Leechburg's Young named Leader Times softball player of the year
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LEECHBURG, SENIOR, PITCHER
Armstrong County had its share of strong pitchers and strong hitters this softball season, but no one did both with the same efficiency as Kenzie Young.
Young did it all as one of only two seniors on Leechburg's 29th consecutive WPIAL playoff team this spring. She finished the year with a 9-6 record and 1.67 ERA in the circle and a .500 average and five home runs at the plate.
For her exceptional season as both an offensive and pitching standout, Young is the 2013 Leader Times Softball Player of the Year.
“From the very first practice at the beginning of the year, I was really nervous about what would happen with so many young girls on the team,” Young said. “I felt as a team captain, I got to help the younger girls grow and have fun, on and off the field, and a lot of them really grew in the sport.”
Young set an example on the field by being dominant in everything she did. In 96 innings pitched, she struck out 139 hitters. On offense, she spent the year in the heart of the Blue Devils' lineup and finished with 24 RBI and 23 runs scored.
As impressive as her pitching numbers were, it's Young's offense that will be on display in college at Carlow, where she has been recruited as a shortstop. That's fine with Young, who prefers making an impact with the bat.
“Honestly, I like hitting home runs better. I just like the offensive part of the game,” Young said. “Striking people out is a great feeling, but I always play shortstop in travel ball. Every time we make a double play or I make a diving catch, that really gets me excited.”
Young also kept a historic perspective on her senior season. She was the only remaining starter from Leechburg's 2010 WPIAL semifinal team, and she still calls her game-ending strikeout in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Mt. Alvernia the best moment in her career.
With the school's potential move from the WPIAL to District 6 hanging over the season, Young is proud of the fact that she and her teammates accomplished so much against the tougher competition in District 7.
“Before the season, we kept reading how Vincentian was going to run over everyone in our section, so when we beat them that first time (7-6 on April 5), that was a really big high for us,” Young said.
“Everyone really got along on our team, and we had a fun year as friends. With all the talk about Leechburg going to the (District 6) Heritage Conference, I was glad we showed how good we can be in the WPIAL.”
West Shamokin, Jr., SS
Clowser was the Wolves' best offensive player with 10 RBI, 13 runs scored and seven steals, and the .370 hitter struck out just twice all year.
Apollo-Ridge, Sr., SS
Geracia brought power and consistency to the middle of the Vikings' lineup with three homers, 22 RBI and a .574 average.
Redbank Valley, Sr., P
Jones posted a 17-3 record with a 1.14 ERA, and she had 108 strikeouts against just 20 walks to pitch the Bulldogs to the District 9 final.
Freeport, Sr., 3B
The power-hitting Massart had a team-high 28 RBI and six home runs to go with her .481 average while fielding the hot corner.
Freeport, Sr., P
The Yellowjackets' No. 1 hurler was 8-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 84 2⁄3 innings, and she helped her cause by hitting .417.
Redbank Valley, Sr., 2B
Redbank's clean-up hitter emerged this year for an area-best 33 RBI, a .466 batting average and a .760 slugging percentage.
Leechburg, So., SS
The Blue Devils' No. 4 in the order homered twice, had 32 RBI and scored 20 times with a .459 average.
Kittanning, Sr., 1B
Toy powered the Kittanning offense with a .585 average that put her in the WPIAL's top 10, but she also had the power for six home runs.
Ford City, Sr., SS
The leadoff hitter for the Sabers set the table with a team-best .407 average, but she also drove in 13 runs.
Alex Bell Redbank Valley, Sr., CF
Morgan Deal Karns City, Jr., 2B
Taylor Dilick Apollo-Ridge, Sr., C
LeeAnn Gibson Karns City, Fr., P
Karlie Hill Freeport, So., 2B
Emily Lindsey Freeport, Sr., C
Tori Lowry West Shamokin, Jr., C
Alexis Roenigk Freeport, Jr., SS
Lindsay Rowe Leechburg, Jr., 2B
Terra Schall Kittanning, Jr., SS
Karlee Smith Ford City, So., 2B