Sophomore catcher to anchor Baldwin's offense, defense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Kayla Eberst led the Baldwin softball team in several offensive categories last season — as a freshman catcher.
Eberst led the squad in batting average (.471), slugging percentage (.971), at-bats (70), hits (33), runs scored (22), home runs (5), triples (7) and RBI (18). She tied for the team lead with six doubles, and struck out only five times all season.
As the Lady Highlanders' starting catcher, Eberst, who is considered a Division I prospect, also contributed signficantly defensively.
She helped spur the Lady Highlanders to a WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berth in 2013. Baldwin dropped an 11-10 decision to McKeesport in the first round to end up with an 11-9 overall record.
Head coach Samantha “Sam” Kuharic is optimistic that with all the young talent back from last year, Baldwin will be a strong WPIAL playoff contender in 2014.
“Our team will compete every game and put ourselves in contention for a playoff spot,” Kuharic said.
Eberst is one of eight returning starters for this year's club, including the sophomore pitching tandem of Jaimie Schleicher and Ana Hale, who also played outfield positions a year ago.
The Lady Highlanders' five other returning starters are seniors Melissa Paterni (first base) and Breanna Meyer (right field), and sophomores Ashley Brady (shortstop), Charlotte Nieman (third base) and Mallory O'Brien (center field).
O'Brien finished with a .448 batting average, scored 18 runs, and led the team in stolen bases (8) and sacrifices (5) in 2013.
Schleicher hit .397 with a .662 slugging percentage last season. She clouted four home runs, scored 19 runs and had 16 RBIs.
Hale batted .333 and had a .404 slugging percentage, while Nieman finished with a .317 batting average and .383 slugging percentage.
Brady, who played second base as a freshman, hit .254, scored 14 runs, and was not caught once in seven base-stealing attempts last year.
There are nine sophomores on Baldwin's varsity roster; many of them played together on youth and travel teams before starting their high school careers.
Others to watch include juniors Alexa Vona (IF), Katie Higgins (OF) and Jordan Bogaski (OF); as well as sophomores Barb Spegar (IN), Maddie Becker (IF) and Emma Ranft (C).
Leading freshmen prospects this year include infielders Alexis Palermo and Samantha Whampler, and outfielders Katie Knezevich and Mariah Pacella.
The Lady Highlanders won three of their final four regular-season games to clinch third place in Section 4-AAAA last season.
The top four teams in the section were Canon-McMillan, Peters Township, Baldwin and Bethel Park.
Trib Total Media contributed to this story. Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Coyotes proliferate despite year-round hunting
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Rossi: Pirates must pay for Mr. Right
- Burnett’s farewell tour wishlist has just 1 item: Pirates World Series
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Pirates notebook: Infield prospect Hanson used to playing elders
- Sawchik: Should McCutchen really get a huge salary bump?
- Kentucky senator Paul’s outside-the-Beltway thinking draws voters
- Blaze rips through Salem house