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Experienced Lady Patriots handling adversity

Seven starters return to Pittston Area lineup

Heather Marsico is back on the mound for the Lady Patriots.

Like every other spring sport, the Pittston Area softball team hasn’t had the luxury of practicing its sport where it plays its sport – outside.

But because the Lady Patriots are a veteran team – Coach Colleen McGarry returns seven starters from last season’s team – they are handling the adversity of being stuck indoors.

“The weather is not helping as we have been unable to practice on our field,” said McGarry. “We return a team with some experience but we have some key roles to fill. It makes some decision-making in regards to positions very difficult.

“But this team is another year older and the players have been handling the adversity of this weather like champs. We are excited to get outside and see the results of our off-season efforts.”

Two players McGarry is especially excited to see on the field are senior pitcher Heather Marsico and junior catcher Marissa Nardone. Both return to their respective positions after standout seasons a year ago.

Marsico was named to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I East Honorable Mention team after posting 101 strikeouts and five wins as a junior. She also posted a 3.88 ERA and 1.495 WHIP ratio.

Nardone was selected to the WVC Division I East First-Team as a sophomore. She batted a Greater Pittston-best .421 with 16 hits and seven RBI.

“Last season, we put too much pressure on our pitcher by not providing enough run support,” said McGarry.

The veteran coach will look to seniors Steph Bartz and Kelsey Mundenar to get the offense going ahead of Nardone. Bartz, the Lady Patriots centerfielder, and Mundenar, a two-year starter at shortstop, both batted around the .300 mark last season.

The right side of the infield also returns for PA as junior Grace O’Neill is back at first base and sophomore Antionette Scialpi returns to second base. Scialpi can also play third base for the Lady Patriots, and her position will be determined once the team gets outside.

Junior leftfielder Kelly Keener also returns for Pittston Area to anchor the outfield.

The other outfield positions, along with the one infield position, is up for grabs, but McGarry expects junior Katie George and Ariel Ardo, and freshmen Alyssa Talerico and Rachel Simansky to make a push for playing time.

“We have experience at some key positions, including Heather and Marissa,” said McGarry. “But beyond out seven returnees, we have no players with varsity experience. Our depth is our weakness.”

McGarry expects the usual suspects of Hazleton, Nanticoke and Dallas to be the favorites for the WVC Division I East, and Dallas and Valley View to be the District 2 Class 3A favorites.

“Seems like we are talking about them every year,” said McGarry.

But McGarry expects her team to be right there in the thick of things in the division.

“We are expecting some good things this season,” said McGarry. “The team is excited and working hard. We hope to be competitive this season.”

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