After slow start, Sewickley Academy softball team making playoff push
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The start of the 2013 season was one to forget for the Sewickley Academy softball team.
The Panthers began with a 1-4 record and were outscored 55-24.
But the coaches introduced a simple phrase to help calm the young roster during games — next play.
“The coaching staff has been preaching it,” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “And the team is really buying in. We want to keep looking at the next play. Early in the season emotions ran too high. But everyone is now more even keel.”
Since the rough start, the Panthers have gone 5-1 and have battled their way into playoff contention. The team got its biggest win of the season last week as it beat Bishop Canevin, 3-2.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore Allexa Bartholomew sent a single into left field to bring two runs home. It was a strong start, especially after the Crusaders scored a 15-1 decision over Sewickley Academy earlier this season.
“It definitely made us feel more comfortable,” senior Lauren Gedeon said. “But we have been up 2-0 before and lost. We knew we didn't have total security, but it helped get momentum swung our way.”
Sewickley Academy added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth as an Olivia Henry single to center drove home junior Mackenzie Pryor.
But the Crusaders came storming back in the top of the fifth. Alexis Pilch connected on a double to the left-center gap to drive home two runs and cut the deficit to one.
But the Panthers defense came through in the final two innings, even after Bishop Canevin loaded the bases in the sixth.
“We lost to them pretty bad earlier this season, so it is exciting knowing how much we improved from the last game,” senior Camdin Bartholomew said. “It is exciting for us to get ahead and win the game. It is a milestone for us.”
Savannah Henry got the win on the mound for the Panthers. The freshman has compiled a 6-4 record this season while recording 42 strikeouts.
“She has gotten so much better,” Palmer said. “She was a 14-year-old pitcher used to pitching against 14- or 15-year olds. It was a big jump pitching against 17- or 18-year olds. But she has gotten used to it. Our entire defense is better.”
While the win over the experienced Crusaders showed the progress of the youthful Panthers, it more importantly kept them alive in the playoff hunt.
Burgettstown controls Section 1-A with an 11-1 mark and with two games left, has clinched a playoff spot. But the last two spots are very much open.
Sto-Rox entered the week in second with an 8-2 record, while Bishop Canevin was third with a 7-2 mark. The Vikings and Crusaders played yesterday, Wednesday, and Bishop Canevin also played Burgettstown this week. Results are unavailable prior to this edition's deadline.
While the Panthers need some help, they are not losing hope.
“Last year, we got a taste of the playoffs,” Camdin Bartholomew said. “We want to go back. I would be thrilled if we made it.”
But if Sewickley Academy comes up short of its playoff hopes, Palmer can't complain. The experience the 14 underclassmen are getting right now will pay dividends in the future.
“I love the fact that we are in the stretch run, and we are competing for a spot in the playoffs,” Palmer said. “I don't know if we are going to make it, but kids learn so much from being under pressure. Our best ball is still coming.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
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.
- Steelers notebook: No-huddle gets limited use vs. Texans
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Penguins notebook: Bortuzzo feeling ‘really, really good,’ but still out of lineup
- NHL notebook: NHL postpones game in aftermath of tragedy
- Central Valley girls win 3rd straight PIAA golf title
- MLB notebook: Pirates’ McCutchen named Sporting News All-Star
- Ex-Duquesne High School basketball coach Staples sentenced to probation in drug case
- Police: New Ken drug suspect, Brandon Allen, used wrong name
- Bomb threat found at Franklin Regional High School
- CDC: Pennsylvania, 5 other states to expand Ebola monitoring
- One-day lane restrictions set on Route 30 in North Huntingdon