Patterson among talented local collegians
Several area softball players made solid contributions to small college teams with two of these student-athletes earning all-conference recognition.
Junior shortstop Apryl Patterson received honorable mention All Ohio Athletic Conference honors following a successful 2012 season at Muskingum.
A graduate of Belle Vernon Area, Patterson led Muskingum with a .420 batting average.
Overall she played in 36 of the Fighting Muskies' 40 total games with 34 starts. She also stole four bases, walked six times and was hit by a pitch once.
Patterson was the team's fourth-leading hitter in 2011 with a .323 batting average and led Muskingum in runs scored with 27.
In 2010, she batted .310 with nine stolen bases.
Muskingum finished the 2012 season with a 23-17 overall record and 10-8 OAC mark.
Sophomore right fielder Jenna Dorazio was Waynesburg University softball team's top hitter in 2012.
A native of Cokeburg, and graduate of Bentworth, she batted .392 while playing in 28 of the Yellow Jacket's 36 games with 26 starts. Dorazio led the team with five home runs, six stolen bases, a .676 slugging percentage.
She was a first-team All-President's Athletic Conference selection and was the league's Hitter of the Week twice in 2012.
Two other local Waynesburg players were freshman center fielder Emily Sorton from Elizabeth Forward High School and junior outfielder Jess Schinkovec from Beth Center High School.
Sorton batted .310 with two extra-base hits, two stolen bases in 25 games with 11 starts and 29 at-bats. Schinkovec hit a home run in 15 at-bats with two starts.
Waynesburg finished the season with an 18-18 overall record and 11-7 PAC mark.
Nichols leads WJU
For the second year in a row, Belle Vernon Area graduate Ashley Nichols pitched the most innings for Wheeling-Jesuit's women's softball team.
A junior right-handed pitcher, Nichols won four games while pitching 134.2 innings. She appeared in 27 of the team's 51 games and made 21 starts with 76 strikeouts.
In 2011 she won eight of the team's 14 total victories and also led the team in complete games (14), starts (23) and appearances (32). She had 111 strikeouts in 147.2 innings pitched
At perennial power Belle Vernon with Patterson, Nichols compiled a 51-19 career record with a 1.28 ERA and led Belle Vernon to the 2007 WPIAL Class AAA title and a runner-up finish in 2008. She struck out 608 batters in 472 innings with six no-hitters, including two perfect games and a half-dozen one-hitters
Ringgold graduate Stephanie Koontz concluded her freshman season by helping the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg's women's softball team achieve a winning season in 2012.
A first baseman from Monongahela, Koontz batted .297 this past spring and was the team's sixth leading hitter.
Koontz played in 31 of Pitt-Greensburg's 35 games with 24 starts, two doubles, two student bases and one home run.
Defensively, she made just one error in 149 chances for a .993 fielding percentage.
Pitt-Greensburg finished the season 18-17 overall with an 11-7 record in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.