California girls are low on numbers, not expectations
Third-year California Area head softball coach Earl Doman knows his team is facing the same problem as many other Class A schools.
“Staying healthy will be a key since we only have 11 players,” Doman said, who served as an assistant for five years prior to taking over the program.
“That and pitching are the keys.”
Despite the limited numbers, Doman does have five players who are entering at least their third year as starters, and the quintet of players will provide him with 17 years of experience in the starting lineup.
Leading the way are two seniors who are entering their fourth year as starters: the battery of pitcher Christina Puhnaty and catcher Elizabeth Scales.
Two more seniors, second baseman Emily Sabo and centerfielder Ashley Metzler, enter their third season in the starting lineup.
Junior shortstop Tristan Lint also enters the season as a three-year starter.
Senior Tiffany Kent will play first base, and junior Kelsea Lincoski rounds out the infield at third base.
Sophomore Rachel Wilkerson will handle the left field duties, while freshman Destiny Gudel is in right field.
A pair of sophomores, Alexa Angelo and Madison Dobas, will provide the team with depth as they can play multiple positions.
The Lady Trojans are coming off a 7-12 season that included a 13-8 loss to Riverview in the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
It marked their first playoff season since 2009.
California is in the deep Section 2 A along with seven other teams.
They include Monessen, Frazier, Jefferson Morgan, Serra Catholic, Carmichaels, Mapletown and West Greene.
Can the Lady Trojans make it back to the playoffs for a second consecutive season?
“The season will be a success if we play above .500 ball and make the playoffs,” Doman said. “I expect us to be competitive.”
Bill Hughes is a feelance writer for Trib Total Media.