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Jeannette looking to make history

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Winning is starting to become contagious at Jeannette High School.

With the football and boys basketball teams coming off tremendous seasons, the softball team is looking for its legacy.

Jeannette (4-0, 4-0) is off to its best start in the history of the program. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, it will get to see how far it's come when the Jayhawks battle perennial power Greensburg Central Catholic (3-0, 4-0) in a Section 4-AA battle.

"We've never had a start like this before," Jeannette coach Mike Butler said. "We'll get a big test at Greensburg Central Catholic. They've always been the cream of the section. We have to be able to compete with them."

Jeannette's success is somewhat of a surprise to Butler, especially after the team went 3-15 last year. But that success can be traced back to a feeder program that Butler's friends have started.

"We're getting players who know how to play the game," Butler said. "It's a nice change. We've come a long way."

Jeannette starts three freshmen, three sophomores, a junior and two seniors.

The seniors are catcher Lindsey Mozley -- the team leader, according to Butler -- and right fielder Lyndsie Severini. Senior Holly Gonder also would be a starter, but she's out with a knee injury.

"We've have a lot of hard workers," Butler said. "We have a young team. They believe in themselves."

Junior pitcher Nicole Linsenbigler has been consistent this season. She has the ability to overpower some teams, and when she doesn't, her defense has played well. Freshman Catherine Fey also will see time on the hill.

"We're bringing her along slowly," Butler said. "Nicole has the experience."

Offensively, Butler said the team is consistent. But the leading hitter is freshman shortstop Kirstie Cortazzo, who already has a home run and three triples this season.

"We're very balanced," Butler said. "We're not hiding any players. They're all pretty solid. Our experience has helped this season."

The other starters are sophomore first baseman Lauren Maline, freshman second baseman Samantha Linsenbigler, sophomore third baseman Corin Wolfe, sophomore left fielder Courtney Depree and freshman center fielder Kelsie Severini.

Butler said the girls want to be as good as the boys, and they get frustrated because the boys are successful.

"They're looking for their own piece of history," Butler said. "The team's hopes are high. Their goal is be the first team to make the playoffs."

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