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Chartiers Valley softball finds wins in first Class AAAA season

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Chartiers Valley softball assitant coach Mary Lou Reicoff celebrates with junior Libby Chidlow during the Colts' 3-1 win over Mt. Lebanon last week at Chartiers Valley.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Junior Brittany Kane, left, leads off of third base during Chartiers Valley's 3-1 win over Mt. Lebanon last week at Chartiers Valley.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Chartiers Valley junior Libby Chidlow connects at the plate during the Colts' 3-1 win over Mt. Lebanon last week at Chartiers Valley.

When it comes to setting goals this season, the Chartiers Valley softball team is keeping it simple.

“We just want to win,” junior catcher Libby Chidlow said. “Every time we do, we want to play more and win more.”

The Colts haven't had much trouble finding wins in their debut season in Class AAAA, recording a 4-3 overall and section record. The Colts notched three wins last week, defeating Baldwin, 5-4, Brashear, 8-1 and Mt. Lebanon, 3-1.

Chartiers Valley struck first in the win over the Blue Devils as sophomore Alex Lawrence connected on a single to center field that drove home Brittany Kane from second base.

The Colts extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth as a Chidlow sacrifice brought Karley O'Keefe in from third and a Katy Gibson single to right field drove Jill Dunn home to extend the lead to 3-0.

Mt. Lebanon cut into the Chartiers Valley lead in the top of the seventh when Ally Bianchi singled home a run, but the Colts held on for the win.

The late-game charge by the Blue Devils was welcomed by first-year coach Jeff Reicoff. The Colts used sophomore Maddie Zimmer on the mound, and coming through in the high-pressure situation may turn out to be a good learning experience.

“(Zimmer) did a nice job,” Reicoff said. “Mentally, pitching is a hard gig. You need to be kind of stoic and not show many emotions. She did a nice job moving the ball around and incorporating the changeup.”

The wins were important in the chase for a WPIAL playoff spot. With three playoff spots available for Section 4-AAAA, Canon-McMillan has pulled away from the rest of the section with a 5-0 mark. Peters Township is in second with a 4-2 record, and Chartiers Valley is third at 4-3.

But there is a log jam after the Colts as three teams — Baldwin, Bethel Park and Mt. Lebanon — are within a game of third.

“Every win is important,” Reicoff said. “There are 14 section games, and you don't want to look back at the end of the year and think, ‘well if we made that play we would be in the playoffs.'

“The kids get how important these section games are.”

As they eye a playoff spot, the youthful Colts continue to grow. Chartiers Valley has only one senior in Gibson and four juniors. The rest of the roster is comprised of four sophomores and four freshmen.

While it might seem like a formula for a sub-par season, the upperclassmen said the youngsters have looked good and are a major part of the team's early success this season.

“A lot of the underclassmen are stepping up,” Gibson said. “It just hasn't been the upperclassmen taking control. The young players are filling some big shoes.”

The Colts return to the field today, Thursday, when they host Upper St. Clair. First pitch is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or 412-388-5813.

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