Citizens' Voice Softball Player of the Year: Jenna Lipowski
Bufano - Citizens Voice
Jenna Lipowski offers a simple piece of hitting
advice for younger softball players: See the ball, hit the ball.
not as easy as it sounds, though Lipowski followed that advice better than anyone
over the course of her high school career.
In 15 games this season, Lipowski
reached base 45 times in 58 plate appearances for an astonishing .775 on-base
percentage to go with her .675 (27 for 40) batting average.
zero strikeouts and was walked 18 times including four times, intentionally,
in Nanticoke Areas season-ending, 10-inning loss to Wyoming Area.
drove in 25 RBIs and hit eight home runs, giving her 31 career homers including
a two-run blast in the one at-bat in which Wyoming Area threw her strikes.
rare four-time member of The Citizens Voice All-Star team, Lipowski contributed
greatly in two of the Trojanettes banner years: the 2015 District 2 Class
3A champions and the 2017 Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 champs.
Nanticoke Areas undefeated season ended against Wyoming Area in the district
playoff semifinals, Lipowski said she has no regrets from the game.
it was a really good game, probably one of the best games Ive played in,
she said. I thought we fought back really hard, especially the last inning
when we were down three runs. They finally pitched to me and I hit a home run.
Miranda Bohn came up next and she hit a home run. That was probably one of the
greatest comebacks in history, like coach (Ryan) Stetz mentioned. I thought it
was a really good game, but it just didnt go in our favor.
daughter of Karen and Marc Lipowski, Jenna Lipowski earned Player of the Year
honors her sophomore and senior seasons and recently spoke with staff writer Matt
Q: How much work went into becoming the top hitter in the
A: Definitely a lot of work. I go to practices with my hitting
instructor (Dennis Smeding) three or four times a week. I have my father, who
takes me to K.M. Smith and helps me hit, just throwing me BP. Also, all my coaches
who help. Ive been going to the gym and working out, especially because
when I was younger I wasnt really a power hitter back then. Im just
working my way up from where I was then to where I am now.
How fulfilling was it to win a league championship, which Nanticoke Area hadnt
done in several years?
A: It felt really good especially going
undefeated and especially since sophomore year, we lost to Wyoming Area and junior
year, we lost to Tunkhannock. We got to finally claim it.
Do you have a favorite home run from the past four years?
my favorite would be the one against Berwick for the (2015) district championship.
But also the Wyoming Area game to end out my senior year on a home run.
Q: Was it frustrating when teams pitched around you, intentionally walked
A: Yeah. You have to take the walks ... to help the team out.
It definitely is frustrating because you just want to hit the ball. But you have
to do whatever you have to do to get on base and help the team out.
Q: Is there a favorite pitch you seem to make contact with best?
Outside pitches are probably my favorite. I think that, honestly, just seeing
the ball coming into the plate is probably my favorite thing whether its
a change-up or curveball or anything. And I love hitting with two strikes on me.
Q: Most players wouldnt like facing a two-strike count, so why do
A: Because it makes me more aggressive at the plate, knowing
that since I have two strikes on me I have to be smart and be able
to see what pitch is coming in and recognize anything.
Had you made any tweaks at the plate in the last few years?
with inside pitches. I had a hard time with that and Tunkhannock definitely knew
that when we played them the second time. Just going up there with the mentality
of hitting the ball and knowing to swing or not is how I go up.
How will you remember your four years playing softball for Nanticoke Area?
Probably as one of my favorite teams to play on. Great group of girls; had
coach Stetz, an amazing coach, playing me as a freshman, which he didnt
have to do. Its just an awesome feeling with this team and knowing I could
leave a mark at Nanticoke. I thank everyone who helped me along the way.
Q: Why did you decide to play your college softball at Kutztown?
I really like the coach (Judy Lawes) and I like the campus, as well. She
was in contact with me a lot and I like how she was always talking to me and social.
I think it was the best decision for me. I hope I go there and make my parents
2017 Citizens' Voice
Matt Bufano - Citizens Voice
School: Nanticoke Area
was 13-0 with a 0.95 ERA in regular season league play, pitching the Trojanettes
to the WVC Division 2 title. A reliable bat behind Lipowski in the order, Bohn
hit .359 in league play.
Area stuns Nanticoke to advance to district title game
Warriors defeat Nanticoke
to head to D2-4A title game
losses piled up in late April, Wyoming Area softball coach John McNeil kept mentioning
the need for his team to mature.
The Warriors, perhaps, came of age Tuesday
as they fought through a gut-wrenching, emotional 10 innings to knock off top-seeded
Nanticoke 6-5 in a District 2 Class 4A semifinal game.
Area (9-6) will play third-seeded Tunkhannock (11-4) at 4 p.m. Thursday at Wilkes
University for the district title. Wyoming Area will be going for its first district
championship since 1981. Tunkhannock last won a district title in 1999. Both teams
will advance to the PIAA Class 4A state championships on Monday.
girls have worked hard the last two weeks with the goal of going to state tournament,"
said McNeil, whose team was 3-5 in early May. "We're not overlooking the
fact that we're going to try to win the district, but we're looking forward to
going to the state tournament."
Junior Annie Karcutskie provided the game
winner, singling up the middle to score Nicole Silinskie with one out in the top
of the 10th. The 10th inning was played under international tiebreaker rules and
Silinskie, who made the last out of the ninth, started the inning on second base.
also singled in Wyoming Area's three-run ninth that gave the Warriors a 5-2 lead.
it was one of the best feelings in the world," Karcutskie said of her 10th-inning
single. "This was probably one of the best days of my high school softball
Cassidy Graham then came on in relief for the fifth time in the
game and left a runner stranded at third to send the fourth-seeded Warriors into
a wild celebration.
"The last inning, my mind was crazy," said Graham,
who came in to pitch in four other innings to specific batters and then hand the
duties back to starter Gwen Glatz. "I feel like not only me but as a team
we pulled together that last inning. It was a great inning. I'm just glad we got
out of it without them getting a run."
Wyoming Area appeared in great
shape after the top of the ninth as a couple errors and an RBI single by Bri Pizzano
were part of a three-run inning for a 5-2 lead.
Nanticoke was then down to
its last out in the ninth with Brinley Sobeck on first base. Then Jenna Lipowski,
one of the top power hitters in the state, came to bat. Lipowski was intentionally
walked in her four previous plate appearances and McNeil decided to pitch to her
since she couldn't tie the game with one swing.
"That was tough,"
said Glatz, who was pitching at the time. "I haven't pitched to her all game,
but coach came out and said we have one runner on and she can't tie the game if
she hits it out. Just go out there and have fun."
Lipowski was the one
smiling as she demolished a pitch well over the left-field fence to cut the deficit
to 5-4. Miranda Bohn followed with a solo shot to center to send the game to the
After Wyoming Area took its 6-5 lead, Nanticoke started the bottom of
the 10th with Cassie Novakowski on second. She moved to third with two outs, but
Graham got a pop-up to end the game.
Nanticoke (14-1) ended its season with
a district semifinal loss for a second consecutive year after winning the D2-3A
title in 2015.
"We tried," said Nanticoke coach Ryan Stetz, whose
team is the only one to defeat Wyoming Area since the Warriors' 3-5 start. "The
classic example is how the girls just stuck with it today. The stuff that Jenna
and Miranda did will arguably go down in Nanticoke history as two of the biggest
hits we've ever had."
2 softball: Wyoming Area knocks off Nanticoke Area
Matt Bufano -
About this time of year, Wyoming Area is not the softball
team opponents want to see in the other dugout.
The Warriors have history on
their side, as they've won at least one district playoff game each year since
The Warriors also have the talent, evidenced by several of their wins
this season, as well as the fact they are only two years removed from winning
a league championship.
And on Tuesday, the fourth-seeded Warriors put it all
together, knocking off top seed Nanticoke Area, 6-5, in a 10-inning District 2
Class 4A semifinal.
After the teams miraculously scored three runs each in
the ninth, it was Annie Karcutskie's RBI single that scored Nicole Silinskie in
the top of the 10th that sent the Warriors (9-6) into their first district final
Gwen Glatz earned the win and Cassidy Graham got the save, as the
two split pitching duties against the previously unbeaten Trojanettes (14-1).
used two pitchers for different batters; we used different pitchers all through
the game," said Warriors head coach John McNeil.
"My girls were clutch
... and I give all the credit in the world to (Nanicoke Area) coach (Ryan) Stetz.
He has them girls prepared. It's too bad somebody had to lose today, but on the
other end, I'm happy for my girls. We worked hard in the last two weeks. In the
last two weeks, our goal was to get to the district final and today we reached
The district championship 4 p.m. Thursday at Wilkes will be
a rubber-match between Wyoming Area and No. 3 Tunkhannock, teams that split their
season series 1-1.
Wyoming Area is one of only four teams to beat Tunkhannock
with the others being Nanticoke Area (twice) and District 2-4 Class 6A subregional
finalist Hazleton Area.
Tied 2-2 entering the ninth inning, Wyoming Area plated
three runs on a Glatz bunt that scored Karcutskie; a Brianna Pizzano single that
scored Graham; and Kari Melberger's single that scored Pizzano.
a little small ball when we needed to," McNeil said. "Our girls stayed
in there and we hit."
But back-to-back home runs by Nanticoke Area's Jenna
Lipowski (a two-run shot) and Miranda Bohn tied things up, 5-5, before Wyoming
Area won in the 10th.
Lipowski was 1 for 1 with four walks, while Bohn had
three RBIs on a pair of hits.
Pizzano, Melberger, Silinskie, Karcutskie and
Kristi Skok had two hits each for Wyoming Area.
Whether or not Miranda
Bohns picking up speed on her pitches, the Nanticoke Area left-hander relies
on what shes told by others.
My coach tells me I am, but I cant
really tell myself, she said. But, hopefully.
a little more zip on her pitches Monday, Bohn threw another gem.
tossed seven innings of two-hit ball in Nanticoke Areas 6-0 win against
Crestwood in Wyoming Valley Conference softball.
win clinched Nanticoke Area the WVC Division 2 title, joining Hazleton Area (Division
1) and Holy Redeemer (Division 3) as league champs.
a credit to the girls in the dugout. I love coaching this team, said Nanticoke
Area head coach Ryan Stetz. Theyre very serious when they have to
be. But at the same time, they enjoy the game and theyre very knowledgeable
and they dont like to lose.
The Trojanettes have not lost with
Bohn in the circle this season, as Mondays game was the fourth straight
shutout shes pitched. She improved to 10-0 on the season and lowered her
ERA to 0.73.
Shes very skilled, she could hit her spots
as people know and she could pitch at any count, Stetz said. So
she keeps hitters off-balance. And then, when she throws as hard as she does,
its very difficult to hit.
As the season goes on, Bohn said, shes
feeling more confident and getting more control of her pitches.
offense has been just as effective, as the Trojanettes are outscoring opponents
66-9 through 10 games.
On Monday, the Trojanettes first three batters
Brinley Sobeck, Jenna Lipowski and Bohn (courtesy runner Elizabeth Redenski)
reached base and came around to score and make it 3-0.
In the second
inning, No. 9 hitter Gabby Rakowski and Sobeck started a two-out rally with singles.
then stepped to the plate, driving her fourth home run of the season over the
fence in right-center field.
We saw some things early in the season that
teams were trying to do to us, which prompted moving Lipowski arguably
the top hitter in District 2 from the three-hole to No. 2, Stetz said.
(3-9) pitchers Abby Waite and Katie Thomas shut the Trojanettes out from the third
inning on, however. It was an impressive performance by a young Comets team with
only two seniors.
Sydney Sobolewski had both hits for Crestwood, going 2 for
I know we didnt have many hits today, but we didnt have
many strikeouts either, said Crestwood head coach Adrienne Bannon. So
thats huge. Put the ball in play, we made them earn it. Our defense was
good. That was key.
Kiera Brown and Cassie Novakowski each had a hit
and an RBI for Nanticoke Area. Megan Murphy also hit a single.
Athlete of the Week: Miranda Bohn, Nanticoke Area softball
Tyler Piccotti - Citizens Voice
Bohn tossed a six-inning perfect game
striking out eight batters on Thursday in the Trojanettes
10-0 win over Coughlin. She also picked up a complete-game victory last Monday
against Valley West.
GETTING TO KNOW MIRANDA
Family: Sandy, mother; Jay, father; Lucy, dog
Favorite book: The Fault in Our Stars
movie: The Maze Runner
Favorite TV show: Impractical Jokers
Favorite musician: Shawn Mendes
Favorite food: Pierogies
Favorite sports team: Florida Gators softball
Florida softball player Kelly Barnhill
Did you realize you were perfect during
the game? I actually didnt know until one of my friends told me in
the last inning.
It was really exciting. ... We went out to the outfield
after the game, and everyone was saying, Good job, and everything.
How excited is the team to still be undefeated this season? Its gone
really well so far. I think were just taking it one game at a time and just
hope everything falls in our favor this year.
For Miranda, the best
part of playing softball is ... experiencing it with her teammates.
the most difficult part of playing softball is ... the offseason workouts.
Away from the diamond, Miranda likes to ... hang out with her family and friends.
If Miranda could meet anyone in history, it would be ... Babe Ruth.
could travel anywhere in the world, she would choose ... Paris.
could have any superpower, she would choose ... the ability to read minds.
One word that best decribes Miranda is ... funny.
In terms of future plans,
Miranda ... wants to attend college and continue playing softball.
Times Leader Athlete of the Week: Nanticokes Miranda
Sport, position: softball, pitcher
Family: Jay, dad; Sandy, mom
week: Threw a complete game, striking out four and giving up one unearned run
in the Trojans 2-1 win over Tunkhannock on Tuesday. In Thursdays 4-1
win over Berwick, Bohn was 2 for 3 with a home run and 2 RBI. She also earned
the victory in the circle.
What she says: I definitely think working
together as a team and as a whole having good defense and producing runs.
type of candy: Sour Patch Kids watermelon
Favorite healthy snack choice: Apples
or Dogs: Dogs
Whats your pets name: Lucy
Why did you start playing
softball?: 7 years-old
Favorite cartoon: SpongeBob SquarePants
song right now: iSpy - Kyle
Favorite sports team: Florida Gators
to move? Curveball
Favorite TV show:
Favorite chick flick: Fifty
Shades of Grey
Favorite action movie: Hunger Games
a hotdog a sandwich?: No
Favorite teacher: Ms. Warman, math
in school: Math
Favorite ice cream: Blueberry
What do you put on your pizza:
Favorite animal: Dog
Favorite book: The Fault in Our Stars
place youd like to visit: Hawaii
What are you binge watching on Netflix:
Whats your dream job?: Professional athlete
Softball Season Preview
2016 results: 13-5. Lost to No. 1 Abington
Heights, 5-2, in the District 2 Class 3A semifinals.
Players to watch: Seniors
Jenna Lipowski, IF; Leandra Ramos, P/OF; Kiera Brown, OF. Junior
Miranda Bohn, P/IF
Coachs outlook: The 2017 Nanticoke softball
team is a very talented and motivated team. The experienced team established itself
in the proud history of the softball program, and has league, district and state
championship aspirations. The team is very strong in all aspects of the game and
(has) excellent students within the classroom. The roster is a mix of both college-level
and role players who developed quickly to provide great energy and enthusiasm
to compete against a challenging schedule. The team is looking forward to representing
our school and the community of Nanticoke Area.
2 rules Nanticoke Area softball player eligible
surefire contender in the softball season still months away Nanticoke
Area appears back on track following an eligibility hearing Tuesday.
District 2 athletic committee voted 7-0, reinstating Morgan Briggs eligibility
to play her senior season, which was nearly derailed because she played one inning
of a senior all-star game.
There was no intent on the girls
part to violate any rule or get around any rule, said District 2 athletic
committee chairman Frank Majikes. She was totally unaware of it and, obviously,
it wasnt done intentionally.
The event in question was the 37th
Annual Robert L. Dolbear Senior All-Star Softball Game, played June 26 at W.W.
Kubis Memorial Field in Dallas.
Briggs attended the game to support her
friends, having no intention of playing in the all-star game intended only for
But the teams were shorthanded, leaving the West without a catcher.
coaches Heather Dale (Hazleton Area head coach), Bob Hegedty (Tunkhannock head
coach) and Ron Hampsey (Tunkhannock assistant coach) approached then-junior Briggs,
who volunteered to play upon request.
At least one other underclassmen was
asked to play, but Briggs was the only one who could, because she had catching
equipment in her vehicle.
Shes always willing to participate,
and I think she was just trying to do what was in the best interest of everybody,
said Nanticoke Area head coach Ryan Stetz.
Briggs played one inning behind
the plate and had an at-bat before it was brought to the coaches attention
that Briggs was violating PIAA bylaws, punishable by a loss of eligibility for
one year in that sport.
According to Stetz, Briggs was immediately pulled
from the game, where coaches sought clarification from Majikes via telephone.
did not pick up, though, and the possible violation was eventually reported by
Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska to the PIAA.
Stetz said the
30-minute testimony at Tuesdays hearing revolved around Briggs having no
intention of playing in the all-star game, while having only good intentions
so it would not be forfeited when she did enter the game.
showed Briggs at the game in street clothes, alongside Nanticoke Area senior Rachel
Roccograndi, who was in uniform.
Stetz said the Hazleton Area and Tunkhannock
coaches took responsibility for playing Briggs, saying they did not know they
were breaking the rules.
Its a credit to all involved, as far
as the Hazleton coaches and Tunkhannock coaches and even the committee,
Stetz said. It was great that everybody came forward with an honest description
of what took place in the act of fairness. In this case, the PIAA committee really
got it right.
The East won the all-star game, 15-2, in a contest that
featured individuals playing defense for both teams, as well as pitchers and catchers
that hadnt played those positions in years.
Briggs hit about .400 last
season and was selected by Wyoming Valley Conference coaches as a second-team
all-star in Division 2. She figures to be a key player this year for the Trojanettes,
who went 13-5 in 2015.