New Castle News

Neshannock

August 3, 2012

Furst, Sainato named to softball all-state team

NEW CASTLE — Consistency paid off for two of Lawrence County’s most elite softball players.

Amanda Furst of Neshannock and Kara Sainato of Ellwood City Lincoln were named to the 2012 Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association  All-State Team.

Furst, a senior, was a Class AA first-team selection after she led the Lady Lancers to their first state title in school history. Furst, who showed incredible longevity by starting every game for Neshannock over the last four years, finished the season 23-1 with a 1.41 ERA and 106 strikeouts. She pitched eight innings during the state championship game and allowed just two runs in earning the win. Furst also batted cleanup for the Lady Lancers, recording a .349 batting average with four home runs and 25 RBIs.

“We were talking back and forth during the season saying, ‘Hey, there’s a chance you can go out with a bang this year,’ ” recalled Neshannock coach Tracy Kimmel. “Little did we know.

“It’s great for her. I’m proud of her. She’s meant so much to the program over the last four years. This is just a culmination of all her hard work. It’s a heck of a way to go out.”

Sainato, a second-team selection in Class AAA, still has one year before she hangs up the cleats. The junior primarily was a pitcher for Ellwood City, posting a 1.90 ERA for the Lady Wolverines, but she was named to the second team as a third baseman, a position Sainato played when she didn’t pitch.

“She’s one of those girls who can play anywhere on the infield,” Ellwood City coach Gary Rozanski said. “She will go the next level and probably be an infielder. Her reaction time is quick, her range is good, she’s very instinctive, has a strong arm and she gets rid of the ball quickly.”

She can hit, too. Sainato batted .382 with 10 doubles (second best in Lawrence County) and a triple. She helped lead Ellwood City to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. The Lady Wolverines defeated Highlands, 12-7, in a preliminary-round game before falling to Ambridge, 9-0, in the first round.

Rozanski said she’s been a solid hitter since she entered high school.

“From her freshman year, she’s been batting over .300,” he said. “She can hit one through four in the lineup, depending on how you want your order to be. She can put the ball in play, she has power and she runs well.”

Sainato is the second Ellwood City player to make the team in the past two years as former catcher Samantha Santillo earned a spot last year.

(Email: j_simon@ncnewsonline.com).

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