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Playoff run has Canevin softball excited about the future

Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Kylee Sonson tosses a pitch during Bishop Canevin's 6-5 win over Avella on Monday, May 5, 2014, at Keystone Oaks.

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The Bishop Canevin softball team's showdown with Jefferson-Morgan in the WPIAL Class A playoffs might have ended in a 9-1 loss but it left the team one stop closer to returning to the success it had under longtime coach Bob Jacoby.

“It's getting there,” third-year coach Karen Seitz-LaFianza said. “(Jacoby) left some lofty standards. But the team is getting back there.”

It was an almost disastrous start against the Rockets as the No. 3 seed in Class A had a double and a home run in the first three batters in the top of the first inning.

By the end of the frame, Jefferson-Morgan had a four-run lead.

“That is not the start you want,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “Jefferson-Morgan is a good hitting team and we were hoping to hold them down.”

The Crusaders showed sparks at the plate but couldn't string hits together. Seitz-LaFianza credited Jefferson-Morgan pitcher Madison Ludrosky with keeping her players off balance.

“We were getting people on base,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “The problem was her rise ball. We normally put the ball in play a lot more. We just couldn't adjust to her.”

The Crusaders had less than 24 hours to prepare for the game after they downed Jeannette, 2-1, in the opening round.

Bishop Canevin grabbed the lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI from Caroline Clarke.

Kylee Sonson was a terror on the mound, allowing just six hits and striking out five batters to secure the win. Jeannette averaged more than 10 runs per game this season.

“She is only going to get better,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “She and (her sister Kaitlin, the team's catcher) play all through the summer so they are going to improve.”

The same can be said about the entire team as the Crusaders will not lose a single player to graduation this season.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “You at least see maybe one or two seniors graduate who are role players.

“Losing (to Jefferson-Morgan) and not having to say goodbye to anyone was great. We will all be back and hopefully add a few freshmen for depth.”

The team will move into Section 5-A next season and compete against Cornell, Ellis, Northgate, Serra Catholic and Sewickley Academy. While it will be a new setting, capturing a section title will be a top priority for the Crusaders.

“I don't see why we shouldn't be contenders,” Seitz-LaFianza said. “Sewickley Academy will be good because they only lose a few players and Serra Catholic can't be overlooked.

“But there is no doubt competing for a section title is the expectation next year.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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