Gorrell now guiding Shadyside softball team


Times Leader Sports Writer

SHADYSIDE — After 16 seasons and a Division IV Ohio state softball championship in 2015, Shadyside has a new leader in the dugout.

Bob Gorrell Jr. takes over the Tigers’ helm after Jillian Ongley stepped down from the post after last season.

However, the cupboard is far from bare as the new head coach has a plethora of talent returning.

“Obviously, losing two key four year starters at key positions will be hard to replace. While we did not lose numbers to graduation we lost quality players,” Gorrell said of Kylie Jo Baker and Tory Hendershot. “We have six to seven returning starters. We expect to be competitive even though we are young with no senior starters, but we have plenty of good hitters.

“Our season could depend on how fast our young pitchers and catchers can come along,” he admitted. “Our juniors have given us leadership and, baring injuries, we expect to continue to get better throughout the season.”

Baker was first team all-OVAC Class 2A; first team Division IV all-Eastern District, first team all-MOVL, and honorable mention all-state. Hendershot earned first team all-OVAC and first team all-MOVL.

Shadyside returns five junior starters in Gentry Brown (SS/3B), Rylie Fulton (P/UTIL), Mary Smith (2B), Mady Violet (3B) and Bella Honeywell (1B).

Brown was a first team All-Eastern District selection last spring, as well as first team all-OVAC, and first team all-MOVL. She slugged a team-high nine home runs last season.

“Gentry is going to be counted on for her leadership as we have no senior returnees,” Gorrell said. “She is a very talented athlete.”

Rylie Fulton earned honorable mention all-Eastern District honors as a sophomore. She returns as a pitcher and utility player.

“Rylie can play any position on the field,” Gorrell said. “She is one of the best pure hitters on the team.”

Smith was honorable mention all-Eastern District last season.

“She will start at second base for the second consecutive year as well as being one of our starting pitchers,” Gorrell noted. “She is another key player we are counting on for offense.”

Violet returns at the ‘hot corner.’

“Mady has worked hard in the off-season and coming into the season her bat is looking good,” the coach said.

Other key returnees include sophomores Taylor Fulton (P/UTIL); Abby Gorrell (OF/P/C); and Macy Hendershot (OF/INF).

Honeywell, who was listed on the All-District team, returns as a starter at first base and is a another power hitter. She blasted eight home runs last season.

“Bella will be depended on this season to hit for average and power,” Gorrell added.

Abby Gorrell is the returning left fielder.

“She earned a starting position in the second half of last season. She is one of our sophomores to watch as she has worked extremely hard in the off-season and in spring practice,” the coach noted.

Hendershot will be playing positions in the outfield as well as getting time at first base.

“Macy is a left-handed player and tremendous athlete,” Gorrell said.

Taylor Fulton logged the most innings pitched in 2021.

“In addition to her pitching, Taylor will also be one of our catchers,” Gorrell pointed out.

The lone senior is Caroline Mercer, who has never played softball.

The team is rounded out by sophomores McKenzie Zdunczyk, Adriana Abernethy, Aaliyah Warick, and Kearstin Zeroski, as well as freshmen Josey Greenwood and Arianna Saxton.

Assisting Gorrell in his first season are Jeff Lowe, Tom Brown and Kenzie Fielding.


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