Just a season removed from falling in the state championship game, the Polytech Panthers came into the 2014 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, the Lady Panthers weren’t able to duplicate their 2013 season, but finished 12-6 and earned another berth into the DIAA State Tournament.
Even though they came up short of their championship goals, the program itself is heading in the right direction.
“We had hoped to be successful in our conference while making another deep run in the state tournament,” said Polytech head coach Jennifer Bradshaw. “The ultimate goal was, of course, winning the state championship but I believe we had a solid year.”
While the team had several impact players’ return from the previous season, the team was void of experience and coming into 2014 they weren’t going to sneak up on their competition after their success in 2013. With last season now behind them, the team looks ahead toward a bright future thanks to the talent in house that will be returning for another shot at the state crown next season.
With just two seniors on the squad last season, Samantha Burns and Kristen Ball, the Lady Panthers leaned heavily on their underclassmen last season. However, their small – but effective – group of juniors including Brandi Dalious, Shaina Reed, Monica Joseph, and Megan DiRubbio will transition to leaders next season in what should be another talented Polytech squad.
“Shaina and Brandi are both very talented and versatile athletes,” said Bradshaw. “Since their freshmen year, not only have their skills improved, but their confidence and knowledge of the game has developed as well.”
Dalious and Reed both earned all-state first-team honors for the second consecutive season, and look to be a big part of the team’s makeup next year.
Dalious had a tremendous season at the plate for the Lady Panthers, registering 26 hits, 2 homeruns, and 14 RBI while sporting an .857 fielding average.
Reed, a standout pitcher, started 18 games for Polytech going 11-6 with an ERA of 1.65 and 111 strikeouts. Reed was also deadly with the bat this past season, boasting 26 hits, 5 homeruns, and 27 RBI for an average of .448.
“In their senior year, we look for them to utilize their experience on the field,” Bradshaw said. “We look for them to take charge of their younger teammates and lead us deep into the state tournament.”