Jeannette graduate Cortazzo swings through at Gannon
After two weeks of cold and snow cancelled or postponed 10 games for the Gannon University softball team, the team — including Jeannette High School graduate Kirstie Cortazzo — was back in action in a big way on Saturday.
Once they returned to the diamond, it was as if they were on a mission to make up for lost time. The Lady Knights picked up right where they left off, sweeping a double-header against Slippery Rock, an NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) foe.
Cortazzo, a junior second baseman, continued her stellar play and was named PSAC West Softball Player of the Week.
In the double-header, Gannon took the first game 6-2, and Cortazzo was the hero, clubbing a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
In the second game, Cortazzo walked in her first three plate appearances and then smacked an RBI a single in her final at-bat as Gannon rolled to a 7-2 win.
Cortazzo is on a six-game hitting streak and has not committed an error in the filed in 15 consecutive games. She leads the team with 19 RBIs, is second on the team with a .438 batting average and is tied for second with two homers.
Her .646 slugging percentage, .491 on-base percentage and .977 fielding percentage are also among the team's leaders.
Gannon is now 15-2 overall and 2-0 in the PSAC Western Division. With the weather beginning to break, the Lady Knights have a full slate of games this week and next. Visit gannonsports.com for an updated schedule and results.
Ault grabs hit
Jeannette grad Jordan Ault, a junior on the Bethany College baseball team, grabbed his first hit of the season on Sunday.
Ault, starting at third base, had a single and scored a run as the Bison fell to Waynesburg 9-2 in the second game of a double header. Bethany entered the week 3-8 overall and 1-5 in the Division III Presidents Athletic Conference.
The team was scheduled to visit LaRoche today (Thursday) with a 1 p.m. start time.
As the college men's volleyball season winds down, Jeannette area native Joe Bortak remains where he's been for two full years now: at the top of the Juniata College stat sheet.
Bortak, a 6-foot-7 sophomore middle blocker and Penn-Trafford High School graduate, has been one of the Eagles top players since he arrived on campus last year. Bortak currently leads the team in kill percentage (.471) points (290.5) and total blocks (94). He's also second on the team in kills (223).
Juniata is a Division III power, boasting 47 conference championships and eight national titles. This season, Juniata is 18-10 overall and 2-2 in the Continental Volleyball Conference.
The team played at Thiel Wednesday night but the match ended too late for this edition. The team visits Stevenson this Friday and then plays conference foes Eastern Mennonite and Cairn on Saturday.
The CVC Championship Tournament begins on April 12.
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.