Baldwin softball players relish experience of playing at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Softball Park
Senior catcher Carly Santillo racked up a career-high five RBIs against Mifflin County in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A softball playoffs.
Santillo went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a single, leading the Highlanders to a 9-6 victory at Nittany Lion Softball Park at Penn State.
“It was a team win,” Santillo said. “I was able to drive in the runs, but my teammates did a great job battling all day to get on base ahead of me.
“We played great together. We had high energy, scored early and stayed focused on our goals. We played great defense, which ultimately wins games, but the offensive performance helped, as well. I’m really proud of the girls, and thankful it wasn’t my last game as a Fighting Highlander.”
Baldwin had its season end June 7 after a 2-1 loss to Hempfield in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Santillo, a four-year starter who will continue her softball career at Pitt-Johnstown, enjoyed playing in a college ballpark setting against Mifflin County.
“It was awesome,” Santillo said. “The college atmosphere just got me more excited and ready for college softball. It was really cool for the younger girls, as well. I believe it was one of the driving factors of our positive energy and focus.”
Santillo plans to attain dual certification at UPJ in early childhood education and special education.
The park’s features include an irrigated field, dugouts, batting cages and tunnels, bullpens, scoreboard and a lighting system.
Baldwin senior Addie Tagg, the winning pitcher against Mifflin County, is one of two juniors on the Baldwin squad, along with outfielder Chyenne Shandor. Tagg is a right-handed hurler and third-year starter.
“The overall atmosphere of the field made me feel important like, ‘Wow, the (college) girls who play here are really good. I could stand here one day.’ It was really overpowering,” Tagg said. “We really came together as a team (that day).”
Outfielder Bella Rossa is another three-year starter for the Highlanders. Rossa, who also has played soccer at Baldwin, plans to attend Ohio University to study biological sciences.
“The field crew worked for hours making sure (the field) was suitable,” Rossa said. “The staff and crew were very prepared and informative of what time we were able to use their cages and take the field. They worked very hard to make sure we started on time, and the field was ready to be used. And it was overall a great experience.”
Taylor Dadig is a four-year starter at shortstop who was presented with the KDKA Extra Effort Award in January. She will continue her softball career at George Mason as an engineering major.
“The stadium atmosphere was a great experience,” Dadig said.
Along with Santillo, a trio of sophomores helped spark Baldwin in its PIAA first-round win
Third baseman Salena Jaquay had three hits in four at-bats and scored twice, while second baseman Cassie Carlson finished with two hits and one RBI, and scored three runs. She also walked once.
First baseman Allison Murray chipped in with one RBI.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.