She still has three years left.
That’s what Holy Redeemer co-coaches John Bryan and Jerry Pauliukonis should think when speaking of freshman third baseman Victoria Steinetz.
Steinetz, a Duryea resident, was a key ingredient to Holy Redeemer’s softball success in the 2014 season. The Royals posted 15 straight wins before falling to Holy Cross, 5-1, in the PIAA District 2 Class AA title game just two weeks ago.
Still young, Steinetz was hungry for a championship.
“Winning the silver was a great success for us,” she said. “We deserved the gold medal, though. We worked so hard throughout the season. We fell apart late. We have to remember what that feels like and put our best effort next season.”
She came out with a silver, as a freshman. On a team riddled with underclassmen, Steinetz couldn’t have had a more successful first season on the varsity level.
Hitting mostly near the bottom of the order, Steinetz contributed heavily in one of the most powerful lineups in all of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
“There was a lot of pressure coming in playing with older kids,” she said. “I had big shoes to fill from last year.”
The Royals featured two hitters - Kaya Swanek and Chelsea Skrepenak, both juniors - who had four home runs. Collectively, that duo picked up 45 RBIs on the season.
Steinetz batted an impressive .428 on the season, leading the team with four triples. She drove in 13 runs and scored another 17 times.
She fielded an impressive 54 out of 60 balls at third base, good for a .900 percentage.
“Being a freshman starting on the left side of the infield is a big opportunity,” she said. “I basically played my game and did what I had to do to help out my team.”
Holy Redeemer should be excited about what next season has in store. The Royals will lose just a pair of seniors - Julie Kosik and Kaitlyn Kaluzny. Swanek and Skrepenak will both be back, something Steinetz is looking forward to.
“Chelsea and Kaya are always looking out for you,” Stenetz said. “They are stong captains. They are always right there and telling us to play our game.”
Holy Redeemer was the No. 1 seed heading into the district playoffs. It ran into a wall after reaching the finals.
Erika Mackie held Holy Redeemer to just four hits over seven superb innings - Steinetz collected one of those hits. Holy Cross won its first district softball title. The hitting let the Royals down.
“Our hitting fell apart toward the end of the season,” said Steinetz, daughter of Bob and Sherry Towarnicki, of Duryea. “We were focused on defense. We have to make sure we play tight defense and strong offense.”
Without her parents, Steinetz said, none of this would be possible. She was also quick to mention coach John Bryan, someone who helped her keep her head in the game while she was worrying about statistics.
“I want to give a lot of thanks to my parents and my coaches for teaching me throughout the season,” she said. “John Bryan was a major part of my success. There was a couple games I got down on myself because of stats. He helped me throughout the season. I have three more years and it was a great opportunity and I feel like I played very well.”
Steinetz will continue her softball career this summer by playing travel softball with the Northeast Bearcats, traveling to softball tournaments in the eastern United States. She will also play travel ball for the Bearcats in the fall.
On off days this summer, you can find her in the backyard taking cuts and fielding grounders. If it’s raining, she’ll be inside working out.
In the future, Steinetz wants to improve on each aspect of the game - everything from hitting to fielding to base running.
“Hitting would be something I would like to improve on,” she said. “I had a very good season in the field and I just want to improve all around. Everyone needs a little more help.”