacket's 36 games with 26 starts. Dorazio led the team with five home runs, six stolen bases, a .676 slugging percentage, .430 on-base percentage and two triples.

She was a first-team All-President's Athletic Conference selection that season

Two other local Waynesburg players were sophomore center fielder Emily Sorton from Elizabeth Forward High School, who batted .235 in 17 at-bats with a triple and Dorazio's sister, freshman infielder Jessica. The younger Dorazio started 17 games and batted .228 with two doubles, a stolen base and 10 runs scored.

Freshman catcher Samantha Pillar from Laurel Highlands High School had three doubles and four RBI in five at-bats.

Waynesburg finished the season with a 15-21 overall record and 7-11 mark in the President's Athletic Conference.

Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.