Jeannette softball earn a piece of section title
Pat Solitano told audiences of the film, Silver Linings Playbook, “If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
Jeannette girls softball and head coach Dee Cortazzo stayed positive through a tough one and three stretch to open the season.
And their silver lining?
A 12-game win streak that has lifted Jeannette to 13-3 overall, 10-2 in Section 3-A, a share of the section title and the program's first playoff appearance since 2010, and second overall.
Make that silver linings.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Cortazzo. “They had a goal and stayed focused and positive and it worked out for them.”
Jeannette hung on the brink of the section title at the beginning of last week but still needed to win its final two section games — home games against Springdale and St. Joseph — to clinch.
Cortazzo did not want her team to overlook two of the weaker opponents on their schedule, and the Jayhawks certainly did not in beating Springdale last Wednesday, 11-1, and St. Joseph last Thursday, 15-2.
Cortazzo planned to start junior Nicole Hall in both games, but Hall could not go against Springdale because of illness, so Cortazzo turned to freshman Mary Katherine Paulone who tossed a two-hitter to help Jeannette to the win.
“Mary Katherine has been solid,” said Cortazzo. “She is settling in and the nerves are starting to go away.”
Hall came back for the St. Joseph game and tossed her own two-hitter. The Jayhawks played a solid game behind Hall — something that is becoming a trademark for the team.
“We need to continue to play good defense,” said Cortazzo. “We have been consistent. Everyone is doing their part and making plays.”
As the playoffs approach, Cortazzo plans to scrimmage at least one Class-AA team to show her hitters some faster pitching. The playoff seedings and pairings will be announced by the WPIAL today.
WPIAL Section 3-A:
Jeannette (10-2) (13-3)
Leechburg (10-2) (11-4)
Vincentian Academy (8-4)
Riverview (8-4) (10-6)
St. Joseph (3-9) (3-11)
Springdale (3-9) (3-12)
Ellis School (0-12) (0-12)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.