Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mars Celebrates First Section Title in Six-Year Period

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mars Celebrates First Section Title in Six-Year Period

Article excerpt

In her four years playing at Mars Area High School and 14 years coaching there, Michele Goodworth has seen both the ups and downs with the softball program at her alma mater.

There were the fun times such as the section-title-winning seasons in 1991 and '92 as a player and the section titles in 2004, '05 and '06 as a coach and a WPIAL title in 2006.

Then there were the not-so-fun times such as 2008 through 2011 when Mars went through a long rebuilding process that produced no trips to the playoffs.

This year, Goodworth and her long-time assistant Mike DelDuca have watched as the Planets rebuilding process bears fruit.

The team captured its first section title since 2006 and first playoff berth since 2007 by going 8-2 in Section 5-AAA and 11-5 overall. The Planets had a non-section game at Upper St. Clair scheduled for Wednesday after two others were washed out by rain.

"Me and my assistant, we kind of looked at each other the other day and both said 'This is fun again,'" Goodworth said. "Not that it is ever not fun, but it has just been a long time of rebuilding."

Even though none of the players on the team have ever been to a playoff game, they are well aware of the rich softball tradition at Mars. There is a wooden plaque in the dugout at their home field that lists all the section champions.

"The girls see it every day," Goodworth said.

While it has been awhile since Mars has experienced success on the softball field, Goodworth had a pretty good feeling her team was ready to win now.

"We definitely expected to reach the playoffs this season," Goodworth said. "We just kind of knew what we had going into the season, offensively we could count on the girls to score runs, that was an issue in years past."

Mars clinched the section title relatively early in the season as their section rivals kept defeating each other. …

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