Emma Conte on Hitting Tear for Lady BucksĀ 

By Steve Svetovich

Sometimes you just get in a groove and it doesn’t stop.

Take Dunmore Lady Bucks junior shortstop Emma Conte, for instance.

Daughter of Rich and Kim Conte, Emma credits her off-season work with former minor league shortstop and Scranton Central and Millersville product Phil Rossi for the great strides she has made with her hitting stroke.

“I worked with Phil Rossi a lot in the off-season months,” she said. “He is just a tremendous private instructor and taught me a lot about hitting in order to improve my game. I have to give him a lot of credit for my improvement.”

Emma is so hot that she went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a double in a 7-5 win over Lakeland on Friday, April 30; 3-for-4 with two RBIs in a 4-3 loss to Carbondale on Monday, April 26; 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in an 8-7 loss to Holy Cross on Thursday, April 22; and 4-for-4 with two runs, two doubles and four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Riverside on Monday, April 19. 

At press time, Emma is hitting a scintillating .581, with six doubles and a homer. She has simply been on a hitting tear all season.

The junior stalwart also plays a fabulous shortstop. “To be a good shortstop in high school softball,” she said, “you need to connect with your team and be a leader. You need to be able to bring a teammate up when they are down. You need to lead the cheering. Make your teammates cheer.”

A vocal leader on the team, Emma said she wants to continue her softball career in college. Not sure yet about a college, Emma said she does want to major in Early Childhood Education and eventually teach young children.

Her hobbies include fishing, hanging with friends, and going to her family beach house in Florida.

Emma Conte is shown with her off-season coach Phil Rossi, who she credits with improving her hitting.

She also gives a lot of credit to Dunmore softball coach Ryan Ferguson and his assistant Colleen Ross. “They are both great coaches and taught me a lot.”

Emma’s parents also have been strong mentors. “They teach me how to play with my teammates. Be a leader. Be a team player and good teammate.”

This is Emma’s first year on the Dunmore Lady Bucks softball team. She hit a strong .400 as a freshman at Riverside. Her sophomore softball season was lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then she transferred to Dunmore. 

She has a 94 academic average and said her best subject is English. She is a member of the Spanish Club. She also plays volleyball. 

At press time her team had a 4-5 record, but she sees a lot of improvement with the team. “We are really playing well together now,” she said. “We are doing well lately and hitting now. This team is going to bring it up a lot. We are going to light it up.”

A confident leader on the team, Emma said her future goals are to continue playing softball and become a teacher. She would like to see Post Malone in concert.

She continued with her praise of Rossi who once led the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League with a .448 average while playing at Dunmore’s Schautz Stadium in the summer of 1975. “He just knows so much about the game.” 

Well spoken and talkative, Emma said she is enjoying her experience at Dunmore. “I love it,” she said. “Everyone is so friendly. The softball team is so close.” 

Athlete of the Month: Carly Wywoda

By Steve Svetovich

Carly goes Yardy.

That was the case when Holy Cross junior shortstop Carly Wywoda came to bat in the bottom of the eighth of a 7-7 game against the Dunmore Lady Bucks. 

The junior stalwart fouled off the first two pitches and then slugged a deep walk off homer to left center to beat the rival Lady Bucks, 8-7, on Thursday, April 22, in a Lackawanna League Division III contest at a cold, windy Saint Anthony’s Playground, Dunmore. 

It was her second homer of the season. 

With two strikes on her, Carly said she was not looking to hit a homer but made good contact and the ball traveled. 

“I felt really happy to help my team out,” she said. “But I have to admit, it felt really good inside.”

Daughter of Georgann and Pete Wywoda, Carly at press time has three homers and is hitting a robust .520.

She has been a key member of the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders softball team since her freshman year when she hit .368 with five homers.

Carly, 17, has an impressive 3.89 academic average at Holy Cross. Her favorite subject is Spanish.

Carly said she would like to have a dual major in Education and Spanish in college and “definitely” wants to continue her softball career. Carly is unsure where she will attend college.

Joe Ross is her softball coach at Holy Cross. “He teaches me to always keep my head up and keep fighting. Never give up. Even when you make an error or an out, keep your head up.”

The slick fielding, hard hitting shortstop said her parents are a big influence. “My parents teach me to respect everything I have, including the game, people, coaches, teammates. They tell me to never give up on anything.”

Carly is a member of the Foreign Languages Club and Service Club at Holy Cross. She is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a huge fan of Kenny Chesney who she saw in concert and would like to see again.

At press time her team only had two losses. “We do not let up,” she said. “We just keep fighting.”

She talked about what it takes to be a good shortstop in high school softball. 

“You need to have a good attitude and show leadership. You can’t get down or hang your head after a missed play.”

She talked about her future goals. “I want to keep and maintain my academic strengths. I want to do well all around, both on and off the field and outside of school too. I want to learn about different cultures and never stop learning. I want to learn about all different people. I want to become a teacher and continue playing softball in college.” 

Soft spoken and articulate, Carly beamed when asked about her Holy Cross experience. “It has been absolutely amazing,” she said. “The faculty, staff and coaches always put the student first. They really care about the students and it shows. I love it here.” 

Lady Crusaders Win District Title

By Steve Svetovich

Seniors Abbey Lentowski and Emily Ferguson scored 21 and 15 points, respectively, and team leading scorer Kaci Kranson added 17 as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders defeated Old Forge, 59-38, Friday, March 12, in the Class 2A final to earn the school’s second District 2 title at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Ferguson hit on three-of-five 3-pointers in a district title win that was especially sweet considering she tore her right ACL in the state tournament last March. Her 15 points were a season high.

Lentowski, who added seven rebounds was feeling a sense of revenge stemming from last season’s loss to Old Forge in the final.

Five first quarter steals set the tone for the Lady Crusaders. The steals helped Holy Cross build a nice, early lead. 

Ferguson drilled a 3-pointer near the midway point to put Holy Cross up, 8-4. 

Kranson then scored off Lentowski’s steal and then hauled down a rebound and went the length of the floor for a bucket. 

Lentowski did the same following her steal and the Lady Crusaders had a 14-4 lead.

A tight Holy Cross defense held Old Forge’s Olivia Ciullo to one field goal and four free throws in the first half. Ciullo was held to 13 points, well below her season average, in the contest.

Makayla Parker led Old Forge with 17 points in her final game.

Ferguson got things going in the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer as part of a 7-0 burst. Lentowski capped off the scoring spree by hitting a long shot at the top of the key.

Old Forge staged a comeback in the second quarter when Parker scored six points and Ciullo added a free throw. 

But Ferguson and Lentowski then came through in the clutch. 

Ferguson hit on two free throws and added a bucket on a baseline drive. 

Lentowski added two more buckets around a Parker drive in the final minute of the half as Holy Cross built a 34-17 halftime lead and never looked back.

The closest Old Forge came in the second half was a 45-34 deficit with 5:42 left in the game.

However, Lentowski, Kranson and Julia Goetz scored the next eight points to seal the win and district title for coach Barry Fitzgerald and the Lady Crusaders.

Kranson, who averaged 21.4 points, added three assists and two blocks. Lentowski, who averaged 18.3 points, had three steals.

Holy Cross advanced into the Class 2A quarterfinals after Linden Hall withdrew due to COVID-19 circumstances within its program.

Holy Cross then lost, 50-47, to Mount Carmel, Friday, March 19, in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel all-state center Dani Rae Renno scored four points in the final 47.8 seconds and forced a turnover with seven seconds left to help the Red Tornadoes edge Holy Cross.

Holy Cross had staged a dramatic comeback after trailing, 41-31.

Kranson, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit a 3-pointer to start a 12-0 Holy Cross run giving the Lady Crusaders a 43-41 lead with 2:11 left in the contest. Kranson hit two free throws to give Holy Cross the lead. Lentowski hit a clutch 3-pointer and Caitlyn Bestrycki hit a big shot in the 12-0 run.

Renno then tied the game with a put back.

Then Lentowski hit a huge 3-pointer and the Lady Crusaders had the lead back with 1:46 left.

Renno scored on a layup. Mount Carmel regained possession after a ball was ruled out of bounds by Holy Cross. Renno missed a shot, but was fouled when she went for the rebound. She hit two foul shots to give her team a 49-47 lead with 29.1 seconds left.

A play was set up for Kranson, but as she drove, Renno tried to cut her off. Kranson was knocked off balance and she was called for traveling.

A Mount Carmel free throw made it 50-47 with 4.8 seconds left.

Kranson then drove the length of the floor, but missed a 25-footer to end the contest as Mount Carnel (17-5) advanced.

Lentowski scored 10 points for Holy Cross in the loss. Sophomore Krista Carachilo added six points on two first quarter 3-pointers which helped the Lady Crusaders build an early 15-9 lead.

Kranson had 10 rebounds and two blocks for Holy Cross (12-5) in the loss.