Jeannette freshman pitcher posts first no-hitter
Many freshman pitchers might expect to see small snippets of time on the mound in their debut varsity seasons — Mary Katherine Paulone makes the most of ever opportunity given to her and pitched a no-hitter last week.
Paulone, a freshman at Jeannette High School who splits time between pitching and second base, pitched 13 strike-outs during last week's 10-1 win over Geibel Catholic.
Paulone has been playing softball since she was 5 years old and gave T-ball a try. Her older siblings, Anna and Thomas, were always active in sports and she wanted to join in the fun. Paulone continued playing in recreational softball leagues until last year when she began playing with a travel league. Her travel team, Intensity, is a 14U team in Harrison City.
“I love softball,” Paulone said. “I love every mental aspect of it. I love being part of a team and knowing if you mess up they can pick you up.”
She became a pitcher at age 9 when the rec team she was on didn't have any pitchers in her age group. “I thought I'd give it a try and ended up falling in love with it,” she said. “I loved being a leader and it was fun to me.”
When Paulone is on the mound, all of the stresses and worries of a typical day melt away.
“It's just me and the batter and the catcher. I don't have to worry about anyone else. It's just focus — that's what I like about it.”
Pitching is an aspect of softball that can require more practice and Paulone said her weekly schedule definitely includes time carved out for improving her skills. Her mother and father, Annette and Tom Paulone, take the time to act as her catchers. With three children active in sports, the Paulones have been active sports parents for a long time.
“They've always been my coaches and motivators since I started.”
Paulone loves softball, but she has room in her heart for two athletic loves. She joined the golf team last fall as the group's only female golfer. She began golfing with her father and brother — the younger Thomas Paulone is on the football and golf teams at Waynesburg University —and wanted to join the high school.
After high school, Paulone wants to attend college to study pre-med. She doesn't know what school she wants to attend, but she plans to continue to play softball while studying to become a radiologist.
“I know it will be hard, but I want to play softball in college,” said Paulone, who said the field of radiology began to appeal to her over the course of several emergency room visits with her siblings for one sports injury or another. “I was always interested in seeing the X-rays — (in my family) I had lots of opportunities to see those X-rays.”
This year's softball team gives Paulone a good feeling.
“We're definitely meshing,” she said. “We have a special connection. If we stick together as a team, we could go far.”
She describes the team as a positive group of girls who are very close. Her coach, Dee Cortazzo, is someone very special as well.
“She's (Cortazzo) one of a very few coaches I've ever put my trust in. I'm really glad I had the opportunity for her to be my coach. I don't know what I'd do without her. She makes all the right decisions for this team,” said Paulone.
The goal for Paulone this season is take every opportunity given to her and respond by doing her best on the mound and when it's her turn at bat.
Paulone is active in school with Ette Kette, science club and on Student Council, where she serves as freshman secretary.
Paulone would like to thank her parents and siblings for always being her personal coaches and “always being proud of me and never giving up on me and pushing me.”
Specifically, she wants to thank her older brother and sister for “being role models in athletics and academics and being a good person. For always being there for me when I needed them and always being my best friends.”Paulone is thankful for her teammates and coach and hopes they enjoy a great season together this spring.
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5154.