Dallas resident Olivia Mennig helps Holy Redeemer earn state softball title


Dallas resident scored in 6 of 7 softball playoff games

By Tom Robinson - For Dallas Post



Holy Redeemer celebrates its 9-3 victory over Moniteau for the PIAA Class 2A state softball title at Penn State University on Thursday, June 16.


Sean McKeag | Dallas Post

Olivia Mennig throws the ball to Abby Shorts during Holy Redeemer practice at their field on Tuesday, June 14.


Sean McKeag | Dallas Post

Olivia Mennig pracitices her swings during team practice at the Holy Redeemer softball field on Tuesday, June 14.


Sean McKeag | Dallas Post


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    Olivia Mennig handled the formality of fielding the ball for the final out that secured Holy Redeemer’s first state softball title in 2015.

    Mennig took on a different responsibility in the title repeat.

    The senior second baseman from Dallas got the Royals started on the championship path this time around.

    Mennig escaped a rundown between third base and home in the bottom of the seventh inning when Holy Redeemer fought past Elk Lake, 3-2, in the District 2 Class AA quarterfinals.

    “I personally thought that districts was harder than states,” Mennig said. “It was really weird how it worked out, but I thought districts was tougher.”

    Holy Redeemer had a pair of one-run wins in district play, including one with an extra-innings rally.

    The Elk Lake game was the first of seven playoff games – three on the district level and four in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament – for Holy Redeemer, which on another state title June 16 at Penn State with a 9-3 victory over Moniteau.

    As Holy Redeemer progressed deeper into the state tournament where the challenges are supposed to get bigger, the wins got easier.

    Mennig scored in six of those seven playoff games. When she did not score, she drove in the third run in a 4-0 state semifinal victory over Pine Grove.

    Although she did not receive a run batted in on the play, Mennig was involved in helping Holy Redeemer score the first run of the state championship.

    The Royals struck in the top of the first inning with leadoff hitter Morgan Bienkowski singling and advancing on two groundouts. Bienkowski went from second to third on Mennig’s out and drew a throw across across the diamond after Mennig was retired at first base. When the throw got away, Holy Redeemer had an early lead and the first run scored against Moniteau in more than six weeks.

    “I grounded out, but I also got Morgan home, which I thought was a big deal,” Mennig said. “That was very big to us.

    “We knew we had to score to take their shutout streak away.”

    Holy Redeemer went on to score five runs in the top of the first inning and Moniteau never got closer than four runs the rest of the way.

    “We kind of struggled throughout the year with scoring runs in the first inning,” Mennig said.

    Mennig was also part of an important fast start in the district semifinal against Dunmore. Bienkowski, Allyson Laiuvara and Mennig scored as the first three batters in the bottom of the first inning and the Royals held on for a 3-1 win.

    Playing second base and batting third were just two of the responsibilities for Mennig as the only senior starter on the team.

    “She was a captain,” Holy Redeemer coach Jerry Paulukonis said. “She was basically the vocal leader of the team.”

    Mennig, who also played a prominent role on Wyoming Valley Conference and District 2 title repeats for Holy Redeemer in the fall, finished tied for third on the softball team in RBI (18) and doubles (5). She batted .281, scored 21 times in 27 games and shared the team lead in sacrifice bunts with 7.

    When she was not at second base, Mennig was serving as one of Holy Redeemer’s fill-in pitchers. She went 2-0 with a 2.50 earned run average in four appearances.

    “In the beginning of this season, it was really hard to picture winning it back-to-back,” Mennig said. “It doesn’t happen a lot.”

    Holy Redeemer became just the third softball team in PIAA history to repeat as state champion.

    “Once we hit district playoffs, it really started to make sense that we could do something really special again,” Mennig said.

    After earning a letter as a freshman, Mennig started the last three years for Holy Redeemer. She is considering trying to play in college at the University of Scranton where she plans to study nursing.

    Morgan Luksic and Sarah Kuderka were also part of the state championship team.

    Luksic, a sophomore outfielder and utility player from Dallas, got in five games and went 1-for-4 with a run and RBI. She had her only hit in the regular-season finale against MMI Prep.

    This was Luksic’s first year playing organized softball.

    Kuderka, who had won state championships in Little League softball with the Bob Horlacher team from Beaumont, appeared in the state final as a courtesy runner for catcher Abigail Shorts.

    The versatile freshman played in 22 games, including two as a pitcher. She was 3-for-16 (.188) with two RBI. Kuderka was 3-for-3 stealing bases and scored seven times. In the circle, she was 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA.

    Holy Redeemer celebrates its 9-3 victory over Moniteau for the PIAA Class 2A state softball title at Penn State University on Thursday, June 16.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_TTL061716HSSOFTRedeemer-Montineau13.jpgHoly Redeemer celebrates its 9-3 victory over Moniteau for the PIAA Class 2A state softball title at Penn State University on Thursday, June 16. Sean McKeag | Dallas Post

    Olivia Mennig throws the ball to Abby Shorts during Holy Redeemer practice at their field on Tuesday, June 14.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_TTL0616HSSOFTRedeemerPreview4.jpgOlivia Mennig throws the ball to Abby Shorts during Holy Redeemer practice at their field on Tuesday, June 14. Sean McKeag | Dallas Post

    Olivia Mennig pracitices her swings during team practice at the Holy Redeemer softball field on Tuesday, June 14.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_TTL0616HSSOFTRedeemerPreview2.jpgOlivia Mennig pracitices her swings during team practice at the Holy Redeemer softball field on Tuesday, June 14. Sean McKeag | Dallas Post
    Dallas resident scored in 6 of 7 softball playoff games

    By Tom Robinson

    For Dallas Post

    Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-675-5211 or by email at [email protected]

    Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-675-5211 or by email at [email protected]

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