Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Royals Keeping Tradition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Royals Keeping Tradition

Article excerpt

By its own lofty standards, this has not been a typical softball season at Vincentian Academy.

The Royals finished the regular season 8-5. They finished third in Class A Section 3 to qualify for the playoffs where they received a No. 13 seed in the 14-team field. The season was plagued by a depleted roster and mounting injuries, especially concussions.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Vincentian still qualified for the playoffs. The fronts of the jerseys still read Royals and the back of one jersey still reads Melvin.

The Melvin sisters have been the cornerstone of the Vincentian softball program for the better part of the past decade. Casey, Tricia, Nina, Bridget and Danielle Melvin have helped Vincentian become a Class A power.

The Royals won back-to-back-to-back WPIAL championships from 2008 to 2010, thanks in large part to contributions from the Melvins. Danielle Melvin, a senior first baseman is the last one to come through the Vincentian program.

Today's WPIAL first-round game against No. 4 Frazier (16-2) at 3 p.m. at Hempfield Area could be the last time a Melvin plays a game for Vincentian.

"She is the last of the legacy," first-year coach Joe Baczek said.

The first season on the job has been a challenge for Baczek. Seemingly every time he would run into the team's trainer, he would be met with bad news. Three starters missed significant time because of concussions and those came at positions where teams can least afford to lose starters -- catcher, shortstop and center field.

"We looked like a bunch of Band-Aids out there," Baczek said.

The injuries magnified the depth issues Baczek was already dealing with. For most games Vincentian would only have nine or 10 players available for duty.

"We were just trying to make sure we didn't have to forfeit," Baczek said.

In two games this season Vincentian only batted eight players and had to take an automatic out when the number nine hitter was due up. In the field for those games they left center field empty and pinched the left and right fielders toward the middle. …

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