An entirely different offseason experience can be expected this summer, fall and winter around the Greater Latrobe softball program.
A year ago Latrobe entered the WPIAL playoffs with a 15-4 record and the No. 2 overall seed in the WPIAL Class AAAA field.
They entered the offseason quickly after a one-and-done performance, losing to Peters Township, 1-0, in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
This season the Wildcats entered the playoffs with slightly less fanfare and they made plenty more noise. They finished 13-4 in the regular season and shared the Section 1-AAAA title with two other teams, Norwin and Penn-Trafford.
Without the luxury of a first-round bye this year, Latrobe defeated Woodland Hills, 8-1, in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
"It was a nice big win for us," coach Alexa Bryson said of the first postseason victory. "That gave us some confidence going into the next couple of rounds."
That confidence was evident as Latrobe knocked off Seneca Valley, 3-2, in the quarterfinals before falling to two-time defending WPIAL champion Canon-McMillan, 7-6, in a back-and-forth contest.
Latrobe bounced back to get past section rival Penn-Trafford, 2-1, in the WPIAL consolation game and qualify for the state playoffs. Latrobe and Penn-Trafford had split their two regular-season meetings.
In the PIAA playoffs, Latrobe notched its biggest win to date, knocking off WPIAL champion Shaler Area, 6-4.
Latrobe then lost to DuBois Area, 9-5, in the PIAA quarterfinals, officially beginning what should be a productive offseason.
"Hopefully they will have a better taste in their mouths this offseason," Bryson said. "Hopefully that will give them the drive to work in the offseason because that is when progress is made."
Bryson, a 2008 Latrobe graduate, was in her first-year as pitching coach last year. This was her first year as head coach.
"You find out there are a lot of other responsibilities," Bryson said of the leap to head coach. "There is a lot of paperwork that as an assistant you don't do much. There are a lot of decisions to be made, you sort of learn as you go."
Latrobe graduates three senior starters from this team, right fielder Lexi Zoppetti, first baseman Shelby Noel and second baseman Ashley Pagliei.
Some of the returning starters expected back next season include sophomore catcher Jess Tatone, freshman pitcher Meredith Carr, junior third baseman Jenna Adams, junior center fielder Alexus Fearer and freshman designated player Jenna Raccor.
Bryson, a former standout pitcher, knows the importance of continuity in the pitching circle and behind the plate.
"That is always a nice thing," Bryson said. "As a former pitcher, I know how nice it is knowing the catcher well."
Latrobe did not reach the WPIAL finals but it was the last WPIAL Class AAAA team left playing this year.
"I felt like it was a successful year," Bryson said. "Obviously, we wish we could have continued, but I told the girls they have a lot to be proud of. I think every year we tell them there is a good reputation for Latrobe softball.
"We have built this program and every year we make it to the playoffs and do these things. It helps continue the tradition."