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 Northern Lebanon softball 057BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – It may be a bit of a cliche to say, ‘As the weather slowly heats up, so has the Northern Lebanon softball team.’

But perhaps most important for the Vikings’ success is their ability to beat the teams they’re better than, to win the games they’re supposed to win. And maybe steal a game or two that they’re not supposed to win.

On a moderate Wednesday evening at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings’ fortunes continued to improve, with an 8-1 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four crossover triumph over Lancaster Mennonite. Northern Lebanon got the job done with an opportunistic offense, and behind a strong outing from right-hander Emma Kelliher.

It was the second triumph in as many days for Northern Lebanon, which squared both its overall and Section Three records to 3-3. Lancaster Mennonite saw its seasonal and Section Four marks dip to 2-6.

Northern Lebanon softball 027“I think we’re a better team this year, no question,” said Ed Spittle, the Vikings’ veteran head coach who led them to the postseason last season, for the first time in a long time. “If we don’t make districts, I’m going to be a very disappointed guy. We feel like we’re a much better team.

“Had we been able to play the season that way it was scheduled, I think we could’ve gotten out of the gate quicker and been a better team,” added Spittle. “We started out with some of our better teams. I think we’re headed in the right direction. I think we have a team that’s capable of playing on that level.”

Kelliher was in control, in command and in charge the entire way.

The hard-throwing windmiller carried a no-hitter into the top of the sixth inning, where the Blazers also broke up her shutout with a double and an RBI-single. She finished with a three-hitter, 13 strkeouts and no walks.

Kelliher struck out the side on three different ocassions.

Northern Lebanon softball 026“We’re capable of making plays,” said Spittle. “But today she was exceptional in banging players out. I wouldn’t call her a strikeout pitcher.

“With the nubmer of games here, it’s (a pitching rotation) worked out nice,” continued Spittle. “We’ve been able to take turns. The way things are stacked up, we’ll probably do it the rest of the way. Emma’s turned it up a notch. Last year her pitches were up and she got hit hard. This year she’s hitting her spots.”

“I thought I threw pretty well,” said Kelliher in a quiet voice. “It was nice to know I had good defense behind me. I need to hit my spots and have confidence in my defense. I haven’t pitched all that much, but I think I’ve done pretty well. We’ve had some weird scheduling.

“No, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff (that she had a no-hitter going),” added Kelliher. “I just go up there against every better and try to do my best.”

It was Mel Showers’ two-run homer to straight-away center-field that highlighted the Vikings’ three-run third inning and broke a score-less tie. The rally began with two Blazer errors, both coming with two outs.

Then in the bottom of the fourth, Northern Lebanon widened its margin to 4-0. Lindsay McFeaters ripped a two-out single, advanced to third on a couple of wild pitches and came around on Summer Bohr’s RBI-single.

Northern Lebanon softball 015“I thought we labored a little tonight,” said Spittle. “Emma threw a great game. She stayed ahead of the hitters. We played pretty solid defense. And we got a little opportunistic with hits. There were some key situations we came through in, and scored. We kept adding on and making it more comfortable. They (the Blazers) didn’t look like they were going to come back.

“We’re in the middle of playing nine games in 11 days,” Spittle added. “They’re really packed solid. We’re playing games against teams we should handle. We’re 3-3 now, after being 1-3. That feels a whole lot better.”

“Every game is important,” said Kelliher. “But this game was really important because we’ve had a slow start. We needed this to build up our confidence.”

The Vikings increased their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in part to hits from Hannah Bashore and McFeaters. Bashore scored on a wild pitch, as did Allyson Hazy after her.

Northern Lebanon softball 040“We were succesful sometimes,” said Spittle of his hitters’ approaches. “Then other times I felt like we fritzed some at-bats away. But for the most part, we swung at strikes.

“Anything close to 14-6 or 13-7 would be a really good season,” Spittle continued. “We’re going to have to play ball to do that. But there’s a chance we can be in that neighborhood. I think we’re turning the corner, and now we’re a year older.”

“We’ve been struggling at bat,” said Kelliher. “But we turned it around today. Yesterday and today we got our bats going. The defense was more sound and we’re making all the plays.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Northern Lebanon Softball Schedule

Date Opponents Outcomes
3/27
4:15 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Northern Lebanon
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
4/23
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon
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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Northern Lebanon softball 016Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Donegal 7 0 100.00 10 0 100.00 117 11
Lampeter-Strasburg 7 1 87.50 7 1 87.50 103 11
Manheim Central 4 2 66.67 5 3 62.50 51 23
Northern Lebanon 3 3 50.00 3 3 50.00 35 36
Cocalico 3 4 42.86 5 4 55.56 61 57
Elco 2 4 33.33 3 6 33.33 39 75

 

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