Citizens' Voice Softball All-Star Team
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice
School: Nanticoke Area
Position: Third base
The leagues premier power hitter launched nine home runs on the
season. Prior to the start of the D2 playoffs, she was hitting .517
with 31 RBIs in 18 games.
School: Nanticoke Area
Concordia (New York) recruit was an excellent leadoff hitter and four-year
starter for the D2 Class AAA semifinalist Trojanettes. Hit well over
.300 with four homers.
School: Nanticoke Area
A steady presence in the top of Nanticoke Areas lineup, Browns
batting average hovered around .500 much of the season. She also hit
25 WVC players selected to all-state softball
After boasting 24 selections last season, the Wyoming Valley Conference
had yet another strong showing in this year's Pennsylvania High School
Softball Association All-State teams.
Released Tuesday, the PAHSSBCA All-State team features 25 WVC selections
across seven teams.
Two-time PIAA Class AA champion Holy Redeemer leads the pack of local
schools with seven all-state players.
According to the coordinator of the teams, they were put together
with "over 220 high school coaches and 160 sportswriters"
as being part of the process.
Seven WVC freshmen were selected, including Redeemer's Tiana Wren,
who was one of the league's four first-team players, joining Jenna
Lipowski (Nanticoke Area, third base), Celine Podlesney (Hazleton
Area, pitcher) and Megan Trivelpiece (Hazleton Area, first base).
The Pennsylvania Player of the Year was Avon Grove pitcher Maggie
Balint, who is committed to play at Oregon and eliminated Hazleton
Area in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals en route to a silver-medal
Here's a list of the WVC players who earned all-state honors:
Holy Redeemer: Morgan Bienkowski (pitcher, honorable mention); Kristen
Coffay (pitcher, honorable mention); Abby Shorts (catcher, honorable
mention); Meghan Armstrong (first base, honorable mention); Olivia
Mennig (second base, honorable mention); Brittany Hebda (third base,
honorable mention); Tiana Wren (outfield, 1st team).
Hanover Area: Haylee Bobos (catcher, honorable mention).
Pittston Area: Taylor Baloga (pitcher/utility, honorable mention);
Nina Cencetti (first base, honorable mention); Lexi Felinski (second
base, 2nd team); Abbey Bradigan (third base, honorable mention); Mindina
Lieback (outfield, honorable mention); Alexa McHugh (outfield, honorable
Tunkhannock: Hope Jones (pitcher, honorable mention); Kailey Reposa
(second base, 2nd team); Faith Jones (shortstop, honorable mention);
Jena Simmons (outfield, honorable mention); Kendra Schultz (outfield,
Nanticoke Area: Jenna Lipowski (third base, 1st team).
Wyoming Area: Gwen Glatz (pitcher, honorable mention).
Hazleton Area: Celine Podlesney (pitcher, 1st team); Hope Kinney (catcher,
honorable mention); Rebecca Rossi (outfield, 2nd team); Megan Trivelpiece
(first base, 1st team).
Home run sparks Abington Heights win over
Nanticoke in District 2 Class 3A softball semifinal
One big inning and one reversed call proved to be the difference in
Abington Heights 5-2 win over Nanticoke Area in a District 2
Class 3A softball semifinal game on Friday afternoon.
Fourth-seeded Nanticoke, the defending district champions, took a
1-0 lead in the top of the first on a RBI groundout from Jenna Lipowski
after Rachel Roccograndi led off the game with a single and Kiera
Brown drove a double down the left field line. Abington Heights pitcher
Paige Harris struck out the next two batters, Miranda Bohn and Cassie
Novakowski, to prevent further damage.
Harris struck out six batters in the first three innings and didnt
allow another batter to reach base until Lipowski drew a walk to start
Abington Heights offense got rolling in the bottom of the third.
Cassidy Bartkowski led off the inning with a line drive single up
the middle and, after a sacrifice bunt from Alison Kane, Harris drove
her in. The next batter, Dominique Emmett, launched a two-run home
run over the fence in left-center field to give the Lady Comets a
Nanticoke (13-4) appeared to score in the top of the fourth, but the
run was disallowed after an appeal.
Lipowski walked to start the inning and Bohn lined a double to left
field. It was determined Lipowski failed to touch third base on her
Our baserunner clearly said she touched third base, Nanticoke
Area head coach Ryan Stetz said. The base was kicked off of
its foundation and there were no spike marks at third base. The umpire
had the final ruling and, unfortunately, called her out.
Despite the call going against his team, Stetz didnt believe
it directly impacted the outcome of the contest.
Ive said all season that one play isnt going to
make a difference in the game, he said.
Vanessa Tockets RBI single, scored Bohn, who doubled, to cut
the Trojanettes deficit to one run going to the bottom of the sixth.
(Abington Heights) is a very good team and there were times
in the game when it could have got away from us, and it didnt,
Stetz said. We were still close at the end.
Thats when Abington Heights added two big insurance runs.
Nina Kozar, Cassie Toth and Bartkowski contributed three consecutive
infield singles to start the inning and Kane drove in two runs with
a single that was just out of the reach of Novakowski at second base.
I couldnt be happier for this group of seniors,
Abington Heights head coach John Kelly said. They got knocked
out early the last couple years and had a goal at the beginning of
the season to make the district title game.
Top-seed Abington Heights (14-1) will play sixth-seeded Pittston Area
(12-6) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1 for the District 2 Class 3A
softball season preview
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice
Coach: Ryan Stetz
results: 16-6; beat Berwick, 6-1, for the District 2 Class AAA title; lost to
Bethlehem Catholic, 5-0, in the state semifinals.
to watch: Seniors Vanessa Tocket, IF/P; Rachel Roccograndi, IF. Juniors
Jenna Lipowski, IF; Cassie Novakowski, IF/C; Leandra Ramos, P/OF; Sarah
Benscoter, OF; Morgan Briggs, C/OF; Kiera Brown, OF. Sophomores Megan Murphy,
OF/IF; Miranda Bohn, P/IF.
(.521 BA, 10 HR, 38 RBIs, .568 OBP in 2015) is one of the WVCs best power
hitters in recent memory. Try pitching around her, and youll find this lineup
is loaded with other contact and power hitters who can just as easily turn a game
into a rout. Pitchers Ramos (RHP) and Bohn (LHP) had a combined 1.81 ERA, too,
so the pitching will keep Nanticoke Area in the game almost no matter what. This
team, like last years squad, could do big things.
2015 season was an amazing one for Wyoming Valley Conference softball.
believe it or not, this season has the potential to be just as special.
WVC enters the year with three district titles to defend in Classes AA (Holy Redeemer),
AAA (Nanticoke Area) and AAAA (Hazleton Area).
Defending state champion
Redeemer is back with seven starters from last years team, including pitchers
Kristen Coffay and Morgan Bienkowski, giving the Royals one of the best 1-2 punches
in the state.
Defending state semifinalist Nanticoke Area returns with ample
firepower, led by slugging Citizens Voice Player of the Year Jenna Lipowski
and two-time All-Star pitcher Leandra Ramos. But while the Trojanettes enjoyed
major success in the district and state playoffs, theyll need to overcome
Wyoming Area in WVC Division 2. The Warriors won an all-season playoff for the
conference crown in nine innings last May.
Circle your calendars for May 18,
the last day of the regular season, when the Trojanettes and Warriors meet in
a game that may decide the division champ.
Hazleton Area, meanwhile, returns
two of its six all-state selections and is one of the most reliable powers in
the league. The Cougars have won three consecutive regular-season titles in WVC
In all, nine teams won a district playoff contest in 2015. The
aforementioned four teams, as well as Berwick and Northwest, won multiple games.
terms of individual talent, theres a whopping nine returning Citizens
Voice All-Stars, so many of the same big-time players from last year are back.
when it comes to coaching, there are many seven new faces: Emily
Young at Berwick; Kathy Healey at Hanover Area; Heather Dale at Hazleton Area;
Nicole Chipego at Lake-Lehman; Kevin Harvey at Northwest; Bob Hegedty at Tunkhannock;
Jessica Ras at Valley West.
- Softball Capsules
Ryan Stetz, 4th year
PIAA Class: 3A
WVC Record/Finish: 10-5, 2nd Division 2
D2-3A playoffs defeated Lake-Lehman 15-0 in three innings in first round,
defeated Pittston Area 2-1 in quarterfinals, defeated Valley View 9-1 in semifinals,
defeated Berwick 6-1 in championship game. PIAA 3A playoffs defeated D3
third seed Twin Valley in first round, defeated D1 runner-up Chichester in quarterfinals,
lost 5-0 to D11 champion Bethlehem Catholic in semifinals.
Field: K.M. Smith Elementary
Key Players Lost: Madeline
Key Players Returning: Rachel Roccograndi,
IF, Sr.; Vanessa Tocket, IF, Sr.; Morgan Briggs, C-OF, Jr.; Kiera Brown, OF, Jr.;
Jenna Lipowski, IF, Jr.; Cassie Novakowski, OF-C, Jr.; Leandra Ramos, P-OF, Jr.;
Miranda Bohn, P-IF, So.; Megan Murphy, OF-IF, So.
Times Leader Player of the Year Lipowski, who also earned all-state honors, leads
a team that has everything offense, defense, pitching depth, whatever.
No team can match the righty-lefty pitching combo of Ramos and Bohn. Those three
and Roccograndi were Division 2 all-stars. About the only thing that can keep
the Trojanettes from being a district and state contender would be a rash of unforeseen
Softball Preview: State runs could be challenging for Holy Redeemer, Nanticoke
The problem with setting and clearing the bar high one season
is people expect the same the next.
But considering how Holy Redeemer won the
PIAA Class 2A championship last year and how Nanticoke came within a game of playing
for the 3A crown, nothing is certain entering this season.
The Wyoming Valley
Conference season starts Monday, and the focus will be on whether Redeemer can
repeat as the states best 2A team and whether Nanticoke could take the next
step to the 3A state title game.
The expectations are within the team,
Nanticoke coach Ryan Stetz said. But at the same time, they want to come
out every day and show they belong in the conversation with the best teams in
Nanticoke nearly didnt even get in the conversation
of the best 3A teams in District 2 last year. The Trojanettes needed to survive
a valiant effort by a five-win Pittston Area team for a 2-1 win. They then squeezed
out a 6-5 victory over Twin Valley in the first round of the state tournament.
one of the things that has motivated us, the schedule we did so far, Stetz
said. And to also train. You cant rest on anything. As people have
probably been telling you, there are great teams up and down this conference and
Like Nanticoke, Redeemer came close to not making out of the
D2-2A playoffs. The Royals edged Lakeland 6-5 in eight innings for the championship.
Then came a pair of 3-2 wins in the state tournament against Wellsboro and Delone
Catholic, and later, a rally from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Deer Lakes 10-5 for
the state title.
This is a whole new team and a whole new year. Thats
how were treating it, Redeemer coach Jerry Paulukonis said. Last
years team did last years job. Now its this teams job
to do their job and get better every game like last year and keep progressing.
Hazleton Area won the Division 1 title in 2015, but last years
13-2 record could have been worse if not for four one-run victories. Pittston
Area and Wyoming Valley West are expected to be improved after relying on several
underclassmen last year. Same goes for Coughlin, winless last year as plenty of
younger players gained experience.
Berwick and Crestwood might be slightly
down because of graduation losses. Neither, though, should be counted out.
2 had four of its five teams finish within two games of each other last season.
Wyoming Area took the crown with a win over Nanticoke in a special playoff game.
Those two teams, along with Dallas and Tunkhannock, are expected to contend for
the division. Lake-Lehman appears a year away, but could pull off some surprises.
3 is pretty clear cut. Redeemer has won 36 consecutive divisional games and three
straight titles. The Royals are heavily favored with Hanover Area and Northwest
next in line. GAR, Meyers, MMI Prep and Wyoming Seminary should battled for fourth
place on down.
The coaching ranks were really
shaken up in the offseason with seven schools hiring new coaches.
The new coaches
are Berwicks Emily Young, Hanover Areas Kathy Healey, Hazleton Areas
Heather Dale, Lake-Lehmans Nicole Chipego, Northwests Kevin Harvey,
Tunkhannocks Bob Hegedty and Wyoming Valley Wests Jessica Ras.
Coughlin will no longer be playing home games at The Pit at Plains Township Municipal
Park. The Crusaders have moved to the Bog on Dewey Lane and will play at the North
Wilkes-Barre Little League field.