South Allegheny southpaw dominates Charleroi
Brenna Pribanic nearly was flawless.
The South Allegheny sophomore left-hander pitched a one-hitter on Tuesday as the Gladiators shut down visiting No. 5 Charleroi 2-0 in a WPIAL Section 4-AA softball game, the Cougars' first loss.
Jordan Swarmer's fourth-inning triple was the only Charleroi hit off Pribanic, who struck out six and walked one.
South Allegheny (4-1, 2-1) scored single runs in the first and third innings against Charleroi right-hander Jen Tilghman, who yielded just five hits.
“I just tried to change speeds,” Pribanic said. “I threw a lot of different pitches today, and my defense was really good behind me.”
Pribanic has pitched all five of South Allegheny's games with only a 7-6 loss to section favorite Steel Valley smudging her record.
“She kept us off-balance,” Charleroi coach Trey Tilghman said. “She's the first lefty we've seen this year. You've got to be ready for anyone when you get up there to hit. She pitched a great game.”
So did Charleroi's Jen Tilghman, who struck out four and walked one.
Shannon Connors doubled home a run in the first to give South Allegheny a 1-0 lead before the Gladiators added an insurance run on a double steal in the third after Julia Giannandrea doubled and Pribanic singled.
Charleroi (4-1, 2-1), which plays Bentworth on Wednesday, had outscored its previous opponents 45-12 and was coming off back-to-back double-digit victories over Brentwood and East Allegheny. But the Cougars, who entered the Trib Total Media Class AA rankings this week for the first time, couldn't find any offense against Pribanic.
“She has been phenomenal,” South Allegheny coach Hal Minford said. “I've never had a player work as hard as she does. She's a perfectionist.”
Minford, a former Point Park coach in his sixth season at South Allegheny, has been encouraged by this year's team as much as any — and that includes the 2011 squad that finished third in the WPIAL and qualified for the PIAA playoffs.
“This group is the greatest group of students, the greatest group of kids you would ever want to be associated with,” said Minford, who also serves as an assistant principal at South Allegheny. “They've got a 3.7 grade-point average. I don't know how many (individual) 4.0s there are on this team.
“They're gamers. They've got that killer instinct. They just don't always show it.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.