The Greensburg Central Catholic softball team lost, 7-0, to undefeated Fairview in the first round of the PIAA Class AA softball tournament, but the Centurions were full of reasons why 2012 was a great season, even until its very end.
"On Sunday, we had a great practice. Everyone was loose and ready to go," Centurions coach Gary Ciarimboli said.
Thunderstorms had shifted the team indoors, but the girls still found the space to hit and practice fielding ground balls. Ciarimboli noted that the team looked good. Monday came and the Centurions headed to Erie to take on Fairview at Penn State Behrend. Threatening weather gave way to clear skies just in time to start the game.
"We started out really well out there," said Ciarimboli.
The Centurions' problems began in the second inning as Fairview scored four runs and GCC lost its starting pitcher.
After Fairview had advanced a runner to third base, Anna Marie Gatti's first pitch to Fairview's Courtney Kupniewski got away from catcher Carolyn Appleby and when Gatti ran to cover home, Fairview's Aubree Martin slid into her left foot -- the one that had just healed from a bone bruise in April.
On Gatti's next pitch, Kupniewski hit a triple, sparking a four-run rally that inning. Hobbled by the play at the plate, Gatti wasn't able to continue after the one pitch to Kupniewski and Nikki Adisey relieved her. With the Centurions' momentum shaken, Fairview scored three more runs over the rest of the game.
"You lose your concentration sometimes, but it's just tough to get it back," said Ciarimboli. "Fairview is a good team -- gotta give them the credit. We didn't hit the ball."
Ciarimboli said Fairview's Raven Rozantz was one of the better pitchers his team had faced all season.
The Centurions will separate somewhat and go to various travel softball teams for the summer. But for the 2013 season, almost all of them will return.
Ciarimboli noted that only Alie Perz, Leah Daigle, and Rachel Denino are 2012 graduates.
"I've enjoyed the four years with Perz and Daigle," said Ciarimboli.
He said that although he's only spent one season coaching with Denino, he has enjoyed that as well. Next year, Perz will attend college at Kent State. Daigle will go to Geneva and Denino will go to Saint Vincent, but none plans to play college softball.
The Centurions, who tied for second place with Southmoreland behind Mount Pleasant in Section 4-AA, finished the season with a 14-8 record.
As for Ciarimboli, he said he'd be spending some extra time at work this summer to make up for lost hours during softball season. He doesn't mind, though.
"It was worth it," Ciarimboli said. "If it weren't, I wouldn't do this."
First Published June 7, 2012 12:00 AM