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 BY JEFF FALK

 HERSHEY – We talk a lot about the journey and destintions and the process. But just because a certain plateau is reached doesn’t mean the process ends.

 In many ways, the process is never ending, always evolving, growing and changing.

 On a sticky Thursday afternoon at Hershey High School, the Northern Lebanon softball team chalked up its 3-0 loss to Eastern York, in the semifinals of the District Three Class AAAA playoffs, to part of the process. The Vikings’ potent offensive attack was stymied by the hurling of Golden Knight right-hander Maelynn Leber.

 It was Northern Lebanon’s first appearance in a District Three semifinal in 21 years. After going 7-13 two seasons ago, and 14-8 in 2018, the Vikings are now 18-5 overall.

 Second-seeded Northern Lebanon will seek to keep its season alive and advanced to the PIAA postseason on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Lebanon Valley College, when it takes on top-seeded West Perry in the consolation game of the District Three Class AAAA tournament. The Vikings are now 11-22 all-time in the District Three playoffs.

 Northern Lebanon has never won a district championship in softball.

 Eastern York, the sixth seed, moved to 12-6 on the spring and into Friday’s Distict Three title tilt opposite fourth-seeded James Buchanan, at 1 p.m. at Starry Athletic Complex at Messiah College.

  “To see them grow from sophomores and juniors, and to see the way they’ve brought the program along, it’s really quite amazing,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ed Spittle. “This stuff traditionally makes ball players better. You never know what they’re (his players) thinking. We were prepared. But the farther you go, the better it is for the players.

 “This is the best coaching staff we’ve had here,” continued Spittle. “It’s really about the girls. But the staff has gotten through to the kids.”

 The Vikings encountered their share of difficulties battling Leber throughout. Northern Lebanon mustered just four hits off of her, three of which came in one at-bat.

 Leber set down the Vikings in order in the second and fifth innings, but Northern Lebanon did manage to get its lead-off hitters in the fourth and sixth frames as far as third base.

 Northern Lebanon’s most serious scoring threat came in the bottom of the seventh, when Hannah Bashore, Lindsay McFeaters and Emma Kelliher all singled. But Leber wiggled off the hook, thanks in part to a double play she started.

 Leber finished with four strikeouts and two walks.

 “I would have to give her the credit,” said Spittle of Leber. “She kept us off balance. She didn’t let us settle in. She threw a good game.

 “We’ve done well with the bats this season,” Spittle continued. “We have a very potent offense. And we have speed. But this team doesn’t adjust as quickly as they could. I think eventually they make the adjustments. But I thought we gave 100 percent effort. I thought we represented ourselves well.”

 Northern Lebanon ace Emma Kelliher matched Leber pitch-for-pitch until the top of the sixth inning, when the Golden Knights scored twice to take a 2-0 lead.

 It began with a hit-by-pitch, but the key hit was Leber’s well-place triple down the right-field line. That brought home one run, and an out later, Eastern York padded its edge on an RBI-single from Katie Lehman.

 Kelliher struck out five, issued two free passes and yielded seven hits.

  “When Emma gets into the third or fourth or fifth inning, you think she’s going to finish,” said Spittle. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a pitcher who never had a bad outing. She hasn’t had one all year. She was pitching from behind (in the count), but we kept getting them out. It only takes one inning in games like this.

 “We didn’t see anything we don’t normally see,” added Spittle. “It was a tight game. It was a well-played game.”

 Eastern York made it a 3-0 game in the top of the seventh inning. Morgan Dobbeck laced a one-out double and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch.

 “We misplayed one ball and it cost us,” said Spittle. “I thought defensively, we were as strong as they were. It just seemed we weren’t finishing our swings, swinging through the ball.

 “To get to the district final would’ve been really good,” added Spittle. “We’ve just got to turn it around for tomorrow. I think they’ll (his players) be fine. We want to let this sink in, and then forget about it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 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
2
1
 
5/08
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Garden Spot
3
2
 
5/09
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
5
9
 
5/11
11:00 am
Northern Lebanon
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Pequea Valley
2
8
 
5/23
4:30 pm
West York
at Northern Lebanon
3
7
 
5/30
1 pm
Eastern York
Northern Lebanon
at Hershey H.S.
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NORTHERN LEBANON Chronological History
 in District Three Playoffs
0-1 L East Juniata 0-4 1975 3A quarterfinal
0-2 L Central Dauphin 3-2 1980 3A quarterfinal
1-2 W Greencastle-Antrim 9-2 1983 3A first round
1-3 L Shippensburg 3-9 1983 3A quarterfinal
2-3 W Palmyra 8-7 1984 3A first round
2-4 L Chambersburg 2-3 1984 3A quarterfinal
3-4 W Palmyra 7-3 1985 3A first round
3-5 L Chambersburg 1-6 1985 3A quarterfinal
4-5 W Conrad Weiser 7-6 1986 2A quarterfinal
4-6 L Kutztown 2-3 1986 2A semifinal
4-7 L Shippensburg 3-9 1987 3A first round
4-8 L Chambersburg 2-6 1988 3A first round
4-9 L East Pennsboro 10-20 1989 3A first round
4-10 L Central Dauphin 1-5 1990 3A first round
5-10 W Living Word 20-0 (3) 1997 2A first round
6-10 W Upper Dauphin 7-0 1997 2A quarterfinal
6-11 L Kutztown 2-4 1997 2A semifinal
6-12 L Fleetwood 0-4 1997 2A third place
7-12 W Halifax 11-3 1998 2A first round
8-12 W Kutztown 4-1 1998 2A quarterfinal
9-12 W Eastern York 4-3 1998 2A semifinal
9-13 L Annville-Cleona 0-2 (10) 1998 2A championship
9-14 L Boiling Springs 2-4 1999 2A first round
9-15 L Eastern York 0-2 2000 2A first round
10-15 W West York 1-0 2007 3A preliminary
10-16 L Hershey 0-4 2007 3A first round
10-17 L Northeastern 1-3 2008 3A preliminary
10-18 L Northeastern 0-6 2009 3A preliminary
10-19 L Hamburg 1-4 2010 3A preliminary
10-20 L West York 7-14 2017 4A first round
10-21 L West Perry 1-5 2018 4A quarterfinal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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