Jeannette softball splitting wins with best section teams

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jeannette softball head coach Dee Cortazzo knows a formula that will get her team to the WPIAL playoffs, and through four Section 3-A games, the Jayhawks are on track to fulfill Cortazzo's plan — split with the best teams in the section and sweep the teams at the bottom of the section.

Jeannette took important strides last week by splitting with a very solid Vincentian team and winning by a lopsided score over St. Joseph, one of the teams at the bottom of the section standings.

Jeannette started their week of action last Monday by dropping a game at Vincentian, 5-1 to drop their section record to 1-2. Though Jayhawks pitching held Vincentian to just seven hits, the Jayhawks only scratched out five of their own and could not generate offense.

“We didn't hit the ball at all in the first Vincentian game,” said Cortazzo. “We came back real strong in the second game, though.”

Coming back strong meant 14 hits in the rematch last Wednesday. Six Jeannette players had two hits apiece, and two others registered singles. Jayhawks' hurler Nicole Hall, meanwhile, threw a sold game on the hill surrendering just four hits and walking one on her way to a 10-0 shutout win to earn the season split with Vincentian.

“Nicole pitched very well and our defense was excellent,” said Cortazzo. “There were only two fly ball outs. Nicole really made them hit balls we could field.”

The Jayhawks capitalized on the momentum of the Vincentian win by smoking St. Joseph, 11-0. Hall pitched the first four innings allowing just one hit, and freshman Mary Katherine Paulone added two innings of one-hit ball to cap off the shutout.

“Mary Katherine came in and did a great job for us,” said Cortazzo. “Nicole loved being in the field – it was a nice change for her.”

The freshman's efforts allowed Hall, who almost always pitches for Jeannette, to play some first base.

The St. Joseph's win lifted Jeannette's record to 3-2 in section play and 3-3 overall. The Jayhawks' good start has increased hopes for a playoff appearance in 2013.

“It would be the second time in school history that we made the playoffs,” said Cortazzo. “It would be a good lift for the program.”

WPIAL Section 3-A:

Leechburg (4-1) (4-1)

Riverview (4-1) (4-2)

Vincentian Academy (3-2) (3-2)

Jeannette (3-2) (3-3)

St. Joseph (2-4) (2-4)

Springdale (1-4) (1-5)

Ellis School (0-3) (0-3)

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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