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IMG_3004BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE - ‘If you’re sexy, then flaunt it.’

 ’If you’re freaky, then own it.’

 ’Don’t brag about it, come show me.’

There’s always an adjustment period when a new coach takes over a program. And almost always that period is longer than anticipated.

But a sure sign that that transition period is coming to an end is when the rate of progress accelerates.

On a sun-drenched Wednesday evening, the Annville-Cleona softball team continued to show noticeable signs of improvement under first-year skipper Melvin Dorta, during a 6-3 home victory over Lancaster Mennonite. After spotting the Blazers a 3-0 head start, the Little Dutchmen stormed back by scoring six unanswered runs in four different at-bats.

IMG_3001With the outcome, Annville-Cleona, now 9-6 on the spring and 9-5 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, clinched a berth in next week’s league playoffs. The Little Dutchmen were situated seventh in the latest District Three Class AAA power rankings.

The result dropped Lancaster Mennonite to 3-14 overall and 3-11 in the section.

“There’s a lot of different things I’m trying to bring to the program,” said Dorta. “Any time you have a new coach, there’s going to be an adjustment period. I think they’ve (his players) become more comfortable with me. I want them to understand what I’m trying to do.

“Every game we improve,” continued Dorta. “Every single day we improve. It’s progress. It’s a positive. I’m happy. It’s new for them and it’s new for me. There’s always room for improvement, but we are getting better.”

“There’s definitely an adjustment period,” said Annville-Cleona senior catcher Amber Rexrode. “We had to figure out his coaching style. Now it’s towards the end of the season and we’re playing his game.

IMG_3052“Coming in, we knew we were going to have a new coach,” added Rexrode. “But I still had the same expectations. We’re going to leagues and we’re still hoping to go to districts. We wanted to win the section, but we’re going to finish second. We’re taking it one game at a time. I don’t think our goals changed at all.”

With the game tied at three, the Little Dutchmen pushed across a trio of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to win it.

The rally began with Morgan Zimmerman’s lead-off single and was kept going by a key outfield error by the Blazers. Rexrode drove home a run with a double, and Michaela Singer followed with an RBI-single.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” said Dorta of his side’s early deficit. “I knew my girls were going to battle to the last out. The game isn’t over. We’ve got 21 outs. I teach them not to give up.”

“We definitely wanted to get it back as soon as possible,” said Rexrode of the initial hole. “We took three or four innings to get them back, and then we scored some more. Defense-wise, we went out and played like we know how. We played good.”

Annville-Cleona and southpaw Zoee Garis got off to a sluggish start.

Thanks to a couple of hits and an error, the Blazers loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first inning. All three came around to score, before Garis settled down and extinguished the fire.

IMG_2969Garis did not surrendered a hit the rest of the way. She finished what she started, with eight strikeouts and no walks. The crafty lefty has issued but a handful of free passes all season.

“She did good,” said Dorta. “She wasn’t overpowering. When her change-up is on, she does really well. Her key is to just try and keep batters off balance and mix it up. She has confidence with the change-up.”

“We both call pitches,” said Rexrode of Dorta. “When he’s calling pitches, I trust him 100 percent. And when I’m calling pitches, he trusts me 100 percent. Her (Garis’) rise and drop were on today. They were her go-to pitches.”

After Garis settled down, the Little Dutchmen offense began to settle in.

IMG_3018Annville-Cleona got one of those runs back in the bottom of the first. Rexrode’s two-out, run-producing single scored teammate Sarah Fischer, to make it 3-1.

“They were playing small ball,” said Dorta of the Blazers. “They were bunting a lot. And there was one error in there. But we came back and tied the game. Then we scored more to win it.”

“It was a special game because it was senior night. We have ten seniors,” said Rexrode. “Then we got down 3-0 in the first inning. But I wasn’t worried at all. I knew we were going to hit away. We did that. We put the ball in play and made them make the plays.”

The Little Dutchmen pulled to within 3-2 in the bottom of the third, courtesy of a Zimmerman-Fischer collaboration. Zimmerman led it off with a double, then after a Garis sacrifice, Fischer brought her home with an RBI-grounder.

IMG_3036In the fourth, Annville-Cleona pulled even. Grace Snyder knocked in the tying run with a single.

“I’m still day-to-day,” said Dorta. “I’m trying to develop these girls as players and human beings. We have two regular-season games left and we’ll see what happens. Of course I want to go to districts and the league playoffs. But I don’t want them thinking ahead.”

 

 

 

 

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Annville-Cleona Softball Results

Date Teams Result
3/28
4:15 pm
Halifax H.S.
at Annville-Cleona
3/30
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Tulpehocken
4/03
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
10
2
4/05
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
3
10
4/07
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Mennonite
21
8
4/10
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
0
15
4/12
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic
27
0
4/13
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Annville-Cleona
10
0
4/17
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
3
0
4/19
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Annville-Cleona
7
1
4/21
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
10
0
4/24
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Annville-Cleona
9
2
4/26
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Cocalico
6
5
4/27
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
Pequea Valley
at Paradise Park
0
5
4/29
10:00 am
Twin Valley
at Annville-Cleona
8
4
5/01
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
8
3
5/03
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
3
6
5/05
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia
5/08
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic

 

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 PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 Brandywine Heights 16- 2- 0  0.743670
2 Pequea Valley 13- 3- 0  0.654197
3 Susquenita 12- 3- 0  0.647458
4 Kutztown 11- 5- 0  0.641010
5 Tulpehocken 12- 4- 0  0.634784
6 Delone Catholic 10- 3- 0  0.626130
7 Annville Cleona 9- 7- 0  0.532116
8 Middletown 6- 7- 0  0.501460
9 Oley Valley 7- 8- 0  0.477933
10 Trinity 3- 8- 0  0.410670
11 Hanover 4- 11- 0  0.343945
12 Biglerville 3- 12- 0  0.325828
13 Lancaster Mennonite 3- 13- 0  0.305082

 

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  IMG_3034Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Four Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Pequea Valley 11 2 84.62 13 3 81.25 120 46
Annville-Cleona 9 5 64.29 9 6 60.00 115 66
Lancaster Catholic 7 7 50.00 8 9 47.06 100 111
Lancaster Mennonite 3 11 21.43 3 11 21.43 67 102
Columbia 2 12 14.29 2 12 14.29 62 121
Lebanon Catholic 0 13 0.00 0 13 0.00 10 202

 

 

 

 

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