Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beth-Center Still among Elite

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beth-Center Still among Elite

Article excerpt

Beth-Center opened the softball season in late March, winning four of five games in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

The Bulldogs have had few bumps in the road since returning home from a 20-hour bus ride from the South.

Beth-Center features nine returning starters from last year's WPIAL Class A quarterfinal team, including five seniors who were starters two years ago when the Bulldogs reached the WPIAL final. They concluded the regular season with a 16-3 record following a 16- 0 rout of Frazier on Wednesday.

Playoff pairings were announced Friday.

Beth-Center entered the postseason on a five-game winning streak and a perfect mark against Class A teams. Its only local losses were to two AAA playoff teams: Connellsville and No. 1 Mt. Lebanon.

Beth-Center has one of its best teams under Frank Mazeppa, who is in his 20th season as head coach. Four seniors -- first baseman Breanne Paletta, second baseman Lesley Kurjanowicz, shortstop Stacey Greenawalt and left fielder Alisha Holt -- are four-year starters.

The fifth senior starter -- center fielder Tammy Pendland -- is a three-year starter. Pendland did not try out for the team until her sophomore year.

The junior class also is solid, featuring pitcher Chelsea Stotka, right fielder Lauren Kuntz and catcher Kim Urcho. Kuntz is the only first-year starter and is batting .450.

Stotka had 110 strikeouts and nine shutouts through Wednesday. The only sophomore in the lineup, third baseman Courtney Kurowski, bats cleanup and had an average of .452. She was leading the team in RBIs with 18 and extra-base hits with nine.

Sophomore Amanda Bolin and freshman Amanda Higinbotham have played well off the bench in outfield/designated hitter roles.

Beth-Center has a powerful lineup, with Paletta (.393), Kurjanowicz (.352), Greenawalt (.524), Holt (.305 with six extra- base hits) and Pendland (.325) as threats at the plate.

Mazeppa also considers Pendland among the best defensive outfielders in the WPIAL. Pendland threw out two Mt. …

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