By Steve Svetovich
Rachel Walsh was near perfect on the mound all season.
Daughter of Kevin and Michele Walsh, she seems to have a bright future on the softball diamond.
With her dad Kevin Walsh coaching the team, Rachel, 10, led the Dunmore 10 and Under Miss E League team to the Valley Junior Petunia League title with four magnificent pitching performances.
And that earned her tournament MVP honors.
Not that it was a surprise. After all, Rachel has a 21-3 pitching record (regular season and playoffs), over 100 strikeouts and miniscule 0.12 ERA.
She has been playing Miss E League softball for four years.
Representing Nina’s Pizza, Dunmore, Rachel pitched four games, winning three of them, in the tournament. She pitched a 3-hitter, no-hitter, 1-hitter and no-hitter. She lost the 1-hitter, 1-0, to a pitcher who fired a no-hitter for Dickson City’s Total Collision.
She then came back and pitched a no-hitter for Nina’s to defeat Total Collision, 2-1, in the championship.
Rachel struck out 9 in just four innings in the first game of the tournament. She followed that up with 12, 10 and 14 strikeouts in the next three games.
There are 13 players on the title team. Two of those players, Aubrey Mizenko and Ava Walsh (Rachel’s little sister) were call ups.
The other 11 members of the team besides Rachel are Amelia Ortiz, Natalie Mecca, Sydney Harding, Mia Irving, Sadie Ondek, Ella Brier, Jaclyn Brown, Maddie Pierce, Bethany Masurak and Amanda Dempsey.
“This is just a great group of girls,” said coach Kevin Walsh. “All of the girls put their time in and are very dedicated to the sport. The girls are eager to learn. I could not ask for a better group.”
Nina’s Pizza, 14-2 during the regular season, also won the Icebreaker Tournament, with Rachel pitching in those games.
The Valley Junior Petunia League has 32 teams, so winning the tournament is very impressive. There is a lot of competition.
Many of the girls on the 10 and Under Nina’s Pizza team have been playing together for the past four years.
“These girls have a lot of dedication to each other,” said coach Walsh. “They have a tremendous work ethic and team unity.
“It was a total team effort with different kids contributing at different times to help win a game.
“The most important thing is that the kids are enjoying it.”
Rachel, also an excellent student, is going into the fifth grade. Coach Walsh is assisted by Nick Mecca and Pat Irving.
Rachel’s younger sister Ava, only 6, already is showing signs of being an outstanding player. She also contributed to the championship.
Rachel loves the game and is looking forward to many years ahead playing softball. Remember the name. In the meantime, Rachel is just having a lot of fun.
“We’re proud of her,” said coach Walsh. “We are proud of all the girls on the team.”