ShareThis Page

Greensburg Salem returns 7 starters from championship team

| Thursday, March 27, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem batter Kellie Hutchinson hits an RBI sacrifice fly off of St. Mary's pitcher Andria Copelli to score Claire Oberdorf in the fifth inning during their PIAA Class AAA opening-round softball playoff game Monday, June 3, 2013, at Hampton High School in Hampton. Greensburg Salem defeated St. Mary's, 2-0.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem shortstop Claire Oberdorf and center fielder Karly Mellinger collide while chasing a pop fly hit by St. Mary's batter Andria Copelli in the second inning of their PIAA Class AAA opening-round softball playoff game Monday, June 3, 2013, at Hampton High School in Hampton. Greensburg Salem defeated St. Mary's, 2-0.

Last season, the Greensburg Salem softball team toppled opponent after opponent on its way to a 22-3 record and a WPIAL Class AAA championship.

This season, with a roster boasting seven returning starters, the Golden Lions have their sights set on defending that title.

However, repeating last year's success may prove to be a tough mission, considering the contributions that were lost with last year's graduating seniors.

They will have to do without solid-hitting catcher Taylor Mehan, as well as staff ace Jayne Oberdorf. Oberdorf, now a freshman at Marist College, threw 15 shutouts and was named Tribune-Review softball player of the year for the second consecutive season.

In order to climb their way to back to the top of Class AAA this season, coach Jody Morgan knows her team will have to execute in different facets to compensate for the graduation of their shutdown pitcher.

“When you lose a Division I pitcher and a great catcher, well, I think that it could be a lot more difficult this time around,” Morgan said. “Our hitting and defense will be key this season; we have to excel in those areas.”

Greensburg Salem looks to be loaded with offensive talent. The Lions offensive attack will be led by junior shortstop Claire Oberdorf, Jayne's younger sister.

“Claire Oberdorf, to me, is the best player in the WPIAL. She has an uncanny ability to hit any kind of pitch that is thrown at her,” Morgan said.

Morgan's confidence in her all-section shortstop is certainly not unfounded. Last season, the younger Oberdorf batted .463 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. After posting such statistics as a sophomore, Oberdorf prefers to keep her expectations simple for her junior season.

“My goals this year are just to do what's best for the team,” Oberdorf said. “I just want to play and do what needs to be done to win.”

Also returning from last year's squad are seniors Karly Mellinger and Kellie Hutchinson. Mellinger, an all-section performer last season, led the team with a .513 batting average. She will bat second and roam the outfield for the Lions. Hutchinson, a four-year starter, will follow Mellinger in the order. On defense, Hutchinson will play a key role as the team's second basemen, restoring last season's double-play combination with Oberdorf.

Despite the graduation of major contributors from last year's team, Morgan is confident this season's team is experienced and skilled enough to be a force in Class AAA once again.

“The girls that we lost last season can't be replaced,” Morgan said. “But we have a great group of girls this season, and I think that we can be just as successful.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.