Penn-Trafford softball has blend of experience, talent
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It didn't take long for Penn-Trafford softball players to figure out new head coach Monica Cox. That's a good thing, because Cox isn't the type of person to waste time.
“I'm extremely structured,” said Cox. “Everything is fast-paced in our practices. There's no standing, there's no breaks. We're moving, we're moving, we're moving.”
Cox led Mt. Pleasant to a 11-10 record and the first round of the Class AAA playoffs last season. When she arrived at Penn-Trafford, she was struck by the difference moving up a classification to AAAA was.
“It's a big jump from Triple-A,” she said. “You come here and you're like, doubled at each position. You're backup is almost as good as your starter. Last year, I was struggling to put a team together. This year, it caused me to lay my head down knowing that kids that could start over at Mt. Pleasant are going to be on the bench.”
The Warriors aren't a team that needs to be rebuilt under the new coach.
They finished 13-6 overall and 8-4 in Section 1 before bowing out in the quarterfinal round of the WPIAL playoffs to eventual WPIAL and PIAA champion Canon-McMillan.
Penn-Trafford is a blend of old and new. There are three senior letter winners to go along with two freshman standouts in the starting lineup. The seniors are first baseman Cassie Szmyd, shortstop Ashleigh Yanniruberto and catcher Jess Zavolta, who led the Warriors with a .475 batting average last year.
The freshmen are center fielder Sarah Koscho and second baseman Meghan Marasti, a soon-to-be Division I prospect, according to Cox.
“She's a Hoover,” said Cox, comparing Mirasti's defensive prowess to a vacuum. “You're not getting it past her, it's just not happening. And her bat is just as smooth.”
Junior Nicole Smith will be the starting pitcher for a team trying to navigate a stacked section that includes Hempfield, Latrobe and Norwin. Four of the past seven WPIAL titles were won by teams from Section 1.
“We do have, I believe the hardest section,” Szmyd said. “It's a good thing because it pushes us to be better. You have to be on 100 percent during a section game.”
The blistering practice sessions will give the Warriors stamina and a mental edge, she added. Those are perfect ingredients for a run down the home stretch of the season.
“The section title is our goal,” Szmyd said. “We definitely have the talent and the potential.”
Ed Phillipps 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.