CM Lady Macs working hard to stay on top in softball

Published Apr 1, 2013 at 10:11 am (Updated Apr 1, 2013 at 10:11 am)

When a team is No. 1, it can’t rest on its laurels. So, while Canon-McMillan returns seven starters from last year’s WPIAL championship club, the Lady Macs seek to improve all areas of their game this softball season.

“Everyone else is working to improve all facet’s of their game to beat us,” stressed CM skipper Michele Moeller. “We can’t sit still in any area.”

If the Lady Macs do, teams other than Hempfield, which returns five senior starters from the club that succumbed to CM in the district finals, will make duplicating last year’s success difficult. The Lady Macs posted an 18-5 overall record, which included the school’s first WPIAL title.

CM will be pushed in section action by Chartiers Valley, Bethel Park, Peters Township and Baldwin, all of whom have “young, quality pitching” says Moeller. But, experience will prove the Lady Macs’ primary weapon against the competition.

Alayna Astuto returns to the mound. The senior posted a 16-5 record with 152 strikeouts last spring.

Her battery mate, Giorgiana Zeremenko is also back. The junior catcher recorded 85 putouts on defense with 80 assists. At the plate, she batted .475 with six doubles, two triples and seven homers. She drove in 31 runs.

Leading hitter Abby McCartney (.507 with a team-high 12 doubles and 22 runs scored) anchors the outfield in right along with veteran Yaszmin Kotar in center.

Meanwhile, CM’s infield had been virtually intact until three-year starter, Veronica Rothka suffered an ACL tear that required surgery. Freshman Linda Rush fills the vacancy at shortstop while veterans Maddie Engel, Ally Bellaire and Olivia Lorusso man the bases.

“With Linda taking over Veronica’s spot, we look to our veterans during this transition,” said Moeller. “Based on spring training, it looks as if we haven’t missed a beat as the freshman was strong down south in scrimmage play.”

Offensively, Lorusso, a third baseman, however, may miss at bats because opposing pitchers may walk her. The junior is one of the most feared batters in the WPIAL. Lorusso clubbed a team-high eight homers and drove in 26 runs last spring.

While sophomore Tara Fowler has filled the vacancy in left field, senior Kayla Kiger is expected to contribute for the Lady Macs this spring.

While Moeller did not hint that the team’s objectives this spring are to repeat as district champions and advance farther than last year’s state semifinals, she knows what will lead to such success.

“Our goals are to train hard, build chemistry and rely upon our leaders,” she said.

After all, seven of them already know that’s what it takes to create a champion.

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