JACKSON TWP — Just a few months ago, George Trew spoke about the hopes he had for his Seneca Valley softball team in 2017.
“I remember talking to (public address announcer) John Fetchko before the season started,” said Trew. “He asked me what I thought of the team and I told him we had a chance of doing something really good this season.”
It may have sounded like cautious optimism at the time, but the Raiders now have the look of a team capable of playing deep into the spring.
Seneca Valley capped its section slate with a 16-0 home win over Butler Thursday afternoon. The Raiders (13-4, 9-1) had already clinched the Section 3-6A title outright, the program’s first uncontested section crown since 1999.
“We got off to a slow start,” admitted Trew of the season, “but we beat North Hills in our first section game and that got us rolling. We had that one loss to North Allegheny (5-1 on April 11) and I’m still mad about that one. It kept us from being 10-0 in the section.”
Sophomore pitcher Claire Zimmerman has made considerable strides from her freshman campaign. She is backed by a solid defense and an offense led by five players hitting at least .400 — Mandy Magill, Julia Ehrman, Morgan Aloi, Karli Hacker and Elayna Nagy.
“It makes it better because I’m a senior,” said Nagy. “We have a lot of good players and are playing really well. Everybody on the team gets along and it’s been a lot of fun.”
The Raiders will close the regular season with three non-section games next week against Ambridge, Knoch and Blackhawk.
“We want to stay sharp,” said Trew. “We have a strong bench. A lot of them would be starters on other teams and I’m looking to get some of those girls in during our games next week. We may need them in the playoffs.”
Hempfield, last year’s WPIAL and PIAA Quad A champion, should earn the No. 1 seed in the WPIAL tournament. The Spartans are undefeated at 18-0 and have given up just 19 runs all season.
“Baldwin and Canon-McMillan are competing for the title in the other (Class 6A) section,” said Trew. “They’re both really good. I’d be happy if we got a No. 2 or 3 seed.”
The top four seeds will get a bye into the quarterfinals.
When asked what she thought her team was capable of this season, Nagy responded with confidence. “Winning ... everything,” she said.
Butler 000 0xx x — 0 2 4
Seneca Valley 403 9xx x — 16 13 1
W: Claire Zimmerman 4 IP (5K, 2BB). L: Kat Rudolf 1+ IP (0K, 3BB).
Butler (0-14, 0-10): Hannah Hays 2B, Maddy Burke 1B
Seneca Valley (13-4, 9-1): Morgan Aloi 3-1B 2R 5RBI, Mandy Magill R, Elayna Nagy 1B 2R, Karli Hacker 1B 2B HR 3RBI, Maddie Schultz 1B 2B 2R 2RBI, Olivia Madey 1B 2R, Maura Pasquale 1B 2B R 2RBI, Morgan Prouty R, Julia Ehrman 1B R 2RBI, Jodi Frontino R, Alex Pfab R, Maddison Hans R
Monday: Seneca Valley at Ambridge; Butler at Indiana