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 Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 051BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Fifteeen up. Fifteen down. Outs all-around.

No runs. No hits. No walks. No errors. No wild pitches. No passed balls.

For Mel Showers, nothing was more than something. It was perfection.

On a cloudy Tuesday evening on the campus of Northern Lebanon High School, Showers fired a rare perfect game to spear-head the Vikings to a 12-0 five-inning blanking of rival Elco, in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three tilt shortened by the mercy rule. The hard-throwing righthander sat down every Raider batter she faced, and her teammates supported her with flashy defense and by scoring in all four of their at-bats.

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 034It was the first perfect game in recent memory for Northern Lebanon, which won for the fifth time in its last six outings. The result pushed the Vikings’ overall record to 6-4 and their L-L Section Three mark to 5-4.

For Elco, which was without the services of middle-of-the-order presence Amaya Phillips, the setback was its fourth in-a-row. The Raiders are now 3-10 on the spring and 2-8 in the circuit.

“I just felt good overall,” said Showers. “It was a nice day to play, not too cold and not too hot. I had a good defense behind me, so I wasn’t scared to throw the ball.

“Last year when I pitched against them (the Raiders),” added Shower, “I remembered them struggling with high pitches. But along with that, I wanted to work inside.”

“I don’t know the last time a perfect game was thrown here at Northern Lebanon,” said Vikings’ head coach Ed Spittle. “She (Showers) was her usual self, maybe even better. I’m sure she wasn’t getting tired. She said she was ready, and she was. But we played well behind her.

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 041“It’s an accumulation of everyone on the ball club playing well,” Spittle added. “She started by throwing strikes, we played well defensively and then we started hitting the ball.”

“She threw a great game,” said Elco manager Randy Derr. “She does what she does. She moves the ball around, and when she gets ahead, she throws that rise ball. And we can’t lay off of it.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to her,” continued Derr. “Whether it’s five innings or seven innings or nine innings, if you throw a perfect game, it’s a perfect game.”

With the Raider hitters off-balance and guessing all evening, Showers fanned seven, including the side in the second. Elco did not hit a ball out of the infield all game.

Showers recorded six outs on the ground and and two in the air. In additon to her punch-outs, Showers had two put-outs and three assists herself.

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 007It was Northern Lebanon’s fourth shut-out of the season.

“In the first inning, we kept the ball in the infield,” said Showers. “I had it (the possiblity of a no-hitter or perfect game) in the back of my mind the whole game. I’m happy for us. We played a really good defensive game.

“I think me and Emma (Kelliher) are both doing great,” continued Showers. “I enjoy pitching, but I don’t have to do it every game. It’s good we take turns.”

“Since our first couple of games, we’ve given up very few runs,” said Spittle. “It’s defense and getting good pitching from our pitchers.

“At the beginning of the season, we thought one (of the pitchers) might go ahead of the other,” Spittle continued. “It’s a good thing that they got real close. The kids are throwing the ball where it belongs.”

The Vikings pushed across single runs in each of their first three at-bats.

In the bottom of the first inning, three-hole hitter Hannah Bashore knocked in teammate Taylor Douple, who had reached on a Raider error. Northern Lebanon made it 2-0 in the bottom of the second, courtesy of Lindsay McFeaters’ ringing two-out triple. Then in the third, Sydney Mengel recorded an RBI after a sacrifice from Bashore and another Elco miscue.

All three of those runs were unearned.

“I was surprised. When I saw them (the Raiders) loosen up, I thought things were going to be tough,” said Spittle. “When things begin to mushroom, they can get out of hand. They (the Raiders) made some errors, but their pitcher (Sarah Yermalovich) threw strikes. It’s a rivalry, and you never know.

“In the fourth, we all kind of started hitting the middle of the ball,” continued Spittle. “That can be contagious. It was almost like a parade. We were trading places on the bases. We can hit the ball.”

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 017“That was us playing terrible,” said Derr. “Their first four runs were unearned. You can’t give good teams five or six outs. Our pitchers deserve better.

“We don’t have consistency,” added Derr. “We’re not asking them (his players) to make diving plays in the hole. We’re asking them to make routine plays.”

After being opportunistic over its first three at-bats, Northern Lebanon turned aggressive in the bottom of the fourth. The Viking sent 15 batters to the dish and scored nine times on nine hits, to bring the mercy rule into play.

At one point, after one out had been recorded, eight straight Northern Lebanon hitters reached base – on seven safeties. Douple and Mengel each lashed two-run doubles, while McFeaters, Allyson Hazy, Carrie Shuey and Summer Bohr all contributed an RBI apiece.

“I think it started last year,” said Spittle, tracing his team’s success. “When we took over, we got a team that would’ve scored in the ‘C’ or ‘D’ area. Then we became a ‘C’ or a ‘B’ team. This year, with a season under their belts, they’re doing more polishing than learning.

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 027“You’ve got to know what you’re doing with the ball, before it’s hit to you,” added Spittle. “We know now. We have a pretty confident ball club. We have some kids bouncing around out there.”

“They hit some balls in the gap,” said Derr, of the Vikings’ half of the fourth. “We can get away with that fourth, if we don’t give them those first three innings.

“They put the ball in play and forced us to make plays,” Derr continued. “We didn’t force them to make plays. I don’t know how many strikeouts we had, but it wasn’t many. They (the Vikings) hit some balls hard and they got some bloops.”

During her five innings of work, Yermalovich walked three and didn’t strike out a batter. Northern Lebanon amassed a total of a dozen hits.

“We’ve got to keep them motivated,” said Derr of his coaching staff and players. “We’ve got to try and keep their heads in the game. We can coach and teach fundamentals. But we can’t coach heart and desire.

Elco softball, Northern Lebanon softball 019“It’s hard, because we keep going out and playing like we have,” continued Derr. “I try to stay positive and keep encouraging them. You don’t want to be yelling at them all the time. I don’t ever want them to think the coaching staff has given up on them. But it feels like sometimes they’ve given up on themselves.”

“I went into the bench the last inning and didn’t say a word,” said Spittle. “One of my coaches said, ‘Do you know she (Showers) has a perfect game going?’ I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want to jinx it.”

 

 

 

 

 

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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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2018 Elco Softball Schedule

Date Opponents Results
4/05
4:15 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
3
12
4/06
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Elco
14
1
4/09
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
11
1
4/10
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
4
6
4/11
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Elco
16
0
4/12
4:15 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
0
3
4/13
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Elco
5
6
4/17
4:15 pm
Fleetwood H.S.
at Elco
7
2
4/18
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
3
20
4/19
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
10
12
4/20
4:15 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
0
3
4/23
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
10
9
4/24
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
4/25
7:00 pm
Elco
Pequea Valley
at Paradise Park
4/27
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
4/30
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Elco
at Newmanstown Softball Field
5/02
7:00 pm
Elco
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Garrett Field, Willow Street
5/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
5/05
1:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken
5/07
4:15 pm
Elco
at Donegal
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2018 Northern Lebanon Softball Schedule

Date Opponents Results
3/29
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Hamburg
4/06
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cocalico
6
2
4/09
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
7
18
4/11
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg
3
9
4/12
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon
6
0
4/17
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
11
0
4/18
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Northern Lebanon
1
8
4/20
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Pequea Valley
at Paradise Park
1
2
4/21
4:15 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Northern Lebanon
0
10
4/23
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon
0
10
4/24
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
4/25
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
4/26
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
4/30
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Elco
at Newmanstown Softball Field
5/02
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
5/03
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
5/04
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
5/07
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Northern Lebanon
5/08
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Northern Lebanon
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 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAA Power Rankings
AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Susquehanna Township 10 0- 0  0.828825  1.000000  0.619612  1.2  86.3  0.0  53.0
2 East Pennsboro 9- 0- 0  0.762341  1.000000  0.471868  9.5  75.9  0.0  85.0
3 Kennard Dale 8- 0- 0  0.760308  1.000000  0.467352  8.3  77.3  0.0  88.1
4 Bishop McDevitt 10- 1- 0  0.744531  0.925110  0.523824  10.5  84.7  0.9  77.0
5 James Buchanan 5- 1- 0  0.736882  0.871212  0.572700  5.8  86.9  0.9  64.8
6 West Perry 10- 2- 0  0.689848  0.846154  0.498807  9.9  94.1  1.8  94.6
7 Eastern York 7- 4- 0  0.600681  0.659193  0.529167  7.4  88.9  3.8  79.1
8 York Suburban 5- 3- 0  0.578656  0.628049  0.518287  5.2  78.7  3.1  73.1
9 Fleetwood 6- 4- 0  0.575329  0.637255  0.499642  6.5  104.8  3.7  104.9
10 Northern Lebanon 5- 4- 0  0.569993  0.583815  0.553100  5.1  116.4  3.6  94.1
11 Littlestown 5- 5- 0  0.523418  0.510309  0.539440  5.0  104.0  4.8  88.8
12 Hamburg 5- 5- 0  0.520525  0.539604  0.497207  5.5  111.3  4.7  112.5
13 Schuylkill Valley 7- 7- 0  0.481275  0.493103  0.466818  7.2  92.5  7.4  105.7
14 West York 3- 9- 0  0.425277  0.316964  0.557659  3.6  112.0  7.7  88.8
15 Lancaster Catholic 4- 8- 0  0.418017  0.324324  0.532531  3.6  108.5  7.5  95.2
16 Wyomissing 3- 7- 0  0.395984  0.279412  0.538462  2.9  112.7  7.4  96.6
17 Eastern Lebanon County 3- 9- 0  0.395719  0.250000  0.573821  2.8  121.7  8.3  90.4
18 Berks Catholic 4- 8- 0  0.384540  0.338843  0.440392  4.1  80.9  8.0  102.8
19 Bermudian Springs 3- 9- 0  0.378710  0.270161  0.511382  3.4  96.6  9.1  92.3
20 Boiling Springs 0- 3- 0  0.314790  0.000000  0.699534  0.0  97.6  2.5  41.9
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Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Donegal 9 0 100.00 12 0 100.00 144 11
Lampeter-Strasburg 9 1 90.00 9 2 81.82 140 20
Manheim Central 7 2 77.78 8 3 72.73 96 26
Northern Lebanon 5 4 55.56 6 4 60.00 68 38
Cocalico 5 5 50.00 7 5 58.33 85 74
Elco 2 8 20.00 3 10 23.08 58 100

 

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