ShareThis Page

Penn Hills softball learns from WPIAL elite

| Saturday, May 20, 2017, 1:00 a.m.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills shortstop Kiana Drahasz makes a diving stop against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Yasmine Logan and Sarah Salego before the start of the third inning against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Caroline Webb is congratulated by coach Rich Burkhart after hitting a triple against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Jasmine Wooding slides safely past Woodland Hills catcher Emily Carpenter tying the game 2-2 Apil 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Yasmine Logan competes against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills first baseman Makayla Delo stretches for the out against Woodland Hills' Dayna Calloway on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Riplee Burkhart competes against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills' Sarah Salego competes against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills left fielder Caroline Webb competes against Woodland Hills on April 26, 2017, at Penn Hills.

Facing the WPIAL's cream of the crop each game can be a difficult task.

The members of the Penn Hills softball team were hit with that harsh reality this season as they had to face the likes of WPIAL semifinalists Hempfield and Latrobe in the newly-formed Section 2-6A.

“I think they finally realized the level of competition when we get to play Latrobe, Hempfield and Norwin. It finally dawned on them that they need to take the next step in order to compete with it,” first-year coach Rich Burkhart said.

The Indians (6-12, 2-8) didn't seem to have an answer against Hempfield and Latrobe as they were outscored 60-3 in the four matchups.

Burkhart cited the work those types of programs put in during the offseason as what sets them apart, and he hopes the Indians take a page from their playbook.

At the beginning of the season, Burkhart thought he would be without his best player and daughter, Riplee, for the whole season. However, Riplee Burkhart, who was recovering from offseason elbow surgery, was able to play in 11 of the team's 18 games.

After Riplee, who will play shortstop at Mercyhurst North East next year, returned, her father noticed a difference in the play and confidence level of the members of the team.

“It helped immensely with her at second base. Her bat and getting on base was key for quite of few wins because when she did get on she stole a lot of bases,” Rich Burkhart said.

“Even the opposing coaches, when they realized she was on, their whole temperament changed because they knew she was going to run. It changed the confidence level in some of the girls with knowing that she was out there. They knew she was capable of getting on and helping us out.”

Riplee Burkhart led the team with a .488 batting average, while senior captain and shortstop Kiana Drahusz was named second-team all-section.

Sophomore second baseman and outfielder Caroline Webb finished with a .452 batting average and joined Drahusz as a second-team selection. Freshman third baseman Yasmine Logan hit .444 band was an honorable mention.

“She started off slow with her hitting but came around and started to hit well, which was a bonus for us. She played well. When Riplee came back, I moved Caroline from second base to the outfield, which is her natural spot,” Rich Burkhart said.

“She made some great strides from the beginning all the way to the end. She did really well. Hopefully, she comes back next year and continues on with where she's going with that.”

The Indians earned two wins over Allderdice in section play and finished on a three-game winning streak, including a 4-3 win over Oakland Catholic in extra innings.

The Oakland Catholic win was flanked by a 6-0 win over Vincentian Academy and 8-5 win over Woodland Hills.

“I wish things went a little bit better and we got a couple more wins, especially in our section. I think we could have done that, but we were missing some key players at the time. Overall, I like the progress in some of the girls,” coach Burkhart said.

“Hopefully, next year they come back with a better attitude knowing now what they have to face when they go against Hempfield and Latrobe. Hopefully, we can make the playoffs next year, which I think we can if we work hard during the offseason.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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.