Hempfield's Montgomery signs on with UConn
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Alaina Montgomery has known where she wanted to go to college for awhile now. This week, she made it official.
Montgomery, a senior at Hempfield Area High School, will sign a letter of intent to play softball at the University of Connecticut on Thursday, the first day of the collegiate early signing period.
She had made a verbal commitment to the school during the summer before her junior year.
“It's a nice campus,” Montgomery said of UConn. “I'm looking forward to being in a new environment and meeting new people.
“I'll be playing for a good coach in coach (Karen) Mullins.”
Mullins has been the head coach at UConn for 29 seasons, amassing a record of 823-561-5. The Huskies are coming off a 2013 season in which they finished 26-27.
Prior to choosing UConn, Montgomery was also receiving interest from Albany, Lehigh, Dartmouth and Minnesota.
Montgomery was an all-section performer in Section 1-AAAA the past two seasons. She played predominantly in the outfield in 2012 and 2013, but also served as the Spartans' catcher for the final five games last season.
Hempfield coach Bob Kalp may use Montgomery behind the plate again this season, but she could wind up back in the outfield as well.
“Where she'll do the team the most good is where she'll play,” Kalp said of Montgomery. “We have a whole new crop of kids coming in this year.”
Kalp's 2013 squad that reached the WPIAL semifinals was largely made up of seniors.
As a result, Hempfield's infield will have a decidedly different look when the team hits the field in the spring.
“We're going to have a lot of young kids playing,” Kalp said. “Are we playoff-caliber? I don't know, but we'll be OK.
“That's what makes it fun to coach.”
Montgomery is looking forward to seeing what kind of team she'll be a part of in her final year with the Spartans.
“We should be a pretty good team,” Montgomery said. “We have some good freshmen pitchers coming up from what I've heard.”
No matter what position she plays, Montgomery will be a key player for the Spartans this season.
She's been the team's offensive catalyst from the leadoff spot in the batting order the past two years.
Montgomery batted .390 as a sophomore and .275 as a junior. Kalp's faith in her as a leadoff hitter hinges on the fact she doesn't strike out very much and has a knack for getting on base.
“She draws her share of walks,” Kalp said. “She has good speed.
“She gives us opportunities to steal and score on a base hit.”
Kalp sees Montgomery is an outfielder at the collegiate level.
“I think she fits better as an outfielder,” Kalp said. “She has the arm, but she's not very big.
“They have bigger catchers at that level.”
Montgomery credits Kalp with helping her to become a more effective player during her high school career.
“He told me to be motivated to play and to be dedicated in practice to get better every day,” Montgomery said of the advice she's gotten from her coach.
As a senior, Montgomery will take on more of a leadership role for the Spartans, and her coach knows she's ready for that responsibility.
“She's feisty,” Kalp said. “She's a tough kid, and she's strong and athletic.
“She's a real competitor.”
As for her off-the-field pursuits at UConn, Montgomery has not yet decided on a major.
Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers trying to get missing defensive pieces on field
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell
- 22-month-old boy shot, killed in North Side; stepfather charged
- Cole struggles as Brewers continue Miller mastery over Pirates
- Western Pa. played role, was transformed by victory in World War II
- Allegheny County CYF worker arrested on child pornography charges
- Student violinist,Valley School of Ligonier reach settlement
- Pittsburgh developer proposes hotel, restaurant to ‘jump-start’ East Deutschtown
- Pirates notebook: 6 September call-ups include first-timer Diaz
- Youngstown State looking for repeat performance against Pitt