Saegertown softball

Saegertown’s Rhiannon Paris (left) and Alyssa Arblaster react after making a play during last week’s game against Union.

The Saegertown softball team is having a historic season. The Lady Panthers are in the PIAA semifinals for the first time in program history and have a chance to make a state championship appearance.

Saegertown (16-4) will play DuBois Central Catholic (21-2) at Westminster College today at 4 p.m. The Lady Cardinals are the District 9 champions and state playoff regulars. The team has made the state semifinals in five of the past six seasons.

The Lady Cardinals beat Forest Area 10-0 in the District 9 championship game before rolling Greensburg Central Catholic 4-2 and West Greene 8-2 in the state playoffs.

The DuBois Central Catholic offense is averaging 11.7 runs per game with a team batting average of .447.

“We know DuBois Central Catholic is a strong team, but so are we. We know we’re going to have to work to keep them off the bases but we’re prepared. We know this is going to be an entirely different game than the last one we played,” Saegertown head coach Jennifer Bowes said. “Union was a long ball team, DCC is a traditional get ‘em on and move ‘em over style of play. We’ve been focusing on staying sharp and building confidence.”

Leading the Lady Cardinals’ offense is Emma Suplizio with a .528 average, 36 RBIs, seven doubles and two home runs. Kali Franklin has a .513 average and a team-best 37 runs scored. Kayley Risser is hitting .457 with 26 RBIs. Jessy Frank and Lauren Davidson are each hitting .453 while Madi Hoyt is averaging .452.

In the circle, the team has turned to Melia Mitscavich. Mitscavich has started all four playoff games for DuBois Central Catholic and has a 1.50 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 28 innings of action. Morgan Tyler, the starter for most of the year, is 12-2 with a 3.06 ERA. Tyler has 82 strikeouts in 80 innings of work and 35 earned runs.

For Saegertown, the team is powered by sophomore pitcher Mikaila Obenrader. Obenrader has a 1.05 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 93 innings of work with 14 earned runs.

Offensively, Hailee Gregor paces the team with a .475 average. Freshman Rylie Braymer has a .465 average with 21 runs and 15 RBIs. Obenrader has five home runs on the season and a .463 average. Senior Brittany Houck has three homers and a .405 average.

“We believe a Saegertown win will be possible if we continue to play clean defense and to adjust to breaking balls at the plate,” Bowes said. “We know the pitching is going to get tougher and tougher so making adjustments throughout our at-bats is going to be key to stringing hits together and scoring runs.”

Saegertown defeated Cochranton 12-8 to win the District 10 championship. The Lady Panthers then beat Elk County Catholic 6-0 and Union 1-0 in eight innings to reach the final four.

The weight of reaching the state semifinals for the first time in program history is not lost on second-year head coach Bowes and the youthful Lady Panthers.

“The excitement level from this journey and this team’s accomplishments is just overwhelming. We’ve had some real highs and lows as we were trying to figure out our lineup and try to build the right chemistry on the field,” Bowes said. “I’m not sure if any of us realize the magnitude of what we’re in the middle of, but we do know we’re going to continue to enjoy the ride and love every second we have left together. Our goal now is to finish it now. One game at a time.”

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at atopor@meadvilletribune.com.

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