Lexi Felinski has already batted over .400 as a starter in two high school softball seasons and she still has another year ahead as a junior second baseman.
Felinski is just one example of why Pittston Area is a potential contender in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 softball.
The Lady Patriots return an experienced, but still young team as they seek to play for a softball championship for the third straight year.
As the seventh seed in a seven-team tournament, Pittston Area advanced to the District 2-11 Class 5A Subregional final last season after making the District 2 Class 3A final in 2016 in the old four-classification format.
Pittston Area had just three seniors on last year’s team and only one started regularly. It still has just two seniors on the roster with one in a prominent role and another battling for steady playing time.
“We’ve played for the district title the last two years against Abington (Heights),” Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia said. “We’re fortunate to have the type of talented kids that we have, but they all know that talent and potential doesn’t mean anything if you don’t put it together and stay healthy, have some luck and work hard.”
Senior Nina Cencetti and junior Alexa McHugh are back after splitting time between pitcher and first base last season and Quaglia anticipates a similar situation this year.
The entire starting outfield returns with sophomore center fielder Gabby Para, sophomore right fielder Kaehler Kivler and junior left fielder Shayla Williams.
Junior Morgan Mesaris, who became one of the team’s top hitters last year as a designated player, could make it into the field. Mesaris and senior Mackenzie Gable are working in both the outfield and infield.
Bailey Loyack, a junior, returns at catcher.
Madisyn Antal, who started as a freshman, returns at third base, but can also play catcher along with promising freshman Bernadette Lieback.
Sophomore Kylie Herbert is another option at third base and pitcher.
Lieback and fellow freshman Tiara George are working as the potential replacements for graduated Taryn Ashby at shortstop.
Sophomore Sandra Maisano gives the team another option as a utility player.
Jaden Zawierucha, Alexis Borthwick and Halle Bryk are the other freshmen trying to break into the lineup.
Before its strong playoff run that ended with a 2-1 loss to Abington Heights, Pittston Area was 6-7 in the WVC to place third in Division 1.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.