Top pitchers, hitters return to softball lineup


Photo by Sam Robinson | Point Park Athletics S

Senior Kim Corcoran runs to second base in a game last season. Corcoran led the team in Florida with a .400 batting average through eight games. She has a team-high six home runs last season.

Written By Josh Croup, Co-Sports Editor

One of the top pitching rotations in the River States Conference (RSC) returns this season to Point Park this year to attempt another run at a conference title.   

The softball team finished fifth in the RSC last season behind an 11-7 conference record and 21-21 overall record.

The Pioneers return all three pitchers from last year’s team that had a 2.21 ERA, the second-best mark in the conference.

Ashley Iagnemma enters her junior season with the squad after posting the second-best ERA in the RSC last season and the third-best two years ago. She tossed two no-hitters last year and led the staff with 11 wins, 155 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .167 average.

Iagnemma is partnered once again in the starting rotation with Tiffany Edwards, who also returns for her junior year. Edwards ended last season with a 2.30 ERA in 106.1 innings, striking out 48 and walking 23.

Point Park’s hard-throwing reliever Katie Tarr is back for year two with the program. Tarr struck out 45 batters in 46.2 innings last season, most coming out of the bullpen. Tarr only allowed eight walks and ended last season with a 3.60 ERA.

The Pioneers’ pitching staff anchored their team last season and was second only to Rio Grande in terms of pitching dominance last year in the RSC. The RedStorm also had a dynamic starting duo last year, but lost one due to graduation this year.

They returned the better of the two starters with 2017 RSC player and pitcher of the year Kelsey Conkey back for her junior season. She posted a 21-1 record with a 0.87 ERA in 136.2 innings.

The RedStorm were the RSC preseason favorite and Point Park was picked fourth in the preseason poll behind Indiana University (IU) Southeast and Midway.

Point Park dropped both low-scoring regular season meetings with Rio Grande last year by 1-0 and 3-1 finals. The RedStorm handed Point Park its first of two losses in the RSC Tournament. Point Park got past West Virginia Tech in the first round of the double-elimination tournament, but fell to Rio Grande and then Cincinnati Christian to see its season come to an end.

The 2017 Pioneers only lost All-RSC Second Team shortstop Becca Babincak to graduation. She led the team with a .408 batting average last year in the leadoff spot in the Point Park lineup. 2017 second baseman Lily Pruneda has slid into the shortstop role this year, while junior Brittany Zeigler and sophomore Courtney Blocher have split time at second base.

Point Park returns the rest of its lineup from last year, including All-RSC First Team first baseman Kim Corcoran and All-RSC Second Team catcher Jess Beitler. Corcoran led the team with six home runs and 32 RBI in 2017 and hit .348 in the process.

Madisyn Horn has headlined the current recruiting class early in the 2018 campaign after a three-time First Team All-State Single A outfielder at Tri-Valley High School in Hegins, Pa. Horn started six of the seven games she played during the team’s opening week in Florida, hitting .250 and scoring three times. She saw time at each outfield position defensively.

The Pioneers went 3-5 at their spring games in Clermont, Fla. with losses to nationally-ranked opponents.

Point Park dropped its first pair of games to No. 22 Warner University 9-3 and 2-0 to start the week. Iagnemma only lasted three innings in her 2018 debut and gave up five earned runs on four hits and four walks. Tarr allowed the other four runs, three of them earned. Edwards pitched a complete game in the 2-0 loss, allowing only one earned run. Only three players managed hits for Point Park in game two.

The Pioneers dropped a 1-0 final against No. 16 Southeastern University the next day of games. Edwards pitched another gem, going 7.2 innings in the barn burner and surrendering just five hits. Point Park notched its first win of 2018 in an 8-2 decision over Kentucky Wesleyan College the same day, with Horn going 3-3 with one RBI. Pruneda scored twice and Corcoran drove in two runs in the win.

Point Park picked up two more wins in Florida with a walkoff 2-1 win over Mount Vernon Nazarene and a 6-3 win against Cleary University. Its two other losses came to 2017 NAIA World Series team Davenport by way of 4-1 and 2-1 finals.

The Pioneers are off this weekend. They return to the diamond next weekend for the Lindsey Wilson/Campbellsville Tournament. Point Park opens its season on March 20 vs. Waynesburg and begins RSC play on March 23 at Cincinnati Christian and March 24 at Ohio Christian. Point Park’s first home conference games are on March 30 against Carlow.