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 BY JEFF FALK

 FREDERICKSBURG – The road to success isn’t a straight highway. It’s a jagged line, complete with detours, and chocked full of bumps and potholes.

 The key is to never stray too far, and to return to the beaten path as quickly as possible.

 On a seasonal Thursday evening at Northern Lebanon High School, the Viking softball team got back on track and stayed on course, with a 4-1 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three triumph over Garden Spot. Northern Lebanon executed sound fundamental softball throughout, built a 4-0 lead and supported senior right-hander Emma Kelliher, both offensively and defensively.

 The Vikings have their share of realistic goals for this spring, and the outcome made them 5-2 overall and 4-2 in Section Three. Garden Spot slipped to 4-3 on the season and 3-3 in the circuit.

 “We played well,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ed Spittle. “We lost a 1-0 game to (Manheim) Central on Monday and it looked like we were in a fog. It looked like to me that no one was interested. Today we played like I thought we would on Monday. We battled.

 “The expecations were high coming into the season and we’ve fulfilled most of them to this point,” continued Spittle. “We’re right on schedule. I think we’ve taken care of business like we’re supposed to.”

 “It’s still early,” said Kelliher. “But we’ve got great chemistry. We’re close. We’re playing for each other. We definitely need to keep hitting. We’re definitely improving. We need to beat the teams we’re supposed to beat.”

   Mixing her pitches and keeping the Comets off balance, Kelliher wiggled out of minor trouble in the first and fourth frames, before yielding a solo homer to Meg Fisher with one out in the top of the sixth. Kelliher set down the Comets in order in the second, third and seventh innings.

  During her complete-game effort, Kelliher whiffed ten, walked two and surrendered four hits.

 “We’re learning,” said Spittle. “The girls have bought in. You can always teach the game of softball. We can make kids better, but you never really know about the pitching.

 “We’ve challenged Emma to step up,” added Spittle. “She’s pitching really well. She hasn’t had a bad outing all year. She’s smart, and she makes batters put the ball in play and allows the defense to do the work for her.”

 “I had one of my better days, but not my best one,” said Kelliher. “It’s more personal to me. When things are going well for me, my pitches have speed and movement, and I’m hitting my spots. That’s the biggest thing I need to do.

 “I need to throw strikes,” Kelliher added. “For me, it’s important to keep my teammates up and encourage them. Because they encourage me.”

 After leaving the bases loaded in  the bottom of the second inning, the Vikings broke through in the third. Summer Bohr and Taylor Douple stroked singles for Northern Lebanon, ahead of teammate Hannah Bashore’s two-out, RBI-hit.

 “I tell them all the time, once you lose a ball game, you can never get it back,” said Spittle. “The pitching we saw (on Monday), we should’ve handled it. But I think we’re relatively on course.

 “Today, we took advantage of the opportunities we had,” Spittle continued. “Eventually we got a couple of key hits. But she’s (Garden Spot starter Elizabeth King) one of the best pitchers in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.”

 The Vikings added an all-important insurance tally and made it 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

 It began with Allyson Hazy’s lead-off single and continued with Lindsay McFeater’s sacrifice. Hazy eventually scored when Autumn Bohr reached base on a wild pitch that was a third strike.

 “It all starts with a good pitch,” said Spittle of the Vikings’ offensive approach. “Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we chase balls out of the strike zone.

  “I really think our lead-off hitter, Autumn Bohr, is going to be the rookie-of-the-year,” Spittle added. “She’s a driving force. She’s hitting around .500 and she’s been doing a heck of a job.”

 “This really meant a lot to us,” said Kelliher. “We had lost a win-able game on Monday. Today was a way to prove ourselves. I thought we played really well. We were making good contact and making the plays we needed to make.”

 Northern Lebanon ‘doubled’ its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

 Bashore and Hazy socked ringing, back-to-back, RBI two-baggers. The rally had been started by Sydney Mengel, who coaxed a one-out walk out of King.

 “We threatened and put the pressure on them (the Spartans),” said Spittle. “We kept them off the board and scored a run. The key was getting that second one. Sometimes when a team gets a 4-0 lead they get complacent. But this was a well-played game.

 “We need to continue to get the kind of pitching we did today,” continued Spittle. “And we need to hit the ball well throughout the lineup.”

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Northern Lebanon Softball Schedule

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
3/26
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
17
6
 
3/27
4:15 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon
0
13
 
3/28
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Northern Lebanon
0
10
 
3/29
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
0
7
 
4/01
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon
1
0
 
4/03
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cocalico
   
4/04
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon
   
4/06
1:00 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
   
4/08
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
   
4/12
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
   
4/15
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
   
4/17
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
   
4/18
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
   
4/22
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
   
4/24
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
   
4/29
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
   
5/01
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
   
5/03
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
   
5/06
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
   
5/08
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Garden Spot
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
 
 
  League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Donegal 5 0 100.00 5 0 100.00 48 2
Manheim Central 5 1 83.33 5 1 83.33 42 7
Northern Lebanon 4 2 66.67 5 2 71.43 68 19
Garden Spot 3 3 50.00 4 3 57.14 38 14
Octorara 2 4 33.33 2 4 33.33 27 57
Cocalico 1 5 16.67 1 5 16.67 25 55
Elco 0 5 0.00 0 5 0.00 20 62
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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