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Raider softball wins opener with reinforcements

Seneca Valley’s Bella Gross (8) and Addie Winkle (9) celebrate after getting three outs against Plum during the Raiders’ season-opening 12-1 softball victory Tuesday. Justin Guido/ Butler Eagle 03/21/23
SV sophomore Winkle, freshman Miller sparkle in 12-1 victory

JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley has six starters back from last season’s PIAA softball runner-up team.

And they have reinforcements.

Sophomore Addie Winkle —who did some pinch-running during the Raiders’ postseason run last season — was not in Tuesday’s starting lineup. She came off the bench to deliver three hits and four RBI, freshman No. 9 hitter Neve Miller produced a pair of doubles and two RBI to lead the Raiders to a season-opening 12-1, five-inning victory over Plum Tuesday on the SV diamond.

Winkle entered the game in the second inning as second baseman Kelli Trimble fouled a pitch off her thumb in the first and was unable to continue.

“We changed Addie’s game around over the winter,” SV coach Marlesse Hames said. “She had been a right-handed hitter. We worked with her to become a left-handed slap hitter to take advantage of her speed a bit more.

“We expect her to be a big part of our team this year.”

Seneca Valley’s Anna Kalkowski slides safely into third base with a triple as Plum’s Kenzie Marotta pulls the ball in. Justin Guido/ Butler Eagle 03/21/23

She got off to a quick start in that sense.

With the Raiders leading 1-0, Winkle slapped a two-run triple down the left field line in the second inning. She added an RBI infield single during a three-run third inning and grounded a run-scoring single to right during a four-run fifth frame.

“Addie can play second base or the outfield,” Hames said. “She’s pretty versatile.”

Miller is a freshman who earned her way into the Raiders’ lineup with her bat. She was SV’s designated player and hit for the first baseman in the ninth spot Tuesday.

Miller doubled off the base of the fence in the second inning and eventually scored. She added a two-run double in the third inning. She scored three runs on the day.

“I didn’t expect her to play varsity right away this year, but we couldn’t ignore that bat,” Hames said. “Neve can drive the ball.“

SV’s veteran players made their presence felt as well. Lexie Hames, a sophomore, struck out eight and tossed a two-hitter in five innings in the circle. She pitched out of a first-inning jam by striking out three successive Plum batters with runners on second and third.

Riley Stephans singled to right and Kendall James reached on a two-vase error to begin the game for the Mustangs.

“You have to take advantage of every opportunity you have when you’re facing a pitcher of that caliber,” Plum coach Phil DiLonardo said of Hames. “We had a few scoring chances today. We just didn’t capitalize.”

The Mustangs scored their lone run in the third inning. Stephans walked, stole second and scored on Kenzie Lang’s two-out single to right.

Mia Ryan had a double, single and RBII, Anna Kalkowski a triple and single for the Raiders. Hames had two singles and scored two runs. Bella Gross enjded the game via the 10-run rule with a three-run double down the left field line in the fifth.

“Good start for us,” Coach Hames said. “We changed Lexie’s pitching motion this year to make her faster. Sometimes she reverts back to the old form. Once we straightened her out, she did fine.”

Hames retired the final seven hitters she faced.

Plum is coming off a 7-12 season and had five freshmen playing Tuesday. Mustang pitchers Stephans and Kenzie Marotta are both freshmen and surrendered 12 hits.

“ A team this young (opening vs. defending state finalist) isn’t exactly a recipe for success,” DiLonardo said. “But I saw some good things today. I’m excited about this group. I believe we can have a good year.”

Plum 001 00 — 1 2 2

Seneca Valley 053 04 — 12 12 1

WP: Lexie Hames 5IP 8k, 3bb. LP: Riley Stephans 2 IP 2k, 5bb.

Plum (0-1): Riley Stephans 1B, Kenzie Lang 1B RBI.

Seneca Valley (1-0): Addie Winkle 3B 2-1B 4-RBI 2-R, Lexie Hames 2-1B RBI 2-R, Mia Ryan 2B 1B RBI, Bella Gross 2B 3-RBI, Anna Kalkowski 3B 1B, Kylie Staudt 2-R, Neve Miller 2-2B 2-RBI 3-R.

Friday: Seneca Valley at Moon

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