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Penn-Trafford softball team looking to string wins together

Doug Gulasy | Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford junior Ashleigh Yanniruberto connects on a hit in a game against section rival Norwin on Thursday, April 11, 2013. The Warriors lost, 11-2.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Penn-Trafford softball team is searching for consistency.

Two days after picking up the signature win they sought all season by defeating Hempfield for the first time since 2006, the Warriors followed with one of their worst performances of the season in a 11-2 loss to Norwin on Thursday.

“(The Hempfield win) was a real nice win for our team there,” junior shortstop Ashleigh Yanniruberto said. “It also helps us with our section. Then, that loss to Norwin, we lost our way a little bit.”

The Warriors (5-4, 4-3) did follow up the loss to Norwin with a 9-4 victory over Connellsville on Friday, scoring five runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a tie and win the game.

“We hit the whole game,” Penn-Trafford coach Sam DeNillo said. “We hit to them. Connellsville has a nice fielding team, and they made all the plays.”

DeNillo said some of the Warrior's inconsistencies — Penn-Trafford has won back-to-back games just once this season and have yet to reach two games above .500 ­— can be traced to the team's offense. Penn-Trafford scored two runs or fewer in three of its four losses.

“I think this team that I have can hit anybody,” he said. “I know what we can do at the plate. There's games that we do it, and there's games that we don't. If I knew why, wouldn't that be great?”

DeNillo said several of the players worked on their swings in the offseason, and things are beginning to click.

Three different players came through with three-hit games last week: Yanniruberto against Norwin and Cassie Szmyd and Jess Zavolta against Connellsville.

Yanniruberto recently moved to the leadoff position for the Warriors.

With a tight section race unfolding — Penn-Trafford currently holds the No. 3 spot in the section, one game ahead of Norwin and Franklin Regional — a little bit of consistency can go a long way for the Warriors.

DeNillo believes he has the pitching — and the offense — that can compete with any team, including section leader Latrobe (7-1, 6-0).

“I know Latrobe hasn't lost, but any of these teams — including myself — can beat Latrobe,” he said. “We were there. We made mistakes (and) we made errors.

“It's easy to say you make less errors and you get more hits and you win the ballgame, but I still think any of us can beat Latrobe or each other on any given day.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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