Reunited: Troy grads team up again at Mansfield
It was a very common sight in Troy.
Kate Pratt on the mound, pitching the Trojans to a victory. Allie Earle and Amanda Goodwin behind her, anchoring the left side of the Troy infield.
Three years ago the three won a District 4, Class AA Championship together and advanced to the state playoffs.
At the time it seemed like that might be the last time the three would be teammates in softball, but that wasn't the case.
For the past three years Kate Pratt has become one of the most feared hitters in the PSAC. Breaking the school's single season and all-time home run records.
A year ago Earle joined her as a member of the Mansfield softball team and this year Goodwin also joined the squad.
"It feels so comfortable," Earle said of playing with Pratt and Goodwin.
"It's a lot of fun," Pratt said. "It's like the high school years. I think about all the memories."
The plan was for Goodwin to join the team at the same time Earle did, but a knee injury didn't allow that to happen.
"I had actually planned to play last year but the doctors would not clear me," she said. "It's really great to see that I can still do what I used to do when I play."
Making the adjustment to college softball was a challenge for Goodwin.
"It was really hard at the beginning, but having these two here really helped me," she said.
A year behind Pratt at Troy, both Earle and Goodwin have always looked up to her and nothing has changed in college where Pratt is one of the best hitters in the PSAC.
"We always kind of looked up to Kate," Earle said.
Pratt is the Mountaineers starting shortstop, but she is also one of the team's pitchers and when she pitches, Goodwin plays behind her at short. Playing the same position allows Goodwin to pick up plenty of pointers from Pratt.
"I always ask her questions in practice, I ask her things all the time," Goodwin said.
There have been a number of times this year where Pratt has been on the mound and Goodwin andh Earle are behind her anchoring the left side of the infield, and it's a very familiar feeling for Pratt.
"It's like déjà vu," Pratt said. "There are so many times before that we played together. We are all together again and I really didn't think we would be."
This year Pratt has spent a little less time on the mound, and a little more at short, thanks the emergence of senior Caitlin Klobosits as the Mountaineers ace.
For the junior it's great to be at short more this year.
"I like it," Pratt said of pitching less. "I love to play shortstop. Shortstop is my number one position."
Right from the beginning of the school year Pratt had an idea she would be seeing more time at short this year.
"Caitlin did great in the Fall and the Spring trip," Pratt said. "She was doing great and it was awesome because I knew I would play more shortstop."
At the plate this year Pratt has had a season that she could have only dreamed of.
She is hitting .391, with 16 home runs, 48 RBI and 36 runs scored. She leads the team in all four categories and has at least double as many RBI and home runs as anyone else on the team.
She has set the school single-season home record, along with the career mark, and her 48 RBI ties the team record set by Deb Gyms in 1990.
It's pretty awesome, I never imagined it," Pratt said of her record-breaking numbers.
With a year of college softball under her belt, things are easier for Earle this year.
"I am a lot more comfortable," she said. "It's a relaxing situation. I can relax more now. Last year I was really more nervous."
All three Troy grads are proud to show that the school can produce good college players.
"Troy has always had a good program," Earle said. "A lot of good players have come from Troy."
It's not just Troy players either, in their home finale the Mountaineers faced Wyalusing grad Bri Jennings, who pitches for Lock Haven, a team that also includes Canton's Morgan Palmer.
"It shows how good the NTL has been," Earle said.
For the Troy players, seeing Jennings again, who they faced in a number of big games in high school, was a bit strange.
"It was definitely weird, I didn't think I would meet up with her again," Pratt said.
A year ago the Mountaineers went down to the last games of the season, battling for a spot in the postseason, just to come up a little short.
This year they clinched a playoff spot before the final two PSAC doubleheaders were even played.
"It was a lot of weight off our shoulders," Earle said. "Knowing we were in, we were able to relax a little more."
"It was a lot less stressful," Pratt said.
Knowing they were in the playoffs, the Mountaineers still finished strong and earned a share of the PSAC Central Championship, the school's first softball conference title.
Now, they begin play in the PSAC playoffs on Wednesday against California.
After winning a district title together in high school, the three would love the chance to share a conference title together n college.
"It would be awesome," Earle said.
"It would just be a great feeling," Pratt said.
And, it would extend how much time the three have left together as teammates. While she is just a sophomore this will be Earle's last year with the Mansfield softball team because of the obligations of her nursing program.
"This is my last year playing," Earle said. "I will go to Sayre next year (for the nursing program) so I won't be playing."
While all three were teammates on that district championship team at Troy, Goodwin was injured for that season, so getting a chance to contribute to a title would be a great feeling.
"I was there, sitting in the dugout," Goodwin said of the district title. "It would be nice to win and be able to contribute more."