PHOTO: Tunkhannock pitcher Kaya Hannon.
With the District 2 softball playoffs set to open Monday afternoon, here is NEPA Sports Nation’s look at Nine Softball Players to Watch:
Kaya Hannon, Tunkhannock: The sophomore righty has been the only pitcher for the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 champs. Hannon struck out 179 and walked just 19 in 113 1/3 innings while going 17-2 with a 1.48 ERA. She had eight shutouts, two no-hitters (one seven inning, one four on the 15-run rule) and eight games with double figures in strikeouts. On offense, Hannon has 6 doubles, 17 RBI and a .396 average.
Kaci Kranson, Holy Cross: The first-team, all-state basketball player has an error-free junior season in which she is batting .500 with 11 home runs. Kranson has scored 32 runs and driven in 27. The center fielder also has four doubles and three triples for a Holy Cross team that is a deceptive 12-5 with four of the losses coming to larger schools that are division champions.
Paige Marabell, Tunkhannock: The slugging sophomore catcher has smashed eight homers. Marabell has a team-high 29 RBI along with 5 doubles and a .458 average to fuel an offense that has averaged 8.5 runs and is hitting .382 for the top seeds in Class 4A.
Julia Mrochko, Hazleton Area: The senior shortstop was the leader of Hazleton Area’s run to the 2019 Class 6A state championship when, as a sophomore, she batted .500 in the postseason to finish the year with 9 homers, 29 RBI and a .457 average. Mrochko, who is committed to South Florida, has not slowed down. She leads Hazleton Area in batting average (.475), hits (29), RBI (28), doubles (6) and homers (6).
Maranda Runco, Mid Valley: The sophomore pitcher simply put up staggering numbers both from inside the circle and while at the plate. Runco homered in nine straight games at one point, beginning with one of her three multi-homer efforts. She finished the regular season with 16 homers, 10 doubles, a .677 average, 33 runs and 43 RBI. While posting the best offensive numbers in District 2, Runco was also 16-2 with a 1.05 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 113 innings.
Jenna Santuk, Holy Redeemer: The junior handles most of the team’s pitching and for good reason. Santuk has two no-hitters and two other shutouts while posting a 142-31, strikeout-to-walk ratio in 96 2/3 innings. She is 13-1 with a 1.38 ERA and plays elsewhere when not pitching because of her 14 extra-base hits, 20 runs, 22 RBI and .500 batting average.
Sage Weidlich, Pittston Area: The junior center fielder hit three home runs in the final week of the regular season, including one to open the scoring in the rivalry game with Wyoming Area where she earned her team’s Most Valuable Player award. Weidlich led the team in batting average (.569), runs (20), hits (33) and doubles (5).
Bailey White, Abington Heights: The senior center fielder leads a high-powered offense for the Lackawanna League Division 1 champions. White bats a team-high .581 with 11 extra-base hits, 21 runs scored and 17 RBI in 15 games.
Carly Wywoda, Holy Cross: The junior shortstop is batting .610 with 32 RBI, 22 runs, 7 doubles, 2 triples and 8 homers. Wywoda’s run production is one of the big reasons the Lady Crusaders enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak in which they have hammered opponents, 53-5.