Times Leader 2009 softball all-stars

Jenn Harnischfeger, shortstop Nanticoke, junior
The slick-fielding shortstop played a key role in Nanticoke’s run to the Division I East title. Harnischfeger displayed excellent range and an accurate throwing arm. She batted .367, including two home runs and two doubles. A hard-nosed competitor, she served as a leader on the field for coach Gary Williams’ squad.

Amanda Cardone, catcher Nanticoke, junior
The strong-armed Cardone was one of the best defensive catchers in the WVC, allowing just two stolen bases. She was a solid performer on offense, providing several key hits to help battery mate Sarah Bertoni. “She’s a very steady player with good instincts,” said Nanticoke coach Gary Williams, whose team was 12-5 and won the WVC Division I East title.

Sarah Bertoni, pitcher Nanticoke, sophomore
A budding superstar, Bertoni had a sensational rookie season for the Trojanettes The 5-2 right-hander threw a perfect game and followed it with a no-hitter. She posted a 12-4 record, with 143 strikeouts in 104 innings, and walked just 22. Bertoni also was one the best fielding pitchers in the WVC, and her coolness under fire made her an intimidating presence.

Nanticoke Area wins Division I East title

Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

Sarah Bertoni’s first mistake of the day put the Nanticoke Area softball team in a one-run hole that, at the time, appeared to be too big of a one to dig out of, particularly the way Hazleton Area’s Shannon Salvaterra was pitching .Her second mistake is one that she will certainly have no trouble dealing with.
Bertoni’s fielder’s choice to third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Angela Hillan with the deciding run in Nanticoke Area’s 3-2 victory, Saturday afternoon at Hanover Area High School. The wins gives the Trojans the Division I East championship and the second seed in next week’s District 2 Class AA tournament. With the loss, Hazleton Area drops to the No. 3 seed in the Class AAAA tournament.
“I was really nervous, I knew I had to hit the ball hard,” Bertoni said. “I was trying to hit the ball to the right side but it didn’t really work out that way.”
On the mound, Bertoni was perfect through the first three innings before giving up a leadoff infield single to Candice VanHorn to start the fourth. Two batters later, Bertoni left a pitch up over the plate to Salvaterra who belted it over the left field fence for a two-run homer and a 2-1 Hazleton Area lead.
“We tried to keep the ball off the plate as much as possible,” Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams said. “We try to throw a lot of different pitches, we didn’t throw as many fastballs today. Every pitcher is allowed to make one mistake.”
Salvaterra’s homer came an inning after Nanticoke Area took a 1-0 lead when Jen Harnischfeger scored on a two-out hit by Amanda Cardone. Following the Cardone hit, Salvaterra settled in and retired 11 of the next 12 batters before pinch-hitter Katie Wolfe reached on an error with one out in the seventh.
Hillan singled to right to put runners on first and second and Harnischfeger tied the game with a double to the gap in left-center to put runners on second and third. Hazleton Area coach Vince Trivelpiece attempted to protect against the ground ball by bringing in an outfielder to play the infield before intentionally walking Sammi Gow to load the bases.
That brought Bertoni to the plate who hit a ground ball to third and, after Hillan got a great jump from the bag, slid in to beat the throw from the third baseman with the game-winning run.
“We came through like we had to,” Williams said. “We got the clutch hit when we needed it. That ground ball at the end was just enough to get the job done.”

Citizens' Voice Athlete of the Week
Sarah Bertoni

Nanticoke Area
Sophomore, Softball
Hometown: Nanticoke
Age: 16
Family: Parents, Eileen and Bob Bertoni; Brother, Robert.

Accomplishment: Bertoni was unhittable last week. She threw the first perfect game of her high school career in Nanticoke Area’s 10-0 win over Tunkhannock. Four dayslater, Bertoni pitched a seven-inning no-hitter to give the Trojans a 2-0 win over Crestwood and sole possession of first place in Division I East. She combined to strike out 19 batters in the two games.


Favorite subject: English
Favorite book: ‘A Child Called It’
Favorite movie: ‘Yes Man’
Favorite singer: Beyonce
Favorite food: Chicken tenders
Favorite junk food: Funfetti cookies
Favorite sport: Baseball
Favorite team: Philadelphia Phillies
Favorite athlete: Jimmy Rollins
Sarah’s dream prom date: Channing Tatum
Away from softball, Sarah enjoys . . . hanging out with friends and family.
If Sarah could switch places with any athlete for one day, she’d like to swap spots with . . . Olympian Shawn Johnson.
Sarah’s favorite thing about softball is . . . winning.
Sarah thinks the hardest thing about softball is . . . staying in shape.
Sarah’s biggest nemesis in the conference is . . . Coughlin’s Kendra Hayward.
The game this season that Sarah is most looking forward to . . . District 2 final.
If Sarah could strike out any batter in history, she’d like to fan . . . her brother.
Sarah’s biggest role model has been . . . her dad.
On the horizon for Sarah . . . attend college and study to become a physical therapist.
Sarah’s perfect day would be . . . winning the lottery, going on a shopping spree, pitching a perfect game and getting a puppy.

Trojanette Softball Outlook
Citizens' Voice

Head coach: Gary Williams
2008 record: 11-4, District 2 Class AA champion
Outlook: The Trojanettes lost pitcher Jess Higgins and Shannon Kowalski at first base, but they return seven starters from last year’s district championship team. Depth and experience will be key factors for Nanticoke as will the return of Jenn Harnischfeger (shortstop), Amanda Cardone (catcher) and Sara Bertoni (pitcher).

Trojanettes are team to beat
Jill Snowdon - Citizens' Voice

With 16 underclassmen on its roster, Nanticoke Area might not be the team one would expect to be the favorite in Wyoming Valley Conference softball. But those underclassmen enter the varsity level with a 45-0 junior high record. Add in a solid group of returning players and the Trojanettes are the unanimous choice among conference coaches to make a run at another District 2 title.
“We have freshman and sophomores who have won two District 2 titles in junior high,” Nanticoke Area coach Gary Williams. “I think we should have a pretty good year.”
Sophomore Sara Bertoni has shown promise in her first two starts on the mound for the Trojanettes. Jenn Harnischfeger is one of the best athletes in the area and she returns at shortstop, while Amanda Cardone is a retuning catcher.
“I think we’re solid all the way around,” Williams said. “Sara is pitching extremely well. We’re solid defensively and we have good depth. We have kids who can step in if anyone gets hurt.”
Watch for Hazleton Area to make a push for the top spot in the Division I East standings. The Cougars have a new coach, excellent hitters and a tough defense.
Dallas is coming off an 11-3 record and a District 2 Class AAA title, but coach Joyce Tinner said her team isn’t necessarily the team to beat in Division I West.
“I’ll be honest, we’re very green in a lot of areas,” Tinner said. “We have three sophomore pitchers and a freshman pitcher and as they go, we go. This is a rebuilding year for us and I like the way our league is set up because every game is competitive. It makes the whole season productive.”
Valley West is the early favorite in the West. The Spartans defeated Dallas three times last season and welcome back a talented pitcher in Maria Langan.
Like Nanticoke Area, Northwest Area has a number of quality underclassmen who have playoff experience. The Rangers return five key starters in Michelle Cragle (pitcher), Mandi Black (pitcher/third base), Jess Campbell (first base), Kayla Rutkoski (second base) and Kim Howanitz.
“Michelle and Mandi are comfortable on the mound because they know they have each other and they have a good defense behind them,” Northwest Area coach Ryan Miner said. “It gives you more confidence when you have a solid defense behind you. Right now we are a little hesitant in the batter’s box. We have to get more aggressive on offense.”
Lake-Lehman has just 13 players on its roster but the Black Knights are a solid contender in Division 2, while Hanover Area also returns a bevy of talent making the Hawkeyes a darkhorse in Division 2.