Trib Cup: Franklin Regional softball team on the move again
By Brian Graham
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 11:33 p.m.
Jumping sections may be the toughest task the Franklin Regional softball team will have to battle this season.
After going 11-1 and winning the section title each of the past two seasons in Section 2-AAAA, the Panthers have moved to Section 1 — a section known for its perennial championship contenders and numerous playoff qualifiers.
Coach Jim Armstrong welcomes the challenge.
The Panthers (4-2, 1-1) ended the 2012 season with a 17-3 record after falling to Seneca Valley in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Despite having to replace its ace pitcher, hopes are high that another playoff berth is attainable.
This week, the Panthers softball team is featured for its role in helping Franklin Regional to an 11th-place standing in Class AAAA for the Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award.
“The big difference this season is the section we're in,” Armstrong said.
“I think it's the best section out there, if not one of the top two. I think we're going to be much more focused on what we need to do.
“We know we're the underdog, and we kind of like it like that.”
Replacing a pair of graduates — starting pitcher Sam Johnson (Geneva) and second baseman Savannah Barnes (Slippery Rock) — will be the priority for the Panthers.
Armstrong said he thinks the holes will be filled and a preseason trip to Florida proved as much.
“A few other players opened some eyes because of their play when they got in,” he said. “Heading into the season, I thought someone would be a lock for a position, then I saw someone else play.
“It was the first time that I was able to make a judgment upon what I really thought to what happened ... but getting down there helped this time.”
Franklin Regional went 3-1 on its trip to Cocoa Beach, Fla., outscoring opponents, 36-10.
Senior Dana Bacharach has taken over pitching duties and has a reliable backstop in senior catcher Kaelin Jackson.
Armstrong said the relationship between the duo will be vital in the team's success.
“Where we go is going to be contingent on them making the right pitches,” Armstrong said. “Dana has to be strong and get through some tough innings, but she's a level kid who can do it.
“Kaelin calls a good game, and she's going to (Division I) Maryland Baltimore County College, so obviously someone thinks she's doing something right.”
Jackson hit .460 last season and was an all-section selection.
Around the diamond, Armstrong will field a team with several returning starters.
Seniors Courtney Roperti (center field) and Nicole Berardinell (first base) bring experience, leadership and sharp defensive abilities to the starting lineup. Junior Alexa Fike has found a comfortable home at third base after spending time at second last year. Sophomore shortstop Angela Buccilli has emerged after starting as a freshman.
“Our goal is to focus on the team we're playing that day,” he said. “Ultimately, the goal in the end is to get in the playoffs and win a championship. To do that, you gotta take care of what you gotta take care of.
“We gotta take care of getting a win, and to do that you have to focus on that team right there. Everything else will pan out.”
While Armstrong said he is not sure what his team's identity is, he knows it is focused and will approach each game like it's the most important one on the schedule.
“I think we're very workmanlike,” he said. “They are a tremendous group of girls that do a good job. They go out and do what they need to do and go one game at a time. We always say one pitch, one game, one at bat at time.”
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68
- Steelers notebook: Woodley expects to start Sunday vs. Dolphins
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- Fans of former conservative radio hosts Quinn, Tennent support toy drive
- Greensburg Diocese’s school chief out
- Long-overdue memorial to region’s World War II vets opens
- Baldwin-Whitehall board hits ‘magical line of dissatisfaction’
- Penguins notebook: Malkin to miss 2nd straight game Saturday
- High school basketball roundup: Top-ranked Elizabeth Forward wins opener