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Suhoski relished her leadership position on Baldwin softball squad

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
randy jarosz | for the south hills record
Baldwin senior Abbey Suhoski switched from first base to shortstop this season. Suhoski, who shared the team's captaincy role with junior Melissa Paterni, finished among the team leaders in hitting with a .383 batting average.

The Baldwin softball team ended its 2013 winning season with a trip to the WPIAL playoffs last week.

The Lady Highlanders (11-9) lost a close game to McKeesport, 11-10, in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal round. But the local team is extremely young, and has high hopes for next season.

Abbey Suhoski was the lone senior on the Baldwin varsity roster this spring.

Suhoski relished her leadership role, mentoring the underclassmen, including several freshmen with no varsity experience.

And though her primary position is first base, she gladly moved to shortstop this season to help her team. Along with her defensive skills, Suhoski contributed with consistent production at the plate.

Baldwin head coach Samantha Kuharic has a lot of praise for Suhoski, on and off the field.

“She is a true leader. We lost seven seniors to graduation last year, and had several freshmen starting this year,” Kuharic said.

Kuharic was thrilled with the way Suhoski stepped up and took over the team's leadership role.

“I was sort of outnumbered,” Suhoski said. “But I was able to connect with the underclassmen. I tried to be a good role model.”

Suhoski and junior Melissa Paterni were co-captains.

Suhoski's skills on the diamond were a big part of the team's success.

Kuharic said, “(Suhoski's) talent is unbelievable. Defensively, she's able to fill many roles. She'll do whatever we ask her to do.”

Suhoski, 18, of Baldwin, has been playing fast-pitch softball since she was 9.

She also plays on a summer travel team, the Pittsburgh Lady Roadrunners. Suhoski has tried basketball and other sports, but softball is her passion.

“I fell in love with the game. It draws me in,” she said. “I love the fast pace, and when the ball is coming my way.”

Suhoski had an outstanding .383 batting average and .733 slugging percentage this season.

She finished with three home runs and 18 RBI, and scored 16 runs. And she struck out only three times in 60 at-bats.

The local athlete credits her father, William Suhoski, for much of her success.

“He's been my travel coach for years,” Suhoski said. “He's always able to tell me what I'm doing wrong.

“And Coach Kuharic had a big influence on me also.”

Suhoski will attend Seton Hill University on an athletic scholarship and will play softball. She plans to study actuarial science.

“I really wasn't ready to stop playing softball yet,” she said.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

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