Westmoreland Campus Clippings: Local softball pitchers shine as freshmen
The adjustment period for a few area softball pitchers has been like their throwing speed on the radar gun: glove-popping fast.
Freshmen Bailey Parshall, Meadow Uncapher and Dana Vatakis have jumped into the pitching circle with urgency and efficiency.
The former Westmoreland County stars are taking the momentum from their notable high school careers to the Division I level.
Parshall, one the most overpowering pitchers in WPIAL history when she played at Belle Vernon, won her debut for Penn State, striking out eight in 41⁄3 innings in a 10-2 win over Ball State at Fort Myers, Fla. The lefty followed that appearance with 13 strikeouts in a 3-2 victory over Syracuse at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Durham, N.C.
Parshall (2-3) has 37 strikeouts and five walks in 262⁄3 innings.
Uncapher was expected to start her college career at Seton Hill after leaving Mt. Pleasant, but a coaching change there and one at St. Francis (Pa.) guided her to Loretto. Uncapher, who also played first base in high school, showed she can handle the pressure in the circle with two complete games in her first two starts: wins over Savannah State, 7-1, and Cleveland State, 9-3. She is 2-0 and has not allowed an earned run.
The Northeast Conference took notice of Uncapher’s quick start: She was named the conference’s rookie of the week.
Vatakis , like her counterparts, pitched deep into the WPIAL playoffs as Monessen’s ace. She was the winner for Robert Morris in her second appearance, a 7-1 victory against Delaware State. She gave up five hits in the win that came at the Lancer Launch in Farmville, Va.
Former Hempfield ace Morgan Ryan, meanwhile, recently earned her first win at Notre Dame. She allowed five hits and one earned run in a 4-1 win over Liberty at the Puerto Vallarta Challenge in Mexico. Ryan, a sophomore, has five appearances for the Fighting Irish.
Saint Vincent: The Bearcats are the favorite to win the PAC as evidenced by their top billing in the preseason coaches poll.
SVC finished 22-10 last year after winning the PAC in 2016.
Towson: Freshman third baseman Chloe Poulich (Mt. Pleasant) singled and stole home in a 3-2 victory over Marshall in the Coastal Carolina Tournament in Conway, S.C.
Indiana State: Redshirt junior Collin Liberatore (Greensburg Central Catholic) has a new school after sitting out a year because of NCAA transfer rules. The former Pitt pitcher who went 3-1 with a 6.00 ERA in 10 appearances as a freshman in 2016, had a quality start in his debut with the Sycamores (3-0). Liberatore pitched five innings, allowing five hits and three runs on 77 pitches in a 13-7 victory over Jacksonville.
Ohio: Redshirt freshman pitcher Jack Liberatore (Greensburg Central Catholic) made his first collegiate start for the Bobcats in a 6-4 victory over Wofford. He threw 31⁄3 innings and allowed three hits and two runs.
Seton Hill: The Griffins moved up a spot to No. 4 in the NCBWA Atlantic Regional rankings. The team opens the season Saturday at No. 8 Winston Salem State.
Point Park: Sophomore guard Michelle Burns (Hempfield) was named to the All-River States Athletic Conference First Team. She averaged 14.2 points and 4.2 assists.
Women’s indoor track & field
Virginia: Redshirt senior Bridget Guy (Hempfield) keeps raising the bar. Guy has broken the school pole vault record three straight weeks, the latest instance coming over the weekend at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, S.C. She cleared 14 feet, 41⁄2 inches on her first try at the meet, a mark that ties her for seventh best in the nation. Guy earned ACC Field Performer of the Week for her efforts.
Guy is building toward the ACC Championships, which will be Thursday through Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .