Bishop Canevin senior pitcher learning from experience
Hayley Klein's first season on the mound for the Bishop Canevin softball team was tough.
The pitcher was thrown to the forefront of a team going through a coaching change that lost six seniors from 2011, including pitcher Jamie Kertes, who broke several school records.
The Crusaders finished the 2012 season 5-13, but the senior isn't looking back on last season with hard feelings — it just made her more ready for this season.
“We faced a lot of good teams last year,” Klein said. “I got some experience. The No. 1 thing was getting some confidence.
“It helped me to come out this season and be ready to play.”
Klein's pitching has helped Bishop Canevin jump out to a 3-1 start overall and in section play. Coach Karen Seitz-Lafianza has noticed an improvement from the pitcher.
“The learning experience she had last year has helped,” the second-year coach said. “When you are not good as a team, you learn from your mistakes. You learn to correct it.”
Seitz-Lafianza complimented Klein's drop ball and said the senior is showing more confident body language on the mound.
But maybe the biggest thing Klein brings to the team is a calming presence.
“She has been through this for a year, and the team knows it,” Seitz-Lafianza said. “We also have seniors at shortstop and at second base that are also three-year starters at some position.
“It is a calming effect to the rest of the team because of their experience.”
The presence is needed on a team that is still very young. There are five seniors, no juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen.
“They have stepped up tremendously,” Klein said. “Freshman Alexis Pilch on third base has been great. All the seniors are trying to help the younger players feel welcomed.”
The Crusaders came together last week for a 13-5 road win over Cornell that originally was slated to be a home game but was moved to the Raiders' field due to unplayable conditions at Meyer-Middleton.
Bishop Canevin showed aggression from the opening pitch. A Klein single to right field moved Margaret Clarke into scoring position, and a Cornell error allowed two runs to score. Mackenzie Magnum recorded a single to center field to push the Bishop Canevin lead to 3-0.
The Raiders recorded two runs in the bottom of the first, but the Crusaders pulled away in the second.
A triple from Clarke and a double from Kalista Kelly pushed the score to 7-2, and Bishop Canevin was not challenged the rest of the game.
Klein recorded five strikeouts in the win.
The win moved the Crusaders to 3-1 in Section 1-A as they trail only Sto-Rox and Burgettstown — who have 5-0 marks — and a 3-0 North Catholic squad.
As the team continues its improvement, the Crusaders turn their eyes to big goals.
“We went to make playoffs and go as far as we can,” Klein said. “It has been a great season so far, and I want to keep it that way.”
Bishop Canevin returns to the field today, Thursday, as it hosts Northgate. First pitch is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.