Frank Regional grad Manovich finishes Point Park softball career as all-conference selection
Courtney Manovich was listening to her iPod as Point Park softball coach Michelle Coultas prepared to reveal the all-conference teams for the 2013 season earlier this spring.
Manovich turned down the sound just in time to hear the good news.
“I shut it off real quick, and she said, ‘Courtney Manovich, first base, all-conference,'” Manovich said. “My team was actually more excited, in a sense, at first than I was because it hadn't really hit me.”
Manovich, a 2009 Franklin Regional graduate, was named to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team after a season in which she batted .339 with two home runs and 26 runs batted in.
For Manovich, who sat out her freshman season after breaking her ankle and spent the next two seasons as a role player for the Pioneers, the recognition was an unexpected one.
“Not being able to contribute with the team the last few years, I never really understood the all-conference thing. I never really got it,” she said. “But (now), it's actually a pretty awesome feeling to know that out of all the eight teams in the conference, out of all the first basemen, out of all that I was chosen. It really felt good to have someone else notice that I could do something.”
The recognition was also a culmination of four years of hard work for Manovich, who delivered the game-winning hit for Franklin Regional in the 2009 WPIAL Class AAA championship game.
She broke her right ankle while sliding into home during indoor workouts before her freshman season.
“It was the first bone I've ever broken, and I knew it happened,” she said. “It's pretty funny how it happened, but it was just so unexpected. Everyone was just looking at me like, ‘What the heck did you just do?' My foot was at the back of my head. It was a weird thing.”
Manovich was on crutches for nine weeks after breaking her ankle, causing her to miss her freshman season. The injury also forced her to learn many of her defensive motions again.
After batting a combined .282 in 39 total at-bats in 2011 and 2012, Manovich dedicated this past offseason to working on her hitting. She spent most of the winter hitting off a tee, trying to become a better contact hitter.
“I just knew ultimately that I had to go in there and hit,” she said. “If I could show (Coultas) I could hit, then there's nothing else I could do as long as I'm doing my best. That's what I did, and that's all I wanted to do.”
Manovich earned her spot during Point Park's early-season trip to Florida, where the Pioneers played their first 10 games of the year.
“Our spring training, it was pretty apparent who our starters would be,” Coultas said. “I just stuck with them.
“That infield really stuck together,” she added. “That team won a lot when that infield was together.”
Besides her improved hitting, Manovich demonstrated sure hands at first base, not committing an error all season.
“Fielding I never have to honestly work on,” she said. “I worked on it a lot in high school. It became something I really enjoyed, and I really liked playing in the field. It was just kind of more or less a natural thing for me.”
While Manovich experienced her most success this season, so did Point Park. The Pioneers finished the season 31-13, the most wins in Coultas' seven seasons as a coach.
Coultas credited the team's seven seniors, including Manovich, for the success this season.
“The chemistry of them, being here all four years together, really helped our success,” she said. “They started to really play as a team. They started to play for each other, which I haven't seen in a while. It's hard at the college level to get that.”
Manovich said although the first three seasons of her collegiate career were difficult, she enjoyed her senior season. She compared the Pioneers to the Franklin Regional team that won the WPIAL championship her senior season.
“Having two seasons of my softball career being part of a team that wins and makes records and does something great is always just a good feeling for anybody,” she said. “It's an accomplishment, and it's something we really strived to do this year because we knew we had the talent and we knew we had the opportunities to do some good things. We capitalized on that, and we all kind of came together. It's awesome because you don't get that every year.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.