Meadville Tribune

May 23, 2013

H.S. SOFTBALL: Panthers set to begin defense of District 10 title

By Lisa Byers
LISA BYERS/Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — The Saegertown softball team has some big-time goals this postseason.

But the Lady Panthers are fully aware of what can happen if you look too far ahead and have the utmost respect for each and every team they may encounter, beginning with Reynolds.

Saegertown faces Reynolds today at 5 p.m. at Allegheny College’s Robertson Field in the semifinal round of the District 10 Class A tournament. The winner advances to the District 10 title game on Memorial day where it will face the winner of today’s matchup between Iroquois and Sharpsville.

“We’ve seen them play three times,” Saegertown coach Mark McKissock said of the Raiders. “It looks like they are a well-coached, good, fundamentally sound, athletic team. They hit well.

“It’s looks like they are a good team. Everyone that is here deserves to be here. Anyone can beat anyone. Nothing is for sure.”

Saegertown had the Raiders (13-6) on its regular season schedule. But with both teams forced to make up several region games throughout the season, they were unable to reschedule.

Saegertown did, however, get in a game against Sharpsville, who shared the Region 1 crown with Reynolds. McKissock said the two teams are pretty comparable.

“All of those teams down there hit well, field, throw and pitch well, too,” he said.

The Panthers (15-3), who have lost just one game against a fellow Pennsylvania team this season, do those things pretty well also.

Saegertown has seven of its nine batters hitting at least .300 on the year led by leadoff batter Rachel DiBartolomeo, who is hitting .522 with a .716 slugging percentage. DiBartolomeo also has an on-base percentage of .613.

Following DiBartolomeo is batterymate Arianna Hanley, who is hitting .516, followed by Lexi Palmer (.448), Courtney Lilly (.377), Jaricka Simmerman (.348), McKenna Morian (.327) and Tori Eckart (.300).

“I think we are playing well,” McKissock said. “Are there some things we can be doing better? Yep. There are always things you can do better.

“But I am comfortable with where we are mentally and physically. They are working hard.”

This is after all what the Panthers have been playing for all season long. They want to defend their District 10 Class A title and advance further in the state tournament than a year ago. They want to be on the diamond at Penn State University’s Lion Softball Park on June 14 competing for a state title.

“This is what it’s all about,” McKissock said. “I told them (last night), ‘It started March 4 and this  is what it is all about.’ It’s time for them to do their thing and for us to get out of their way.

“You need a break now and then in the tournament. Hopefully we won’t get any bad breaks and we can hit the ball.”