Big Macs’ success reflected on All-State list
Canon-McMillan became the first area softball program to win a PIAA title since Chartiers-Houston in 2010, and the Big Macs’ success was reflected on the Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association PIAA All-State Team, which was released over the weekend.
Three members of Canon-McMillan’s were honored, along with one from Chartiers-Houston. There were, however, a few notable omissions.
Pitcher Alayna Astuto, who went 25-0 with a 1.06 earned-run average, was named the Class AAAA Player of the Year, an honor that was likely sealed with her 18-strikeout gem in the state championship game, a 4-3 victory over Neshaminy in 12 innings.
“I think the state final definitely contributed to it,” Astuto said.
Astuto was pretty much unhittable in the playoffs, as she allowed four runs in seven games, all wins, while striking out 53 and walking five.
That stretch included a perfect game in the WPIAL semifinals and nine innings of no-hit ball in the PIAA final.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Astuto said of the All-State selection. “I was just hoping to get on second team or something.”
Joining Astuto were right fielder/catcher Abby McCartney, a first-team pick, and third baseman Olivia Lorusso, who made honorable mention.
McCartney shifted behind the plate for part of the regular season because of a shoulder injury to starter Giorgiana Zeremenko.
The left-handed power hitter led Canon-McMillan with a .519 batting average to go along with 31 RBI and 33 runs.
McCartney, who’s only a sophomore but made All-State for a second straight year, posted an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) of 1.544 and had 19 of 41 hits go for extra bases.
“Pretty sweet,” McCartney said. “It’s definitely a great feeling because I know it’s not all that common for people to make it two years in a row.”
Lorusso was nothing short of spectacular at third, routinely making difficult plays look simple, and also led Canon-McMillan in home runs (seven) and RBI (35). The Robert Morris recruit committed just three errors in 90 chances.
Chartiers-Houston’s Kayla Briggs finished her career as a four-time All-State selection after being voted onto the second team.
Briggs’ numbers dipped slightly this season, but her career ones are sparkling: .512 batting average, 23 triples, 153 runs, 94 RBI; as a pitcher, Briggs racked up 390 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings while leading the Bucs to a pair of WPIAL titles and a state championship.
“I didn’t think I’d make it this year,” Briggs said. “I feel like I didn’t do as well as I did the past couple of years. But it feels good.”
There were two notable omissions: Trinity sophomore shortstop Olivia Gray, who made it last year, and Carmichaels pitcher Erica Burns.
Gray hit .545 this spring and reached base 60 percent of the time. The Pitt recruit drove in 22 runs and scored 27 times, helping Trinity to the Section 2-AAA title.
Burns was spectacular at the plate and in the pitching circle. She led the area with 202 strikeouts in 157 innings while going 22-4 with a 1.52 ERA.
The leadoff hitter led the Mikes, who reached the WPIAL Class A final for a second consecutive year, in batting average (.449), doubles (eight), triples (four), RBI (27) and runs (32).