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Annville-Cleona Whitewashes Northern Lebanon 

IMG_1843BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Simply improving just isn’t enough. Everybody improves.

We’ve reached the point of the spring where teams expect their improvements to start paying dividends. And more often than not, the side which prevails is the one which has made the most improvement.

On Monday afternoon, Annville-Cleona blanked Northern Lebanon in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four crossover battle between a pair of local clubs improving under first-year head coaches. The Little Dutchmen came away with the road win due in part to the constant changing of speeds by starter Zoee Garis, some timely hitting and a consistent defensive effort.

With the outcome, Annville-Cleona improved to 5-3 overall and 5-2 in Section Four of the L-L, and kept within striking distance of front-running Pequea Valley. Losers of three of their last four – all by shutout – the Vikings dipped to 5-4 on the spring and 3-4 in Section Three.

IMG_1773“I will say ‘yes’,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Melvin Dorta, when asked if his team has improved enough. “I think we’re playing better and better each day. They’re (his players) getting more comfortable with me. They’re moving forward. We don’t want to take a step  back.

“It’s early,” continued Dorta. “We still have games going on. Our hitting, we’re working on and working on. I’m not looking at our record right now.”

“We were number two in the district at one time,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ed Spittle of the AAAA classification. “I don’t know if the kids don’t understand or it’s new to them. I’d like to see them get to districts and play a few games. It would be good for the program.

IMG_1741“That should be our goal,” Spittle continued. “That should be our number-one goal. But the way we played today, it doesn’t seem like we’re on the same page. We’re not big and explosive. We’re built on pitching and defense.”

By putting some on and taking some off, and by moving the ball in and out, as well as up and down, Garis seemed to get strong as the game went along. She worked out of back-to-back one-out errors in the bottom of the second inning and consecutive singles by Emma Kelliher and Melanie Showers to start the bottom of the fourth.

But Garis retired the last 12 hitters she faced in order. She finished with a three-hitter, four strikeouts and no walks.

“She did great,” said Dorta of Garis. “She gave up three or four hits. She’s the kind of kid who’s going to put the ball in play. When she can mix it up, she can make the other team guess a lot.

IMG_1809“We played good,” added Dorta. “Softball is a game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. Our pitcher has been outstanding. We got a good win.”

“I don’t think anyone was intimidated,” said Spittle of Garis. “She threw well. She threw to spots. Give her credit. She shut us out. But that was one of our worst offensive performances of the season. We didn’t produce at all.

“We were second and third (base), and I said, ‘Put the ball in play,'” Spittle added. “If we do, we’re going to score a run. When you get two strikes, she’s (Garis) not going to throw the ball by you. So you’ve got to battle.”

Garis was locked in a scoreless draw with Viking starter Showers entering the top of the fourth inning. But Annville-Cleona struck for a pair of runs, after Showers had retired the first two NL batters.

IMG_1739Amber Rexrode got things going with a single. Then after a Sarah Fischer single, an error in the Northern Lebanon outfield allowed Rexrode’s pinch runner to race all the way home.

Alyssa Binkley followed with an RBI-single that scored Fischer.

“They did good,” said Dorta of his players’ approach at the plate. “After we stopped chasing, we got some good connections. I’m happy with the way they adjusted. ”

“I don’t know how we could’ve been more lackadaisical,” said Spittle. “The last two innings we challenged her (Garis) a little more. The first three games we played well, but since we’ve been meandering.

“I don’t think it would’ve matter if we played South Lebanon or East Lebanon or West Lebanon,” continued Spittle. “Our kid (Showers) threw a dynamite game. But we didn’t play with a lot of  fire.”

The Little Dutchmen upped their advantage to 3-0 in the top of the sixth frame. Morgan Zimmerman led off with a line drive triple to right-center field, ahead of Rexrode’s run-scoring grounder.

“She was good,” said Dorta of Showers. “She was throwing a rise ball. Early in the game we were chasing that good rise. We needed to have a good approach. You’ve got to get a pitch you can hit.

“From Day One, the one thing that impressed me about this team is how they take care of the ball,” Dorta added. “We can’t give extra bases or extra outs. That’s what I preached.”

IMG_1833“She threw well enough to win,” said Spittle of Showers. “She got two fly balls to the outfield and we didn’t catch them. If we would’ve put runs on the board first, I think the outcome may have been different.

“She throws three or four (different) pitches,” added Spittle. “She can throw them all for strikes. She’s having a good year for us.”

The only hit Showers yielded outside of the fourth and sixth innings was Garis’ two-out single in the fifth. Showers whiffed eight and did not issue a free pass.

“I don’t want the girls to think one game is more important or less important than any other,” said Dorta. “I want my girls to be prepared to play a good game.”

IMG_1744“Is the season getting long?,” said Spittle. “I hope not. This is the middle of it. Annville-Cleona and us can’t be a rivalry because we didn’t play with any fire. We’re a hard team to read.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Northern Lebanon Softball Schedule

Date Teams RESULTS
3/24
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
 98
3/30
4:15 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
 45
4/03
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
1
11
4/05
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
8
1
4/07
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
5
6
4/10
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
1
0
4/12
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Northern Lebanon
11
0
4/13
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
15
0
4/17
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
4/19
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
4/21
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
4/24
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
4/26
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
4/27
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon
5/01
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
5/03
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Cocalico
at Manetas Park, Denver
5/05
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
5/08
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Garrett Field, Willow Street
5/10
4:15 pm
Halifax H.S.
at Northern Lebanon

 

 

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2017 Annville-Cleona Softball Schedule

Date Teams RESULTS
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
4/19
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Annville-Cleona
4/21
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
4/24
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Annville-Cleona
4/26
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Cocalico
4/27
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
Pequea Valley
at Paradise Park
5/01
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
5/03
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
5/05
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia
5/08
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic

 

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 Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Four

 

League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Lampeter-Strasburg 7 0 100.00 10 1 90.91 105 23
Donegal 5 1 83.33 7 2 77.78 85 14
Manheim Central 4 3 57.14 4 6 40.00 57 47
Northern Lebanon 3 4 42.86 3 4 42.86 30 32
Cocalico 2 5 28.57 2 7 22.22 41 60
Elco 1 6 14.29 2 6 25.00 27 86
                                  SECTION FOUR
  League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Pequea Valley 7 0 100.00 8 1 88.89 92 35
Annville-Cleona 5 2 71.43 5 2 71.43 78 31
Lancaster Catholic 4 3 57.14 4 5 44.44 44 65
Lancaster Mennonite 2 5 28.57 2 5 28.57 44 55
Columbia 1 6 14.29 1 6 14.29 36 56
Lebanon Catholic 0 6 0.00 0 6 0.00 4 104

 

 

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