Softball Lady Warriors overcome adversities


(Photo courtesy of WJHS)

Miranda Herbele and teammates in the dugout in their game against St. Vincent/St. Mary on April 26.

The Walsh Jesuit varsity softball team has overcome challenges such as injury, fire, double headers, and harsh weather this season to achieve a 14-3 record.

The Warriors varsity team is very young. They lost most of their starting players after the 2020 season, leaving key positions such as pitcher, catcher and short stop to be filled in. The team currently has four seniors who start: Mia DeSciscio, the catcher; Emma Barnes; center fielder, Katie Masteller at left field; and Maddy Schmeiser at third base. The majority of the team is only playing their first season, with the sophomores losing theirs to COVID and quarantine. However, the young players are very promising.

“Pre-season was rough, especially with our freezing scrimmage against Brecksville, but I feel like that game helped us build character,” said senior Mia DeSiscio. “Boardman was a little difficult; we wound up beating them by 13 runs, but we had a hard time keeping our heads in the game and dealing with the chilling winds.”

The young team kicked off their season on March 27 with a double header against Uniontown Lake. It was a hot day for the beginning of the season with the sun beaming and the air dry. Walsh had just taken the win over Uniontown Lake in their first game and started their second when the smell of smoke enveloped the field. A gray fog coated the field and ashes began falling.

“Our double header against Lake was really tough. Their pitchers were good,” said senior captain Emma Barnes. “It was especially difficult to play in the middle of the grass fire which made it really difficult to see fly balls.”

The team celebrating after freshman Brianna Wise hit the team’s first walk off victory at home this season against Massillon Perry, making the score 4-3. (WJHS)

Freshman pitcher Natalie Susa mowed through six games strong before her back and elbow started becoming painful, which was really getting to her at the end of the game against Archbishop Hoban. She began taking more time between pitches to stretch her back and rest her injuries, still pulling away with the win.  Center fielder Barnes also reported having elbow pains, which affected her throws from her position.

Despite injuries in the circle and the outfield, the team continued to fight with grit. The team pulled out a tough win Thursday, April 15, against one of the most difficult teams they would face this season, Massillon Perry.  The Warriors first walk-off home game occurred when Susa hit a single, proceeded to second on an obstruction call by the first baseman, and freshman Brianna Wise hit a shot past the second baseman, scoring Susa and winning the game at the bottom of the seventh.

“I feel like we have been strong all the way around, but recently it’s been tough in the circle,” said head coach Tony Scibelli. “Now that we are in the heat of our season, it’s really tough on our starting pitcher, pitching seven-inning games, multiple days a week, with very few innings of relief.”

On April 23 and 24, the Warriors played in a big tournament that brought multiple teams all the way from Toledo and where they faced North Ridgeville, Hudson, and Anthony Wayne. In the game against Anthony Wayne, Brianna took a ball off her elbow and had to be assisted off the field. She was taken out for the remainder of the game, along with the three the following week. With the absence of Wise, sophomore Jenna Passek was brought from left field to fill in at second.

Freshman pitcher Natalie Susa against Stow. She earned 17 strikeouts and had her first high school career home run. (WJHS )

Freshmen Sienna Tepley, Brianna Wise, and Natalie Susa continued to show incredible potential. Sienna, with blazing speed, was pretty consistent at the top of the line up for the team and was an almost definite run when she got on base. Natalie not only carried the team in the circle, she was also a threat in the box with home-run power and a good batting average. Brianna came in clutch many times when the team needed a run. She had multiple RBIs when the team was down.

The seniors have also been fun to watch this season. Miranda Herbele took advantage of her at bats with two home-runs this season. Mia DeSiscio had a home-run as of this writing and did a great job for the team catching every game. Emma Barnes made some amazing diving plays in the outfield as well as a consistent batting average with a ball over the fence, while Maddy Schmeiser recently had a four-game home-run streak with five over in five games.

The team may be young, but they’re making a name for themselves. They earned a top seed in the eleven-team Mentor District and will begin their playoffs on May 12 against the winner of Kent Roosevelt and Stow.