By Nick Archacki, news editor
Last spring, the Saegertown softball team was on the prowl to win their first state title after having an unbelievable season on the diamond. Sadly though, the Panthers lost a battle to Mount Union 4-2 in the second playoff game of the PIAA Championships.
Even though the season ended in a grind against Mount Union, the Panthers had a year to remember as they posted a 20-5 record, led the Class AA rankings and won the Region 3 title for their fifth straight year.
Now that the season has officially started for the ladies, they are ready to conquer the field once again with leadership from four returning and very talented senior players: Elizabeth Hasko, Courtney Hess, Carlie Schlosser, and Sarah Swartout. The team also includes four juniors, two sophomores, and eight freshmen.
Hess, one of Saegertown softballs’ best pitchers ever, is confident about the upcoming season and her teammates: “I think we’ll be a good team this year, we just have to keep working at it and reach our goals.” Swartout, who is a dominant force on the infield, is also in good spirits about this year’s campaign. “I think we’ll do good if we work hard because we have a young team. I also believe we will do well if we all work together and complete the plays to win games.”
Both Hess and Swartout have goals for their final softball season: to have a good batting and fielding average and to improve [their] defensive skills. Hess also mentioned that she is going to try her best to continue to be a leader for the younger girls, inspiring them to work hard at the game of softball.
However, the team will have to cope with the loss of a beloved coach this season. Tom Brunot, who coached Saegertown softball for over a decade recently passed away at the age of 62 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Hess and Swartout both experienced Coach Brunot’s love for coaching and his players: “He’ll always be with us no matter where we go and no matter how good or bad we’re playing. He’s our driving force to do well and keep playing, we’re going to dedicate this season to him. He always had a positive attitude, always had your back, and made you feel like a great person.”
The Lady Cats are currently in Kissimmee, Florida for Spring Training and will return April 1. The Panthers’ next game is on April 3 at Rocky Grove and their next home game is on April 4 vs. Northwestern at 4 p.m.