Trinity High School’s Olivia Gray remembers watching Atlantic Coast Conference softball on television as a young girl, wishing she could one day trade places with players from Florida State and Georgia Tech.
So when the University of Pittsburgh offered Gray the opportunity to play NCAA Division I softball on a national stage, it didn’t take the sophomore shortstop long to commit.
After taking an unofficial visit to Oakland last Monday, Gray gave a verbal commitment to the ACC-bound Panthers Saturday, choosing Pitt over Lehigh and Robert Morris.
“Ever since I was younger, I’ve always wanted to play on television,” Gray said. “Being in the ACC gives me more of an opportunity to be on TV and test my abilities, to see if I can actually play with the best athletes in the country.”
Florida State has won 12 ACC titles, Georgia Tech five, and N.C. State won the league title in the final year before Pitt jumps over from the Big East. Pitt finished 8-14, 19-29 and did not qualify for the conference tournament, though the Panthers did have winning records in 2010, ‘11 and ‘12.
Gray has helped revive a Trinity program that was only 6-9 in 2012. This year, the Hillers went 11-1 to win Section 2-AAA and are 12-4 overall. They’ll face West Mifflin at 2 p.m. today at California University’s Lilley Field in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals.
An all-state and all-section pick a season ago, Gray hit .478 with six home runs as a freshman. She’s hitting at a .528 clip so far this season, with a .581 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .846. Gray has scored 25 runs, driven in 22 and has two home runs.
Not bad for someone who’s most impressive attribute may very well be her smooth defensive work at shortstop.
What attracted Gray to Pitt was its proximity to home and its offerings in the medical field, where Gray hopes to major in biology. She also loved its softball facilities.
“I just like the atmosphere that I get to play in with softball and academics; I plan on going into the medical field, and Pitt is very much known for the medical field,” Gray said. “And close to home was another major factor.”
All of that rolled together is why Gray let Pitt know she was on her way, its first recruit of the Class of 2015.
“I was weighing my options, and I really enjoyed it there,” Gray said. “It was the best fit for me, so I decided that I shouldn’t wait any longer.”
Plassio, Zebrasky recognized
Two area baseball coaches have been recognized by the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association (WBCA).
Washington High School’s Rocky Plassio was named the Class AA Coach of the Year, and Canon-McMillan’s Frank Zebrasky received the same honor in Class AAAA.
Wash High finished 6-12 a season ago, but the Prexies went 10-4, 11-6 this season to tie Brownsville for the Section 2-AA title. Incidentally, George Washington recruit Brandon Ritchie, who pitched Laurel to a 1-0 victory over Washington in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, was named the Class AA Pitcher of the Year.
Zebrasky oversaw a fantastic turnaround for Canon-Mac. Just 2-10, 4-15 last season, as well as 1-4 through the first five games this year, the Big Macs finished on an 11-4 tear that included a seven-game winning streak en route to the Section 5-AAAA title. Canon-McMillan lost to Hempfield, 7-3, in the Class AAAA quarterfinals.