S. ABINGTON TWP. — The Abington Heights softball team won the Lackawanna League Division 1 championship for the third consecutive year. Four members of the team were selected to the 2018 Pennsylvania High School Coaches Association Class 5A All-State team for their play throughout the season.
Sophomore Catherine Anne Kupinski, a first-team selection at catcher as a freshman, was a first-team choice at first base after switching positions early in the season due to a shoulder injury.
Kupinski hit .452 with nine home runs and three doubles. She also drove in 26 runs.
Abington Heights head coach John Kelly felt Kupinski excelled at the new position and her versatility is one of her best traits.
“She’s the type of kid who could play any position, with the exception of probably pitcher, and you could feel very secure that you have a good player there,” he said. “She adjusted very well and didn’t have an error all year at first base, which is phenomenal.
“She’s just one of a kind.”
Kupinski also benefited from having two other All-State players — Nina Kozar and Bailey White — hitting behind her in the Lady Comets’ lineup.
“They couldn’t really pitcher around her, so she saw a lot of good pitches,” Kelly said. “She’s very disciplined at the plate; very seldom does she swing at a pitch out of the zone.”
Kozar, a first-team pick as a sophomore at first base, was a second-team selection at catcher this year.
The junior hit .415 with four home runs and four doubles.
“She carried us at the beginning when Catherine Anne was out of the lineup,” Kelly said. “She’s one of those players who can change the game with one swing of the bat. She’s very powerful and she learned to stay back on the ball a little more. That really helped her out a lot this year.”
Kelly was confident Kozar would perform well at the new position due to her background in the sport.
“She played (catcher) a lot in travel ball, so we knew she had the experience and that she would do pretty well,” he said. “It was just a matter of getting her familiar with Meghan (McGinley), our pitcher, and she did a great job.”
Senior Naudia Solan was a second-team selection at second base after hitting .434 with two doubles, a triple and knocking in 14 runs. She was also a second-team pick at second base as a junior and a honorable mention choice as an outfielder during her sophomore season (in Class 3A).
“She’s another kid who played multiple positions for us,” Kelly said. “She started in the outfield, moved to second base and this year, with our shortstop having some medical issues, we moved her there and she played tremendous. Out of 40 chances, she only had one error. I think that was the separating thing for her at the state level. She had a really great year, defensively.
“She was also a good hitter and had the third highest batting average on the team.”
According to Kelly, Solan also took time to help acclimate the underclassmen to the varsity level.
“She worked a lot with our younger players and showed very good leadership,” he said.
White, a freshman, made an immediate impact and was tabbed as a second-team selection as an outfielder.
White hit .426 with six doubles, three triples, and had 14 RBIs. She also stole two bases and committed just one error on defense.
“We knew Bailey was going to be a good player; we just didn’t know how long it would take for her to adapt to moving up to high school,” Kelly said. “She stepped right in and did an outstanding job, both offensively and defensively. She has tremendous power and, when she becomes a little bit more patient at the plate, she’s going to be even better.”
Kelly was also impressed by the way White handled the task of taking over for a high-caliber player.
“She replaced an all-state center fielder in Alison Kane, who was very good defensively,” he said. “People were putting a little pressure on her and she did very well. Her arm strength is phenomenal. She’s one of the few outfielders that we give the green light to make a throw.”