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Intangibles make Jeannette grad Cortazzo stand out for Gannon softball

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 11:39 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Gannon University
Kirstie Cortazzo is a senior leader for Gannon University.

There's no denying the tangible, on-field contributions that Kirstie Cortazzo gives to the Gannon University softball team. A mere glance at the stat sheet reveals that.

But for Cortazzo, a Jeannette High School graduate and Gannon's senior shortstop, her intangible contributions are just as significant, said head coach Tom Jakubowski.

“She's the leader of our team,” he said. “She's our rock. She's the person I go to.”

Seniors are generally expected to be team leaders, but the fact that Gannon is an especially young team this year has made that role even more crucial for Cortazzo.

“She's the kind of player that every coach wants to play for him,” said Jakubowski. “I asked her to lead by example and she does that. She is the leader of this team. If everyone on this team put in as much effort as she does, we would be very difficult to beat.”

Cortazzo embraces that role.

“Softball is my life,” she said. “I love this game. I am passionate about this game. When I play, I play hard all the time and I don't know how to not play hard. I love my teammates, so (if they look up to me), I enjoy that.”

Cortazzo has been out of the lineup for the past week but is expected to return soon. She leads the team with a .707 slugging percentage and is in the top five in runs (10), hits (22), RBIs (14) and batting average (.379).

Gannon is 14-12 overall and 7-5 in the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Games against IUP and Clarion were scheduled for early this week, but results were not available at press time.

The team hosts double-headers against California and Mercyhurst this Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Weightman produces

Brian Weightman, a senior on the Division I St. Bonaventure baseball team, continues to be one of the squad's most productive players this season. In a 12-7 win over Niagara last Wednesday, Weightman had two singles, an RBI a stolen base and a run scored. The Jeannette grad had three hits in an 8-3 loss to George Mason on Friday. He added another hit in an 8-6 win over George Mason Saturday.

The senior outfielder is third on the team with a .306 batting average to go with a .435 slugging percentage and a .404 on-base percentage. He has two home runs, 10 RBIs and nine walks.

St. Bonaventure is 8-20 overall and 2-8 in the Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bonnies host Fordham in a three-game series this weekend.

Ault gets two RBIs

Jeannette grad Jordan Ault caught two games as Bethany College was swept two double headers over the weekend. Ault, a senior, had a single and two RBIs in a 5-3 loss to Geneva on Saturday; he was also behind the plate in a 10-6 loss to Case Western on Sunday.

Ault has appeared in 11 games, starting 10, and has a .296 batting average. He has eight hits, nine RBIs, a .333 slugging percentage and a .412 on-base percentage.

Bethany entered the week 12-9 overall and 7-4 in the NCAA Division III Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC).

The team is scheduled to host Waynesburg today then visit the Yellow Jackets Saturday.

Cortazzo runs

Jeannette grad Delaney Cortazzo continues to be used as a pinch-running specialist in this, her freshman year on the Division II Fairmont State softball team.

Cortazzo was used as a pinch runner in the first game of a double header against Charleston on Saturday and the first game of a double header against West Virginia State on Sunday.

She also saw time in right field in game two of Sunday's double header. The impact she has on the base paths is evident in the fact that Cortazzo has seven runs scored despite not starting a game this season.

She also has two hits in six at-bats.

The Fighting Falcons entered the week 19-13 overall and 10-8 in the Division II Mountain East Conference (MEC) hit the road for double headers against West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday and Glenville State on Sunday.

Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.

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