Jeannette softball opens season in strong fashion
An old sports adage suggests that to get to the next level, a team must beat those already there.
If that is more truth than cliche, the 2014 Jeannette Lady Jayhawks softball program may have taken its initial steps toward the next level.
Jeannette opened up play this season with a non-section loss, but followed that up with two big Section 3A wins over the two teams which occupied the two spots ahead of Jeannette is last season's standings, Riverview and Leechburg.
Before starting section play, Jeannette traveled to Penn Hills last Tuesday and hung tough with a team three classifications above themselves until an error-riddled, eight-run fifth by Penn Hills sunk the Lady Jayhawks.
Jeannette began section play last Thursday in their home opener against Riverview, the team both Jeannette head coach Zac Karas and starting pitcher Nicole Hall identified as the key team to beat in Section 3.
Jeannette used a 15-run, 22-hit attack to easily dispatch of Riverview, 15-5 in five innings. Hall pitched a complete game in relatively easy fashion.
The Leechburg game was much more difficult, but the results were just as impressive as Hall dominated on the mound striking out nine and surrendering one run in another complete-game victory.
“Nicole was great in the Leechburg game,” said Karas. “She was hitting all of her spots and really fielded her position well.”
Hall faced her toughest challenge in the bottom of the seventh when Leechburg, trailing 3-1, put runners on second and third with two outs and their number 3 batter in the lineup at the plate.
Hall was able to get the Leechburg batter to ground out harmlessly to Sarah Pitzer at shortstop ending the game and sealing Jeannette's second section win of the season.
Karas knows how important it is for his team to pile up wins early in the season. “The team knows how special this season can be,” said Karas. “Beating those two teams the way we did shows that we can close out and win games against good teams.”
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.