ALL-STARS: Lipowski earns top honors - SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice
This season, Nanticoke
Area found itself at the heart of many of the biggest moments in Wyoming Valley
And at every turn losing a nine-inning conference
championship, but finding redemption in winning a district title and two state
playoff games Trojanettes slugger Jenna Lipowski was in the mix.
in the District 2 Class AAA playoffs, the 15-year-old Nanticoke native had a performance
for the ages.
In four games, Lipowski went 11 for 13 (.846) with 13 RBIs and
three home runs, including a dagger grand slam she hit in the sixth inning of
a 6-1 victory over Berwick to win the District 2 title.
No one in the conference
was remotely close to matching Lipowskis power output, as she finished the
season with a .521 batting average, 10 home runs and 38 RBIs.
hit three home runs in one game; hit safely in 16 of 22 games; had 13 multi-hit
performances; and was the three-hole hitter all season for the 16-6 Trojanettes.
Lipowski wasnt always so dominant at the dish, saying her first home run
ever came when she was in eighth grade.
Having come a long way in a short amount
of time, Jenna Lipowski, the daughter of Marc and Karen Lipowski, has been selected
The Citizens Voice Player of the Year for 2015.
Lipowski recently discussed her season with staff writer Matt Bufano.
After not hitting a home run until eighth grade, walk me through that transition
from not being a power-hitter, to leading the WVC in home runs.
A: I quit basketball
before ninth grade to go to my batting lessons. After that, I just started going
to the gym, lifting weights and working out a lot. Ive been training with
(hitting instructor) Dennis Smeding like three times a week. I work really hard
at my hitting.
Q: Last year, you hit four home runs and Nanticoke Area was
pretty good. This year, you hit 10 home runs and Nanticoke Area gets all the way
to the state semifinals. What was the difference?
A: We practiced really hard
during the winter. We had a lot of conditioning and then we did a lot of hitting
in the gym when we couldnt be on the field because of the rain. We just
stayed focused at practice and tried to do our best.
Q: What was your favorite
memory from this season?
A: Probably hitting the grand slam to help us win
against Berwick in the District 2 championship. It felt really good. I was just
happy that I could help our team advance. Our team really worked well that game,
really good team effort.
Q: When you bat, your teammates in the dugout go crazy,
screaming and cheering you on. What are they saying and whats the origin
of all that?
A: Everyone on the team has a nickname and they usually say Boom-Town
when I come up because thats my nickname. Usually I hit really good when
they do that.
Q: What are your expectations going forward?
to win a state championship and definitely win districts again. Maybe the conference,
too. Even though we lost the conference (to Wyoming Area), we did a really good
job. It was probably, personally, one of the best games that I ever played in.
Were there any pitchers who gave you some trouble this year?
A: Yeah, Gwen
Glatz (from Wyoming Area) was pretty good. Also the left-handed pitcher (Elyse
Cuttic) from Bethlehem Catholic in our last game was pretty good. All her balls
were on the outside and she was pretty fast.
Q: What are your personal goals
in softball and in life?
A: I want to go to college to study physical therapy
and play softball. I want to play Division I, but thats my dream. D-II or
D-III is fine with me.
Softball All-Stars Announced
Here are the coaches'
WVC Softball All-Stars
First Team: Leandra Ramos, Nanticoke; Gwen
Glatz, Wyoming Area; Lindsey Kwiatkowski, Tunkhannock; Chloe VanGorder, Lake-Lehman;
Sarah Coolbaugh, Wyoming Area; Molly Hampsey, Tunkhannock; Traci Kromko, Tunkhannock;
Talia Szatkowski, Dallas; Emily Wolfgang, Wyoming Area; Rachel Roccograndi,
Nanticoke; Jenna Lipowski, Nanticoke; Maddie Perez, Dallas; Bree Bednarski,
Wyoming Area; Miranda Bohn, Nanticoke.
Second Team: Sydney
Faux, Tunkhannock, Maddie Kelley, Dallas; Maddy O'Donohue, Nanticoke; Kelly
Snyder, Dallas; Paige Mokychic, Tunkhannock; Cassie Konopki, Lake-Lehman; Cassie
Novakowski, Nanticoke; Kylee Saba, Dallas; Kendra Saba, Dallas; Heather Nametko,
Wyoming Area; Kailey Reposa, Tunkhannock; Danielle Krispin, Tunkhannock; Lauren
Maloney, Wyoming Area; Grace Gober, Wyoming Area; Kiera Brown, Nanticoke;
Sydney Kern, Dallas; Amy Bolton, Dallas; Julianna Scappaticci, Wyoming Area.
Honorable Mention: Sarah Traver, Tunkhannock; Karlie Bulford, Tunkhannock;
Jenn Bulford, Tunkhannock; Morgan Briggs, Nanticoke; Vanessa Tocket, Nanticoke;
Kristi Skok, Wyoming Area; Jess Parente, Wyoming Area; Lexi Oplinger, Lake-Lehman;
Abbey Hogan, Lake-Lehman; Sadie Trudgen, Dallas; Olivia Johnson, Dallas.
PIAA: Nanticoke Area
falls in softball semifinals
Stephen Pianovich - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke Areas first two games of the state playoffs, the team jumped out
to big leads and kept the opponent off the scoreboard in the early innings.
Trojanettes were on the other side of that trend Tuesday against Bethlehem Catholic.
to three first inning runs all of which came without any hits and
an 11-strikeout performance from Elyse Cuttic, Bethlehem Catholic ended Nanticoke
Areas season, 5-0, in a PIAA Class AAA semifinal at Blue Mountain High School.
The Trojanettes end their season at 16-6, with a District 2 title and a top-4
Nanticoke Area got off on the wrong foot because of an unusually
erratic opening frame from sophomore pitcher Leandra Ramos.
first three batters all reached base on walks, totaling just 14 pitches between
A wild pitch scored the games first run, and the Golden Hawks went
up 3-0 as Nanticoke Aera shortstop Rachel Roccograndi could not handle a sharply
hit grounder off the bat of Courtney Shupp.
Ramos eventually found her groove.
She didnt walk anyone after issuing four free passes in the first inning,
retired nine in a row at one point and pitched into the fifth inning.
Catholic did not get its first hit until the fourth inning, when the team hit
three singles but left the bases loaded.
The Golden Eagles added five more
hits in the fifth and sixth against Ramos and reliever Miranda Bohn, scoring one
run in each inning.
One run, however, would have been enough for Cuttic, who
helped Bethlehem Catholic reach the state title game for the second consecutive
The hard-throwing southpaw struck out at least one hitter in each frame,
including the side in the second and allowed only five total baserunners.
was fantastic, Nanticoke Area coach Ryan Stetz said of Cuttic. She
moved the ball in and out, she got the ball up on our hands a little bit. She
shut us down while other teams could not this year, thats a credit to her.
also mixed some offspeed pitches with her overpowering fastball to keep the Trojanettes
off balance. Another reason for her success couldve been because she was
left-handed, and the only lefty Stetz recalled his team facing in 2015.
Area catcher Maddy ODonohue agreed with her coach, saying I think
the fact she was a lefty screwed a lot of people up.
a senior, had the best day at the plate of any Nanticoke Area player, going 2
for 3 with a triple. She singled with two outs in the seventh and Stetz put in
a pinch runner, allowing ODonohue to receive an ovation as she jogged off
the field for the final time in a Nanticoke Area uniform. Stetz said he owed it
to the catcher, whom he said put the program on her back.
team was like my family. Moving away from them is going to be hard, its
going to be really hard, a red-eyed ODonohue said after the game.
It was a lot of fun. It was one of the best seasons I ever had in my life,
I dont know what is going to live up to it.
While it was a bittersweet
ending to ODonohues high school career, she is the lone senior in
Nanticoke Areas starting lineup. In fact, seven of the 10 players Nanticoke
Area used Tuesday were underclassmen.
The Trojanettes six-game playoff
winning streak came to an end Tuesday, but it was an experience that was both
memorable and beneficial for the program.
I think (the playoff run) has
a great impact on them, Stetz said referring to Nanticokes returning
players. But were going to start over next year, were going
to put this year behind us. Were going to enjoy that weve gotten this
far, and I think it gives us a great starting point in the future.
Softball: Trojanettes advance to Class AAA semifinals with win over Chichester
Pianovich - Citizens Voice
Just about 24 hours
after letting a five-run lead slip away before rallying for a win in the opening
round of the state softball playoffs, Nanticoke Area found itself in a similar
position on Thursday.
This time for the Trojanettes, however, there was no
drama with a five-run lead. Just a trip to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals.
by a four-run first inning and strong effort in the circle from Leandra Ramos,
Nanticoke Area downed Chichester, 6-1, at Allentowns Patriots Park. Riding
a six-game playoff winning streak, the red-hot Trojanettes will face District
11 champion Bethlehem Catholic on Monday at a site and time to be determined with
a trip to the state finals on the line.
Its definitely been a roller
coaster ride, junior shortstop Rachel Roccograndi said of her teams
run through the playoffs. We had our ups and our downs. (Wednesday) being
6-5, we were a little nervous. But getting that win pumped us up and (Thursday)
we had that same energy.
Wednesdays win was a 6-5 triumph over
Twin Valley in which the Trojanettes blew a 5-0 lead, but went ahead again in
the bottom of the sixth.
They got out to an advantage again with a big first
inning on Thursday. Six of the first seven Nanticoke Area hitters to face Chichesters
Meghan Wimmer reached base, and the first four of them came around to score.
Trojanettes sent nine hitters to the plate in the first inning. Jenna Lipowski,
Miranda Bohn and Vanessa Tocket joined Roccograndi in recording hits and all four
ended with multi-hit afternoons, accounting for eight of the teams nine
Honestly, I didnt think wed score that much in the
first inning, Roccograndi said, but we did, and I couldnt have
Ramos, a sophomore, went to the circle with a big cushion
and said the first inning took a lot of stress off her shoulders,
and she worked through the first three innings without allowing a runner past
Chichesters bats heated up a bit as the game progressed,
but any time Ramos ran into a jam, her defense was there to help. The Eagles
Jenna Cassidy led off the third inning with a double, but was thrown out when
Nanticoke Area caught her being too aggressive rounding second base.
turned an unassisted double play to end the fourth inning, helping Ramos escape
a bases-loaded, one-out jam.
They were on fire today. They were great,
Ramos said of the Trojanettes defense. I was very proud of them.
also got plenty of the outs on her own, striking out eight batters.
Chichester run came in the bottom of the seventh, when Wimmer smacked a two-out
RBI double. Ramos got the next batter to ground out, sending the Trojanettes to
the Class AAA Final Four.
Nanticoke Area will now get a little time to prepare
for Mondays semifinal.
Weve had the same approach, we try
to stay pretty even keel, Nanticoke coach Ryan Stetz said. We dont
get too high when things are going well, we dont get too low when things
arent going well.
410 000 1 6
Chichester 000 000 1 1
Roccograndi (NA); ODonnell, Cassidy, Wimmer (Chi)
Nanticoke Area IP H
R ER BB SO
Ramos, WP 7 8 1 1 1 8
Chichester IP H R ER BB SO
7 9 6 6 4 7
Area softball survives scare in PIAA Class AAA opener
- Citizens Voice
Having played softball since she was four years old,
Nanticoke Area catcher Maddy ODonohue has played on her fair share of teams.
2015 Nanticoke Area squad, though, is special because it operates like a close-knit
family, she said.
No finger-pointing, no getting down when the going gets tough
just high spirits no matter the obstacle.
This was all on display Wednesday,
when Nanticoke Area blew a five-run lead, but showed its resiliency in pulling
out a 6-5 win over Twin Valley in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA tournament.
win advances Nanticoke Area to todays quarterfinals, where it will play
(1-2) Chichester at 4 at Patriots Park in Allentown.
After Nanticoke Area
pulled ahead 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Twin Valley countered with
a five-run fifth, in which the damage could have been even worse.
starter Leandra Ramos, who was pulled in favor of lefty reliever Miranda Bohn,
re-entered the game after Bohn was roughed up. Ramos got out of the inning leaving
two potential Twin Valley runs on base.
We never get down on each other.
We just pick each other up and we just keep going, ODonohue said.
I remember in the middle of that inning, I heard (a Twin Valley player)
say, We got their confidence. You dont have our confidence.
We keep our confidence up with each other.
The Trojanettes came out fighting
in the bottom of the sixth, ultimately featuring Keira Browns infield single
to score Morgan Briggs, who proved to be the game-winning run.
the singles by Briggs and Brown was Rachel Roccograndis double to left center.
the leadoff hitter, finished with two doubles and a single. She also stole home
on a wild pitch in the first inning to put Nanticoke Area ahead 1-0.
was definitely feeling it, Roccograndi said. My first at-bat I hit
the ball really well and I just wanted to keep that energy going throughout the
ODonohues defense behind the plate was also paramount.
She was rarely tested by base-stealers in league play and she showed why, throwing
out two runners trying to steal second base Wednesday.
Shes a phenomenal
catcher. Shes been there for three years as a starter, said Nanticoke
Area coach Ryan Stetz. She is just playing really good and shes a
very strong reason why weve gotten this far.
Stetz also called
ODonohue a veteran leader in an otherwise youthful dugout, as she is the
teams lone senior.
No. 5-hitting second baseman Cassie Novakowski played
a strong game, singling, walking, scoring a run and throwing a perfect strike
to ODonohue from shallow right to throw a runner out at home in the fourth.
2 Softball: Lipowski's slam powers Nanticoke Area to AAA title
Bufano - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke Area coach Ryan Stetz touts third baseman
Jenna Lipowski as being arguably the best hitter in District 2, if not Pennsylvania.
the spotlight as bright as ever, playing for a District 2 championship, Lipowski
showed why Stetzs praise is justified.
On Thursday, Lipowski collected
three hits, including a grand slam, to lead the Trojanettes to a 6-1 win over
Berwick in the District 2 Class AAA Championship.
Great victory for Nanticoke,
Stetz said moments after winning his first District 2 title as head coach. We
wanted to be at this spot. Berwick gave us a great game and were just happy
we came out with the win today.
The win advances Nanticoke Area to the
PIAA playoffs, where its first round game will be against District 3 runner-up
Lipowskis dagger grand slam came in the sixth inning
with Vanessa Tocket, Rachel Roccograndi and Keira Brown on base when Nanticoke
Area held a slim 2-1 lead.
Lipowski, a sophomore who leads the WVC with 10
home runs, said she was looking for a pitch down the middle. She got that pitch
and proceeded to drive it over the center field fence.
I was pretty pumped.
I knew we had it after that, said Nanticoke Area pitcher Leandra Ramos,
whose four innings as starter put the Trojanettes in position to win.
most games this season, Ramos worked in tandem with left-handed freshman reliever
Miranda Bohn in the circle. Ramos pitched the first four innings, and Bohn closed
out the final three frames.
Im just glad that she pitched her heart out
at the end, Lipowski said of Bohn.
Ramos and Bohn combined to allow just
four hits over seven innings.
Lipowski and Ramos were each comfortable in having
Bohn secure the win, as Ramos said, Once she gets in, itll throw them
At the plate, Ramos and Bohn delivered as well, each hitting singles.
base hit was a two-out single in the second inning to score Cassie Novakowski
and put Nanticoke Area ahead 1-0.
All six Nanticoke Area runs were scored with
Weve been doing that a lot this year, Stetz said.
I dont know why or how (we score with two outs), but we hit the ball
Berwicks lone run came in the third inning, an RBI double
by Kylene Welsh to score Reganne Whitmire.
After the game, Stetz humbly deflected
praise to his players, most of whom have played together for at least eight years.
has shared the diamond with most of her teammates dating back to Little League
and said of the District 2 championship: I really wanted this.
great (to win) with this team, Ramos said. Ive been with all
these girls for so long.
Lipowski is one of those teammates who dates
back to playing Little League with Ramos, and is excited to have a chance at a
It feels really great, Lipowski said. Im
excited that we won and everything. Just pumped to go next level.
Area 020 004 0 6
Berwick 001 000 0 1
B: Kylene Welsh (Ber),
Courtney Hummel (Ber).
HR: Jenna Lipowski (NA).
Nanticoke Area IP H R ER
Ramos, WP 4 3 1 1 1 1
Bohn 3 1 0 0 0 2
Berwick IP H R ER BB SO
LP 7 7 6 4 6 3
grand slam delivers a District 2 softball championship
Jenna Lipowski doesnt get many inviting pitches to hit. Such is the life
of one of the premier power hitters in District 2 softball.
Then comes a situation
like Thursday when there is no choice other than to challenge the sophomore. Berwick
attacked and Lipowskis counter punch delivered a knockout.
grand slam in the sixth inning tore open a one-run game as Nanticoke defeated
Berwick 6-1 to win the District 2 Class 3A championship at Wilkes University.
(14-5) won its first district title since winning the D2-2A crown in 2012. The
Trojans will open play in the PIAA Class 3A state playoffs on Monday, playing
the District 3 runner-up Twin Valley (21-6) at 4 p.m. at Wilkes. Twin Valley lost
4-0 to Donegal in the District 3 title game.
The Trojans were clinging
to a 2-1 lead when the sixth inning began. They were getting runners on base,
but except for Leandra Ramos RBI single and Morgan Briggs scoring on a wild
pitch both in the second inning they couldnt push runs across
The sixth looked like it could turn into a similar situation as
Nanticoke had runners on second and third with two outs. Kiera Brown, though,
worked out a walk to load the bases and set the stage for Lipowski.
little time, crushing a pitch to dead center and over the fence.
looking for a ball right down the middle and hoping they wouldnt pitch me
outside or anything, Lipowski said. I just drove it to help my team
Lipowski knew it was gone because of her powerful grunt.
She often makes a noise like a professional womens tennis player when she
hits the ball. Teammate Vanessa Tocket, who was on third base, heard a different
I kind of knew as soon as she hit it that it was gone, Tocket
said. It was just kind of one of those swings. And the sound of the ball
hitting the bat, I watched it and said Thats gone. Im
so proud of her because she works so hard.
Lipowski finished 3 for 4,
continuing her torrid hitting.
Ive said this before. She might
be arguably the best hitter right now at least in the eastern side of Pennsylvania,
Nanticoke coach Ryan Stetz said. She was batting .888 coming into this and
she had three hits today.
Defending champion Berwick (14-5) barely made
a whimper after the grand slam. Moriah Lynn opened the sixth with a single, but
Nanticoke reliever Miranda Bohn retired the next six batters to end the game.
and starter Ramos limited the Dawgs to four hits. Nanticoke has used the combination
of righty Ramos followed by lefty Bohn effectively throughout the season.
scored its only run in the third when Reganne Whitmire singled and scored on Kylene
Welshs double. The Dawgs stranded runners on second base three times.
been to this game the last three years in a row, said Berwick coach Brian
Bridge, whose teams district title in 2014 was the first since 1995. The
year before that, we were one game short of it. Thats a credit to the kids
and the coaching staff I have. I couldnt ask for better coaches.
2 Class 3A Championship
Nanticoke 6, Berwick 1
- Nanticoke 1. LOB - Nanticoke 8, Berwick 3. 2B - Welsh, Hummel. HR - Lipowski.
SAC - Fries, Petty.