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Pine-Richland softball returns to playoffs

| Monday, May 13, 2013, 4:09 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
The 2013 Pine-Richland softball team is enjoying its most successful season in seven years.

It has been seven seasons since the Pine-Richland Lady Rams softball team has qualified for the playoffs, and the first time current coach Patty White has helped guide them there.

In her second season running the program, White guided the Lady Rams to the best section mark the team has seen in almost a decade (8-4) and has the squad going in with confidence.

“This is our first time making the playoffs since moving to Quad A. This is my fifth year with the team,” said White, who spent three years as an assistant before becoming head coach.

One of the keys to success is that the pitching has held up.

Izzy Tortorice pitched last year but really enjoyed a breakout season as a senior.

“We lost eight seniors, but the nucleus of the team was starters,” White said. “We had to fill some spots, but we felt we had a good team despite the losses.

“We used Izzy exclusively this year. She is a control-style pitcher. She throws very few strikeouts and very few walks, but if she gets in a jam, she bears down and gets the runner out.”

Stepping up and having good seasons were players like catcher Alyssa Clark, shortstop Hannah McNulty, first baseman Julia Frazier, center fielder Maura Kelly and second baseman Steph Zentz.

With the playoffs upon them, White said the team has to stay sharp.

“We had some hard practices last week,” she said. “We worked on the outfield by hitting balls over their heads and had them hustle under fly balls. I have the infield working, and we worked on base running, something that has lacked a little lately.”

The team spends an hour on hitting each day, because White said if her squad can get some timely hits, it can win any game.

“The kids are proud to be one of the spring teams that made the playoffs,” White said. “The kids are thrilled to get in.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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