Lady Panthers looking for redemption

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.

Softball team hosts trapshoot to raise funds

By McKenzie Ashbaugh, Director of Marketing

Karleigh Ashbaugh and Brittany Sample sold baked goods as part of a recent softball team fundraiser at the Saegertown Sportsmen's Club.

Karleigh Ashbaugh and Brittany Sample sold baked goods as part of a recent softball team fundraiser at the Saegertown Sportsmen’s Club.

The Lady Panthers softball team got an early start on their fundraising this year. On Sunday, October 26 from 9 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m., they held a competitive trapshoot to raise money for the team’s second  trip to Cocoa Beach Softball Spring Training in southern Florida that is scheduled for April.

The shoot was held at the Saegertown Sportsmen’s Club. Community member Darin Ashbaugh, who came up with the idea, said, “It was a good way to raise money in a family environment.” At the shoot, the team offered a lunch, bake sale, Chinese auction with various prizes provided by local businesses, and tickets for a gun raffle.

There were nine different classes of shooters such as a women, juniors, first-timers, and several regular classes. Hunter Peters, a junior at Saegertown and award-winning shooter, said, “It was a good time. There was cool prizes and the food was delicious!” Approximately $1800 was raised at the event. “It was good that the team can come together to raise money for the trip to Florida,” said senior catcher Jess Tomiczek.