ShareThis Page
New-look Pine-Richland softball ready for spotlight |

New-look Pine-Richland softball ready for spotlight

Kevin Lohman
| Sunday, March 26, 2017 7:00 p.m
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Pine-Richland's Brie Horrell competes against Seneca Valley in a Section 3-AAAA softball game Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Pine-Richland.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pine-Richland Head coach Jeff Ackermann hands out the gold medals to his team after the WPIAL Boys Class 6A Basketball Championship game at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday, March 4, 2017. The Rams beat Butler, 72-61.

There are plenty of fresh faces on the Pine-Richland softball team this season, as first-year coach Gary Shepard leads a roster of 18 players, with 13 being sophomores or freshmen.

New names might outnumber old ones this year, Shepard said, that will make the contributions of returning players much more valuable.

“Overall, we’re pretty young. We have seven freshmen, six sophomores, only two juniors and three seniors. We’re young but we’re really going to be led by our three seniors. They have a lot of experience,” Shepard said.

“We’re counting on them to lead the way on the field and to help with the younger players who don’t have a lot of experience at the high school level.”

Power-hitting Pitt commit Brie Horrell returns to lead the Rams’ seniors, which also includes Jackie Langer and Emma Keilly.

Langer batted .369 last season and earned all-section honors. Keilly will fill a role in the outfield this season.

In addition to this year’s seniors, Pine-Richland boasts a pair of juniors who helped the Rams win 11 games last season.

Anna Slebonick, led the team in batting average last year while the other, Jackie Hanson, led the Rams in home runs.

“Anna and Jackie are the two juniors. They both have really strong bats, and they’re good defensively as well. I think for us, it’s really just a matter of working on being aggressive at the plate and being aggressive in the field,” Shepard said.

“We just want to do the fundamental things, and let everything else take care of itself.”

Julia Simpson returns at catcher, and fellow sophomore Katie Horrell figures to play a prominent role after batting .352 last season.

Each of Pine-Richland’s three pitchers — Morgan Hall, Cameron Devinney and Allie Tomicek — are sophomores.

Freshmen Paige Nelson, Sarah Hanson and Joslyn Hostetler are expected to see playing time.

Shepard said the Rams are capable of putting up big offensive numbers, and he believes by sticking to fundamentals Pine-Richland will fare well in Section 3-6A.

“We’ve really been stressing the fundamentals. I’m not worried about them making the splashy play. I mean, we want to see aggression out there but really. I can’t tell you how many ground balls these kids have seen since September,” Shepard said.

“Just building that repetition and working on fundamentals, I think if you have that baseline then you’ll be successful.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.