The path from the softball fields surrounding Canon-McMillan High School to the one at Robert Morris University got a little more well-traveled Tuesday.
Abby McCartney, a power-hitting, rising junior who helped the Big Macs to the PIAA Class AAAA championship in mid-June, orally committed Tuesday morning to play for the Colonials in 2015-16.
McCartney will be a teammate of Canon-McMillan third baseman Olivia Lorusso, a rising senior who committed to Robert Morris June 12 – two days before the state final.
“I was happy for her,” McCartney said. “It’s a bonus that we’re both going there because me and her are best friends, but I couldn’t really put her into play for my decision because I have to be there for four years as well. It is nice to know that I’ll have a friend there.”
An All-State selection each of the past two years, including a part of the first team this past spring, McCartney already has nine home runs, 54 RBI, 20 doubles and nine triples for her career.
She spent time at catcher this past spring, shifting there from right field after Giorgiana Zeremenko missed time with a shoulder injury.
The biggest moment – individually anyway – for McCartney in the postseason came in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals against Pennsbury, when she crushed a two-run homer to center and drove in all three runs during a 3-1 win at Carlisle High School.
McCartney said she chose Robert Morris, which plays in the Northeast Conference, over offers from Marist and St. Francis and that her commitment wraps up Colonials coach Dr. Craig Coleman’s Class of 2015.
Early pressure, sure, but that’s the way college softball is these days.
“I got an offer a couple weeks ago,” McCartney said. “I’ve been visiting a lot of schools. The past couple of months have been stressful with picking a school; even though I’m only going to be a junior, they can take the offers away because they’re already now completely done with the Class of 2015. I was the last commitment.”
McCartney said the recruiting process is certainly a unique one.
“They keep recruiting earlier and earlier,” McCartney said. “I feel like the recruiting process is different because with softball, you either have the talent and you can get better and they’ll know that.”
Coleman, the Robert Morris coach, was a regular at Canon-McMillan games this past spring and also watched plenty of McCartney’s travel team, the Steel City Cyclones.
McCartney plans to study either pre-med or criminology and said Robert Morris was an easy choice because it offers of those majors. It also has a growing campus and strong softball tradition.
“They’re becoming a bigger university than what they used to be,” McCartney said. “They have my majors that I’m interested in. And I know all the girls on the Robert Morris softball team, so it will make it easier to adjust as well.”
McCarney hit .519 in 2013 with eight doubles, six triples, five homers, 31 RBI and 33 runs. She slugged .962 and had an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.544 while hitting out of the cleanup spot.
McCartney and Lorusso both return next season. So, too, do the Big Macs’ other two meat-of-the-order hitters, Zeremenko and shortstop Linda Rush.
For McCartney, getting a Division I commitment out of the way was essentially a formality.
“It’s definitely a stress-reliever, and it’s really exciting,” McCartney said.