Franklin Regional learning from losses in tougher section
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The competition in Section 1-AAAA softball is just as difficult as Franklin Regional coach Jim Armstrong expected.
And that's just the way he prefers it.
“This is probably the best section in the WPIAL,” Armstrong said. “We knew going in it was going to be tough, and we think we can match up with anybody.
“I'm happy with where we are. I'm happy to be in this section. It's softball at its best.”
The difference between 2012 and 2013 is clear for the Panthers (6-7, 2-6), who dropped their third straight game with a 9-1 loss to Hempfield on Monday. Franklin Regional won Section 2-AAAA last season, triumphing in 11 of 12 section games and finishing with a 17-3 overall record.
The Panthers started this season hot, winning five of their first seven games. But since section play began, the Panthers are finding it more difficult to win games. Two of the section losses came by one run, and another was by two runs.
“The difference is maybe (by) making one or two mistakes against these teams, you open the door for them and they capitalize on it,” Armstrong said. “Maybe in years past, we could overcome those things. I think that we realize that. We're trying to do our best with it, but you've got to play your best game.”
Armstrong said one of the major issues facing the Panthers is a lack of depth.
Starting third baseman Alexa Fike is out with mononucleosis, leaving sophomore Jessica Sammorone to start in her place. Star pitcher Samantha Johnson graduated after last season, and senior Dana Bacharach has replaced her as the team's top starter.
“We just don't have those other kids to step up,” Armstrong said. “I think that's kind of one of our problems. And I think we're just pressing ourselves. I think we're trying too hard now, and hopefully we can settle down a little bit.”
Armstrong did praise the efforts of senior centerfielder Courtney Roperti and senior catcher Kaelin Jackson, who have stepped up as team leaders.
The Panthers entered the week needing to win and get some help in order to qualify for the playoffs. At 2-6 in the section through Monday, they stood in sixth place — two and a half games behind third-place Norwin for the final playoff spot in the section with four section games remaining.
Franklin Regional was scheduled to host Connellsville on Tuesday, in a game that ended past the deadline for this week's edition. The Panthers will travel to play fourth-place Penn-Trafford at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Armstrong said even if the Panthers miss out on the postseason, he doesn't regret the move to a more competitive section.
“We're going to learn from (this season),” he said. “Our seniors are working really hard at it. We've got a positive attitude about it, and we're just going to play each game one at a time — like we always say.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police charge New Florence man in St. Clair officer’s killing
- Penn State coach fires offensive coordinator
- Travelers advised to arrive 2 hours early for flights from Pittsburgh International Airport
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash
- Indiana Twp. liver transplant recipient, 2, takes steps toward normal life
- Police officer fatally shot in New Florence; suspect in custody
- Aliquippa wins 16th WPIAL title, ends South Fayette’s 44-game winning streak
- Four downs: Steelers might still be Adams’ best bet
- Zatkoff’s, Malkin’s heroics not enough as Oilers down Penguins in shootout
- Thomas Jefferson uses defense, running game to capture WPIAL title
- As historic breakup nears, Alcoa works to redefine its ‘advantage’