Brentwood softball team bolstered by nine returning letterwinners
The Brentwood softball team is gearing for a return to the WPIAL Class AA playoffs in 2014.
The Lady Spartans, who wrapped up a playoff berth last season by tying for second place in Section 4-AA, have nine returning letter winners on this year's club.
“We have 13 girls on the team,” said Jen Ditoro, Brentwood's veteran head coach. “We have hopes of once again being competitive in the section.”
Three senior, two junior and four sophomore returning letter winners provide ample reason for Ditoro's promising outlook.
The seniors are catcher Sydney Bauer, shortstop Alexis Gaughan and outfielder Lexi Bubacz.
Bauer and Gaughan are the team's co-captains this season.
“Sydney leads by example. She is quiet and unassuming but is a true softball triple threat; she can run, hit and field,” Ditoro said. “Sydney has been one of our most consistent players in the last four years and we expect big things from her again this season.
“Alexis is a strong player, literally. She packs a punch at the plate and is a very sound defensively at shortstop. She has the ability to play just about any position on the field and can smoothly make those transitions when necessary. Her speed is also one of her biggest assets.”
Bubacz is in her second year on the team, making the transition from track to softball in 2013. She will play left field.
“She is an adept outfielder who has the ability to come up with the big play when we need it,” Ditoro said. “At the plate, she is more of a power hitter and fits in nicely in our center part of our batting order.”
Right fielder Natalie Andrews and third baseman Miranda Klein are the only juniors on the 2014 squad.
Sophomores who earned varsity letters a year ago are second baseman Alecia Folino, outfielder Lesley Murrio, center fielder/third baseman Taryn Sherry and pitcher Alexis Wagner.
“One of our team's strengths last year was our middle infield combination, and we hope we can capitalize on that again this season,” said Ditoro, who is assisted by her father, Jim Attanucci, and volunteer assistant Roger Gaughan. “We also had solid play from our outfield, which came up with some big plays to help us pull off a few very close games.”
Last spring, Brentwood tied for second with Steel Valley in league play, behind section champion Greensburg Central Catholic. South Allegheny, Charleroi and East Allegheny rounded out the final section standings.
The Lady Spartans fell to Mohawk in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs to end up 9-5 overall.
“The teams to beat, for sure, will be Steel Valley, who has a strong young team, and Greensburg Central Catholic, who historically brings a solid team to the field,” Ditoro said. “South Allegheny and Charleroi are not far behind and are also tough competition.”
Rounding out the Brentwood squad are Taylor DiNardo, a junior outfielder; along with freshmen prospects Elissa Kortz, a third baseman/utlility player; Hannah Livingston, at first base; and Stephanie Thomas, a catcher/outfielder.
“We are focusing on making the playoffs again this season, but our ultimate goal is always to (win) a section championship and to go as far in the playoffs as we can,” Ditoro said. “We were able to keep our bats going last season with solid hitting from our starting lineup, and are working toward continuing that performance this season as well.”
The Lady Spartans are scheduled to open section play Friday at home against Charleroi.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or email@example.com.