Fox Chapel softball out to defend section title
Last season, the Fox Chapel softball team won a section championship with a 10-2 record and finished 11-6. New coach Lisa Hess is confident the Foxes have what it takes to successfully defend their section title.
The Foxes must replace graduated starters Megan Walkowski, a shortstop who hit .455, and power-hitting third baseman Kelsey Feeney, who finished with four homers and a .488 batting average.
“We are returning five strong starters,” Hess said.
The group includes junior pitcher Calle Zmenkowski, who made the all-section team last year all-section junior center fielder Alyzza Guzzie, second team all-section senior catcher Samantha Olbrich senior right fielder Caitlin McEvoy and sophomore Tawnya Holben, who will move from first base to third base.
“We also have a slew of very talented players who all had significant playing time last year, with most of them lettering,” Hess said.
That group includes junior outfielder Kirsten Nestel, sophomore shortstop and pitcher Krystyna Burdelski, sophomore infielder/outfielder Grace Katz, junior first and third baseman Gretchen Angerman and speedy sophomore outfielder Lea Prato.
Promising newcomers include sophomores Eva Speacht, a transfer from Virginia who will play first base and the outfield; sophomore Emma Humes, who will contribute as a pitcher and utility player; and Brianna O'Malley, who will vie for time at first base and the outfield.
“They will both see time and compete to start,” Hess said.
“Right now, all of the varsity players are competing for starting positions, and we have significant depth. Since we lost two key hitters to graduation who will be difficult to replace, we will need consistent hitting through the entire lineup.”
Fox Chapel will compete in Section 2-AAAA with Allderidce, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Penn Hills, Plum and Woodland Hills.
“We will get strong competition from section opponents Plum, Gateway and Franklin Regional, but our expectation is to repeat as section champs and go further in the playoffs,” Hess said.
Marty Stewart is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.