Weir Softball Eyes Championship Run in 2019
WEIRTON — Being one win away from going to the state championship playoffs in Vienna has been all the incentive Weir softball coach Frank Sisinni needed to inspire his club to work hard during the offseason and prepare for a championship run this season.
“We got a taste of playing at the advanced level and found we kind of like it. We were eliminated in the Region One finals last year by Petersburg, and now we know that, with eight starters returning from that team, we can go all the way,” Sisinni, who is beginning his fourth year at the helm of the Red Riders, said. “We have three seniors that are setting the standard for putting in the work on softball that is necessary to achieve our goals.”
The Red Riders posted a 20-8 record last year. Three senior leaders from that team picked up their diplomas last May. They are Allison Phillips, Lexi Brennaman and Abriana Fuscardo.
Sisinni will again have three seniors leading the 2019 squad, with all-state pitcher Alivia Rosnick, honorable mention all-stater Sam Kaczmarek and Maddie Dilullo.
“All three of those girls have been with me since I started this journey four years ago,” he said. “We went 4-22 in that first year, then progressed to 15-14 when these seniors were sophomores and 20-8 last year.”
Pitching is the name of the game in softball and baseball, and Rosnick and Kaczmarek compliment each other in the circle. Rosnick is a power pitcher with 96 strikeouts. Also named first team All-OVAC last year, she posted a 9-5 record with a 1.80 earned run average. She also led the team at the plate with a .419 batting average and 26 runs batted in. Kaczmarek, who is less of a power pitcher than Rosnick, had a sparkling 10-1 record with a 1.90 ERA and yielded just 14 walks. She was honorable mention on the all-state team.
Sisinni boasts that he has two freshmen pitchers in Madison Angus and Chesney Tice who are showing promise and could see some varsity action on the rubber this year. Certainly, he is counting on them to be ready to take over the hurling duties next year when Rosnick and Kaczmarek graduate.
“We have three underclassmen that all played big roles in our success last year,” Sisinni said. “Our double play combination of sophomore Isabella Aperfine and senior Maddie Dilullo remains intact at shortstop and second base, respectively.
“Sophia Mikula, a junior, returns as our catcher where she has been now for three years. She received special honorable mention on last year’s all-state team. Sophia hit .389 with 17 RBI and 12 stolen bases. She only had two errors in 28 games. Also returning for her third year as a starter is junior first baseman Taylor Webster. Taylor, who batted .311 with 25 RBI and eight doubles and was on the all-state team as a freshman. We plan to give her time in the outfield this year to help fill the holes lost by the graduations of Brennaman and Fuscardo.”
Sisinni added that Kaczmarek and Rosnick can play first base, along with freshman Madison Angus and sophomore Daysia Vaczy. Another sophomore, Alexis Adams, will be a backup catcher and outfielder. Phillips was a mainstay at third base last year and will be missed, but Sisinni said he has a talented freshman who will fill her shoes in Mallory Rosnick, Alivia’s sister. The other newcomers who have caught Sisinni’s eye are Vaczy, a sophomore who plays first base and center field, and Kristen Skinner, also a sophomore outfielder.
“We will have a lot of speed at the top of our batting order with Aperfine and Mikula, who had 35 stolen bases between them batting first and second. And, each scored a lot of runs — Aperfine 35, Mikula 27,” Sisinni said. “Actually, the strength of our offense will be through the first six or seven batters. They will all be experienced and able to cause issues with people.
“We, as coaches, put our trust in these three seniors four years ago, and now we’re reaping the benefits because they have come through time and again over the past three years. They play on travel teams and play summer ball, and I believe they are ready.”
Sisinni has Kayla Hinchee as a new member of his coaching staff, joining holdovers John Leary and Troy Fetty.