West Mifflin's Flore earns 1st-team all-state honors
Paige Flore is at it again.
The Slippery Rock recruit from West Mifflin who was the Daily News Softball Player of the Year in 2014 is among 20 WPIAL players selected to the Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association all-state teams.
It is a select group, dwarfed by the sizeable list of almost 300 players chosen in four classifications.
More than half the WPIAL's 20 players were first-team selections, including Flore, a right-handed pitcher who led the WPIAL with 167 strikeouts.
She was among just four WPIAL Class AAA players recognized and joined two other Class AAA first-teamers: Mt. Pleasant third baseman Paige Hertzog and Greensburg Salem shortstop Claire Oberdorf.
Greensburg Salem right-hander Melissa Wagner, a Pitt-Johnstown recruit, was named to the Class AAA second team.
“When my dad texted me congratulations, I didn't know really what he was talking about,” Flore said. “I didn't honestly think anything like that would happen. I wasn't thinking about all-state teams.”
As a senior, Flore was 16-3 with a 0.81 ERA. Her final game was a one-hit, 1-0 loss to Moon in the WPIAL quarterfinals in a game that was scoreless until Moon scratched out a run against Flore in the seventh inning.
“Tough way to lose a game,” she said. “But I feel like the objective has always been to get better. I'm happy with how it's going so far. I've just been telling myself that now I have to prove myself again. It's a challenge that I enjoy. There's really no pressure to perform.”
Flore has been pitching in summer tournaments for the Cyclones, a Westmoreland County-based travel team, before departing for Division II Slippery Rock on Aug. 22 to prepare for her first fall season at the NCAA level.
“I'm working on all my pitches this summer. I'm working on changing speeds and attacking hitters more aggressively,” she said.
“We're facing a lot of players who are going to college. It's different than high school. It's been tough lineups from top to bottom. I'm not worried about strikeouts, even though I was a strikeout pitcher in high school.
:I can still strike people out, but a ground ball is the same thing as a strikeout to me.”
Flore and the Cyclones are set to play in their sixth and final tournament of the season in Columbus, Ohio, beginning Friday.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.