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 BY JEFF FALK

 FREDERICKSBURG – Sometimes you’ve got to fall before you can run. Sometimes you’ve got to lose before you can win. Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed.

 And sometimes the road is longer than anyone could’ve imagined at the beginning.

  On an overcast Wednesday evening at Northern Lebanon High School, the Viking softball team got a glimpse of how agonizingly close they’ve come to their goals, during an 8-7 setback to mighty Donegal. After rallying from an early three-run deficit, Northern Lebanon was ultimately doomed by a little loose play in the top of the fifth inning.

 The game ended with the potential tying run on base, after the Vikings had pulled to within 8-7 of the Indians on Lindsay McFeaters’ sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning.

 While the contest couldn’t be characterized as a ‘showdown’, it was a huge measuring-stick game for a Northern Lebanon club which has come far over the past three seasons. The outcome all but eliminated the Vikings from Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three championship contention and put a crimp in NL’s hopes for a league playoff berth.

 But at  14-3 on the year and 12-3 in Section Three, Northern Lebanon looks like one of the top seeds in the upcoming District Three Class AAAA postseason tournament. Back on March 29th in Mount Joy, Donegal defeated the Vikings 7-0.

 The result clinched at least a tie for the Section Three title for the unbeaten Indians, now 16-0 overall and 15-0 in the circuit.

  “Donegal has been the big dog for so long,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ed Spittle. “You have to beat them at some point if you’re going to win the section. It would’ve been nice to knock them off. They’re ‘The Program’. We’re the up-and-coming program. Until you knock them off, they’re the king pin. Closeness can only take you so far.

 “We need to get over that hump,” continued Spittle. “We’ve been in enough big games, and we’re going to be in big games the rest of the year. This can only benefit us. The pitching we see in the section will only help us when we go away.”

 There were a few times yesterday where it looked like Northern Lebanon might get over that hump.

 Facing a 4-1 hole in the bottom of the third inning, the Vikings tied it on Sydney Mengel’s ringing, three-run double to right-center field. Northern Lebanon had loaded the bases on a pair of Donegal errors and a single from Taylor Douple.

 “We did exploit them a little bit,” said Spittle of the Indians. “They threw some things away, and they made some beautiful plays. One more play in a game like this might have changed the outcome.

 “What can you say?,” Spittle continued. “We battled right to the end. We certainly had our chances. We’re not a team that makes a lot of errors, so that part of it stings a little.”

 In the final tally, it was Donegal’s fifth at-bat that proved to be decisive.

 The Indians scored four times to take an 8-4 lead, thanks in part to three Viking errors. Morgan Creek and Aysha Gibbs drove home Donegal runs during the rally.

 “We put some runs on the board and Emma (Kelliher) pitched well enough to win,” said Spittle. “I don’t think she was at her best, but she was close. If we would’ve made the plays, the ball game would’ve been ours.

 “She’s (Donegal pitcher Sierra Neiss) a decent pitcher,” added Spittle. “She’s one of the better pitchers in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. But we banged her around a little bit.”

 The Vikings shaved their deficit to 8-6 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Ally Hazy’s two-out, two-run single did the trick, following a walk to Summer Bohr, Mengel being hit by a pitch and sacrifices from Douple and Hannah Bashore.

 “Sometimes when you’re playing the Donegals and the Lampeter-Strasburgs, you’ve got to get close before you can beat them,” said Spittle. “I think now we’re in a spot where we can beat them. I think there’s mutal respect. I think we gained that in the last two or three years.

 “We wouldn’t swap them (his players) for the world,” Spittle added. “If we’re lucky enough to get into districts, this is the team I want to take there. You’ve got to love them.”

 It was mental errors, not physical ones, by the Vikings which helped the Indians score three runs in the top of the first. Donegal’s Stephanie Reider ripped an a run-scoring triple, Neiss blasted an RBI-double and Creek produced a run-scoring single.

 Northern Lebanon got one of those runs back in the home half of the opening frame. Autumn Bohr and Summer Bohr singled, then A. Bohr scored on a wild pitch.

 “We didn’t talk on the ball in right field,” said Spittle of the top half of the first. “We could’ve gotten out of the inning with no one scoring. But then I think the character of the team showed. We came back and almost got ahead. They (the Indians) play well when they have the lead. I’d like to see how they do when they’re playing from behind.”

 Northern Lebanon’s next outing – Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Manheim Central – should go a long way in determing who will represent Section Three as its runner-up in next week’s Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Results

 
 
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
24
4
 
4/04
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon
1
4
 
4/06
1:00 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
1
8
 
4/08
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
12
0
 
4/11
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
11
1
 
4/15
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
0
5
 
4/17
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
27
2
 
4/18
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
0
14
 
4/22
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
13
1
 
4/24
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
1
12
 
4/29
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
29
0
 
5/01
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
8
7
 
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
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAA Power Rankings
 
AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 West Perry 13- 3- 0  0.705427  0.837580  0.543908  13.2  148.7  2.6  124.7
2 James Buchanan 12- 4- 0  0.696542  0.794872  0.576361  12.4  157.8  3.2  116.0
3 Northern Lebanon 14- 3- 0  0.692161  0.847761  0.501982  14.2  158.3  2.6  157.1
4 Bishop McDevitt 11- 3- 0  0.689746  0.822148  0.527922  12.3  142.8  2.7  127.7
5 Eastern York 9- 4- 0  0.653899  0.754647  0.530764  10.2  143.2  3.3  126.6
6 Kennard Dale 11- 4- 0  0.638798  0.741325  0.513488  11.8  164.7  4.1  156.0
7 Bermudian Springs 13- 4- 0  0.635974  0.764384  0.479030  14.0  142.2  4.3  154.7
8 Hamburg 9- 8- 0  0.567073  0.552239  0.585203  9.3  180.0  7.5  127.6
9 Lancaster Catholic 12- 7- 0  0.565096  0.632708  0.482460  11.8  150.6  6.9  161.6
10 West York 9- 6- 0  0.559977  0.610224  0.498566  9.6  156.4  6.1  157.3
11 Middletown 8- 6- 0  0.549353  0.598540  0.489235  8.2  131.8  5.5  137.6
12 Conrad Weiser 8- 7- 0  0.528949  0.571429  0.477029  8.2  144.9  6.2  158.8
13 East Pennsboro 6- 6- 0  0.522489  0.521368  0.523861  6.1  121.9  5.6  110.8
14 Susquehanna Township 6- 9- 0  0.502878  0.477816  0.533510  7.0  141.3  7.7  123.6
15 Big Spring 5- 9- 0  0.494132  0.393382  0.617271  5.4  173.7  8.3  107.7
16 Fleetwood 6- 10- 0  0.490551  0.397436  0.604358  6.2  177.5  9.4  116.2
17 Octorara 5- 11- 0  0.458079  0.347134  0.593680  5.5  171.9  10.3  117.7
18 Eastern Lebanon County 3- 12- 0  0.345318  0.186813  0.539045  2.6  170.5  11.1  145.8
19 Berks Catholic 2- 12- 0  0.335161  0.149254  0.562380  2.0  147.0  11.4  114.4
20 York Suburban 1- 14- 0  0.295604  0.066667  0.575416  0.9  166.0  11.9  122.5
21 Wyomissing 2- 10- 0  0.284345  0.137097  0.464314  1.7  115.8  10.7  133.6
 
 
 
 
 Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
 
 
  League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Donegal 15 0 100.00 16 0 100.00 156 21
Northern Lebanon 12 3 80.00 14 3 82.35 206 31
Manheim Central 12 3 80.00 13 4 76.47 125 19
Garden Spot 8 6 57.14 9 6 60.00 102 23
Octorara 4 9 30.77 5 10 33.33 58 114
Cocalico 4 10 28.57 4 11 26.67 86 88
Elco 3 10 23.08 3 10 23.08 75 108

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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