They've been one of the dominate softball programs in the state of Pennsylvania the last five years totaling over 100 wins. The Hazleton Area Lady Cougars made it to a state final, a state semi-final and a state quarterfinal in that span, but couldn't pull out a state championship in the highest classification. This year's squad hopes to change all that.
"We always get down to business at practice. We are always trying to do better things, and be better than last season. Last year we didn't get back to where we wanted to be, but this year we are hoping to get right back out there. We are a younger team but we are experienced and we are really ready to go," said Marissa Trivelpiece.
Bob Bertoni replaces Heather Natt as the head coach of the Cougars. Bertoni last coached at Crestwood and also watched his daughter Sarah pitch Nanticoke to a state title in 2010.
"I always said I would come back to high school for one or two jobs, and this was definitely one of them that I would come back for. The talent here is unbelievable probably the best that I've worked with in my career," said Bob.
Trivelpiece locks down everything at short hit .488 last year with 9 home runs. At third its Tiana Treon. She knocked in 34 runs and hit .600
"In the winter like a lot of our underclassmen worked their butts off the whole winter season. It was Gabby, Kaitlyn and Alea pitched their butts off," said Tiana.
Talk about an early softball showdown the Tunkhannock Tigers will be here at Hazleton on Monday to take on the Lady Cougars. That's no April fool's!!! Should be a classic here in the month of April.
"Yeah we are excited it's nice to have some competition in the league and we are ready and we are prepared we'll tell you that," said Julia Mrochko.
"We hit one through 12 one through 13 and our defense is strong and we are going to surprise a lot of people," added Bob.
With pieces now in place Hazleton has to go play. Steve Lloyd reporting for Newswatch 16 sports WNEP from Luzerne County.