Player of the Year Alayna Astuto, Canon-McMillan
A near no-hitter and 18 strikeouts in the 12-inning state final. A perfect game in the WPIAL semifinals. Astuto was nothing short of magnificent (7-0, 0.26 ERA, 53 strikeouts, four runs, five walks) in the playoffs, helping Canon-Mac to its first PIAA Class AAAA championship.
First team Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston
An all-state player each of the previous three seasons, there’s no reason to think that should change. Briggs, the team’s leadoff hitter, wrapped up her career with some staggering numbers: .512 batting average, 23 triples, 153 runs and 94 RBI; pitching-wise, 390 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings; two WPIAL titles and a PIAA championship.
Erica Burns Carmichaels
Pick a stat, and Burns probably led the Mikes. Pitching, she led the area with 202 strikeouts in 157 innings while going 22-4 with a 1.52 ERA. At the plate, Burns was tops in batting average (.449), doubles (eight), triples (four), RBI (27) and runs (32).
Abby Cunningham Peters Township
Cunningham wrapped up an impressive career by moving positions, from shortstop to catcher, and thriving. Besides making just two errors in 127 chances behind the plate for a fielding percentage of .984, Cunningham hit a team-best .467 with 14 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and a team-high 26 runs. All stats were from the regular season.
Olivia Gray, Trinity
Every bit Lorusso’s equal with the glove, the Pitt recruit hit .545 this spring, with 14 of her 30 hits for extra bases, while reaching base 60 percent of the time. She drove in 22 runs, scored 27 times and helped Trinity to the Section 2-AAA title.
Olivia Lorusso, Canon-McMillan
Junior, Third Base
Lorusso led the state champs in home runs (seven), RBI (35), and spectacular defensive plays, committing just three errors in 90 chances. More than half (19 of 30) of the Robert Morris recruit’s hits went for extra bases.
Abby McCartney, Canon-McMillan
McCartney split time between catcher and right field this season, but the hitting never suffered. She led Canon-Mac with a .519 average to go along with 31 RBI and 33 runs. Her OPS was an absurd 1.544. Nineteen of her 41 hits went for extra bases.
Haley Sutton, Chartiers-Houston
Junior, Second Base
With Colby Miller and Rachel Tucker gone, Sutton said she was going to pick up the offensive slack – and did. To the tune of a team-high 25 RBI, a .377 average, six doubles, two triples and three home runs, the final category in spite of Char-Houston’s cavernous home field.
Cassie Weiss, McGuffey
The Highlanders’ ace racked up 139 strikeouts in 114 innings, giving her 316 in 252 innings the past two seasons. Perhaps most impressive: Weiss walked only seven batters. That control – and dominance – carried McGuffey to the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.
Giorgiana Zeremenko, Canon-McMillan
Zeremenko missed a chunk of time early in the season with a shoulder injury but returned to lead the playoff charge, hitting a team-best .545 and leading the Big Macs in doubles (three) and RBI (seven) during the postseason. Her home run in the WPIAL title brought home Canon-Mac’s second straight title.
Second Team Bailey Bennington, West Greene
Not only did Bennington hit – a .544 average, 15 extra-base hits, 21 RBI – but where Bennington truly made her mark was in the pitching circle. She punched up a 1.44 earned-run average to go along with 183 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings, piling up double-digit strikeouts 10 times in 18 starts.
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels
Berardi’s best attributes – her leadership and range – are not accurately defined by numbers, but she was the veteran voice on a team that reached the WPIAL Class A championship game for a second consecutive season, as well as the PIAA Class A quarterfinals. Berardi hit .325 with 19 RBI, 26 runs, 10 walks and 13 steals.
Caroline Cree, Carmichaels
Sophomore, Second Base
Cree was a constant source of run production for the Mikes, stealing 23 bases while batting .443 and scoring 28 runs. A speedster with a solid glove, Cree also showed flashes of power, with seven doubles, two homers and 23 RBI.
Delaney Elling, Trinity
Part of the Hillers’ youth movement, Elling burst onto the scene this year by hitting .578 with a team-high 23 RBI. She scored 15 runs and walked 13 times, accounting for an on-base percentage of .672.
Kellyn Perich, Peters Township
Perich did it with her arm and bat. In the circle, she was 8-2 during the regular season with a 1.62 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. She also hit .417, had 10 extra-base hits, drove in 18 runs and scored another 18 for Peters Township, which reached the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals.
Linda Rush, Canon-McMillan
Besides having the biggest hit of the season, a two-run homer in the top of the 12th inning of the PIAA Class AAAA final, Rush was excellent after sliding into a starting role. She hit .467, batting in the No. 3 spot, with 21 RBI and a team-high 36 runs. She had 90 at-bats and only struck out twice.
Reagan Rush, Jefferson-Morgan
Things look good with the young core at J-M, and the leader is Rush, who hit .521, scored 30 runs and stole 13 bases. She also hit two home runs, smacked five doubles and had four triples.
Toni Spossey, Chartiers-Houston
Spossey missed the first half of the season because of eligibility issues, but she more than made up for it with a strong second half. In just 40 at-bats, Spossey hit .475 with 10 RBI and 13 runs. She also picked up a pair of wins in the pitching circle and appears the heir apparent to Briggs.
Lizzie Strain, Burgettstown
Burgettstown won Section 1-A, reached the WPIAL semifinals for the first time since 2006 and made it to the PIAA playoffs. A big part of that was the leadership, fielding and hitting of Strain, who batted .474 with 24 RBI and a team-high 27 runs and reached base at a team-best .529 clip.