Takeaways | Pitt softball wraps up season on sour note


Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer

Sophomore infielder Haylie Brunson (2) prepares to bat during Pitt softball’s game against UVA on March 26.

By Dylan Grace, Staff Writer

After a series sweep against North Carolina State last weekend, the Pitt softball team failed to qualify for tournament play, closing the books on another losing season for the Panthers. The program finished its spring campaign with an overall record of 24-25 and 6-17 in ACC play. 

The Panthers entered the season with minimal expectations following a disappointing 2022 season, in which they finished 13 games under .500 and only had two wins against ACC opponents. Although Pitt Improved upon its last-place ACC finish in 2022, their 11th-place finish in the ACC wasn’t enough to push them into the conference tournament this year.

Here are some takeaways from the season:

Significant changes are needed for the Panthers. 

With the Panthers putting together another lackluster season in 2023, changes for the softball program seemed imminent. On Monday, Athletic Director Heather Lyke announced that Jodi Hermanek was relieved of her coaching duties at Pitt after five seasons as the Panthers’ head coach. 

In five seasons under Hermanek’s tenure, the Panthers were 76-134, with a record of 29-82 against ACC competition. The Panthers failed to record a winning season or reach the ACC tournament in each season with Hermanek as head coach. 

“On behalf of the entire Pitt Athletics department, I want to express my deepest appreciation to Coach Hermanek for her dedication and efforts leading the Pitt softball program,” Lyke said in a press release. “We wish Jodi the very best in her future pursuits. We will conduct the search for our next head coach immediately, and I expect the opportunity to attract national 


With yet another Pitt head coach fired this year, the athletic department needs to find a quality head coach if it wants to turn this program around.

The Panthers are expected to lose at least seven starters due to eligibility next year. With a significant roster turnaround, younger players who didn’t see much time last season are now slated for more prominent roles. 

As the athletic department gears up to interview prospective new head coaches, expect possible transfer players to follow.

Whaley and Seamans’ standout seasons

Despite an ultimately disappointing season for the Panthers, graduate student standouts Yvonne Whaley and Sarah Seamans shined bright for the Panthers, earning recognition for All-ACC.

Shortstop Whaley earned first-team all-ACC honors after an outstanding season at the plate. Whaley batted for an average of .439 on the season, ranking fourth in the entire ACC for batting average. Whaley also led the ACC in doubles with 17 and finished top 10 in the ACC for hits, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. 

Whaley is set to continue her softball career as she was recently selected in the 2023 Women’s Professional Fastpitch Softball Draft.

First-baseman Seamans earned All-ACC third-team honors in her final year at Pitt. Seamans batted .385 this year for the Panthers, powering a team-high 13 home runs in the process. Seamans, like Whaley, dominated in ACC hitting categories, finishing top 10 in home runs, hits, OPS and slugging percentage. 

With both graduate students set to leave Pitt, the Panthers will significantly miss the impact that Whaley and Seamans brought to their lineup and their leadership in the locker room.

2024 Prediction

As the season closes with a new head coaching vacancy now on the table, it is hard to assess the future of the Panthers. 

Pitt softball will see the return of a few key impact players, but lose great veteran production from graduate students and seniors. With many new faces entering the Panthers’ lineup, it is way too early to project their success. 

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Dani Drogemuller is set to return for the Panthers after an impressive 2023 outing, where she led the team with a 4.42 ERA and 10 complete games.

The Panthers will also see the likes of catcher Amanda “Tuta” Ramirez, utility player Kylie Griggs, infielder Haylie Brunson and outfielder Macy Hamilton return to the starting lineup.

With many questions concerning the program’s future direction and possible head coach replacements, the results from the 2023 season could continue for the Panthers next season.