Deer Lakes senior catcher captures VND softball honors

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

Player of the Year — Hannah Blinn, Deer Lakes, Senior, Catcher

Deer Lakes softball players called Hannah Blinn the “team mother” because of her dependable leadership and ability to nurture teammates through adversity.

The senior catcher and captain watched over the team with an instinctive patience and guidance that only a four-year starter could provide.

She also led by example at the plate, proving to be arguably the toughest out on a firm-hitting team.

For her efforts, Blinn is the Valley News Dispatch Softball Player of the Year.

Plum's Jordan Seneca, Leechburg's Kenzie Young, Highlands' Gabby Miller and Deer Lakes' Tiffany Edwards also were considered.

Blinn, an Allegheny College recruit, hit .448 (30 for 67) with 35 RBI for the Lancers, who returned to the WPIAL Class AA championship game and made the second round of the PIAA playoffs for the second straight time.

Deer Lakes played in 15 playoff games during her three seasons.

You struck out only once all season. Where does that disciplineat the plate come from?

A lot of it is from knowing that if I get it in play, anything can happen. I have become such an aggressive hitter. I am a hitter, though, not a home-run hitter.

The team came back from a 7-0 deficit in the semifinals to defeat Beaver, 11-7, and get back to the WPIAL Class AA championship game. What do you remember most from that game?

(When play resumed after a 93-minute weather delay) I was behind in the count and I told myself to make the next one hurt. I hit the next pitch and it was the greatest feeling. That third inning, the energy in the dugout was amazing.

The team plays backward softball to relax during some practices, with batters hitting from the opposite side of the plate. Who is the best backward player on the team?

CiCi (Sarver) is pretty good as a lefty. It's a lot of fun, but it's hard.

The team has a tradition of going out for Chinese food before the playoffs. Word is you got an interesting message in your fortune cookie?

It said, “Great things are yet to come.” That did happen, and it was inspirational even though we lost (in the WPIAL final).

You're headed to Allegheny College, which had a big season and returns most of its starters, many of whom are from the A-K Valley. Do you think you'll have a chance to play catcher?

I think I do. The girl there (Valley grad Katrina George) is pretty good. If I can hit, I'd be OK with moving to the outfield or first base.

You work at Michael's arts and crafts store?

Yes. I love to craft. I get that from my mom. I am making a Fourth of July T-shirt with spray paint.

Your sister, Sarah, was a freshman starter at third base. What advice can you give her if she moves to catcher next season?

She is going to be in a big leader role. I told her don't be afraid to be the leader.

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