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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – The game is big. The game is bigger than you and me, all of us. The game is bigger than death.

Time marches on. Life goes on. And the game must go on.

Coach wouldn’t have had it any other way.

On a sticky Wednesday evening at Northern Lebanon High School, a grieving Viking softball team remained focus on the task at hand, and blanked visiting Octorara 8-0. Northern Lebanon was propelled by fundamental execution – error-free defense, a strong pitching performance from Nicole Leaman and unrelenting offense.

Earlier in the day, fallen head coach Ed Spittle, who had passed away 11 days prior, was laid to rest. Two roses pulled from Spittle’s casket were placed in the third base coaching box and in the fencing protecting the dugout to honor his memory.

The triumph was the Vikings’ second in as many outings since the tragedy, and lifted them to 9-1 overall and 9-1 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. With the result, Octorara fell to 2-7 on the spring and 2-7 in the circuit.

“It was a tough day because they laid Coach to rest today,” said Northern Lebanon interim head coach John Mertz. “They’ve (his players) done well. The three days at the beginning of last week were tough. But then they practiced and pulled together as a team.

“They’ve been focused the entire time,” continued Mertz. “My worry was that after the passing they’d lose focus, but they haven’t. We didn’t really talk about it. We didn’t have the conversation, ‘Let’s go out and do this for coach’. We let them handle it in their own way. It wouldn’t be fair to put that burden on them.”

Northern Lebanon got right down to business in the bottom of the first inning, as lead-off hitters Autumn Bohr and Keira Anspach both singled. Summer Bohr knocked in her sister with a sacrifice fly and Brook Beamesderfer brought home Anspach with an RBI-grounder, to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, the Vikings were at it again, upping their advantage to 3-0. A. Bohr’s sacrifice fly plated Leaman, who had been hit by a pitch and moved along by Liz Boehmer’s sac bunt.

“They played a great defensive game, with zero errors,” said Mertz. “We pitched real well, but we could’ve hit a little better today. The umpire had a high strike zone and we didn’t do very well adjusting.

“But I thought we stayed consistent with the small game,” Mertz added. “We didn’t try to do too much.”

With good stuff, Leaman was on top of her game throughout. The wind-milling tenth-grader went the distance to pick up the pitching victory, while fanning four and walking three.

Leaman surrendered just a solitary safety, a two-out single in the top of the third inning. She went on to retire the last 13 Brave batters she faced.

“Nicole had a good game,” said Mertz. “This was the first time she’s thrown since Friday, but she throws hard. She’s got to stay away from walks. If she consistently throws strikes, she’ll do well. She’s strong. She’s only a sophomore, so she’s going to get stronger.”

The Vikings continued to add to their advantage in the bottom of the fourth inning, when an A. Bohr single scored Anna Kolacek for the run that made it 4-0. Then in the fifth, the Vikings plated a couple more on RBIs from Beamesderfer and Abby Palkovic.

Northern Lebanon scored twice after its first two hitters were retired in the sixth. A. Bohr ignited the mini-rally with a double, while Anspach and S. Bohr followed with RBI-singles.

“Our offense has been pretty strong this year,” said Mertz. “We’ve scored a lot of runs, about eight a game. If they just stay patient and swing at good pitches, they (his players) do very well.

“From Day One, our defense has come a long way,” Mertz continued. “Early, we had way too many errors. The hitting and pitching have been consistent. But defensively, we’ve really picked up.”

Northern Lebanon collected a total of eight hits.

To purchase images in this article please email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Northern Lebanon Softball Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
3/19
4:15 pm
Lower Dauphin
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
3/29
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
16
6

League
4/01
4:15 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
Postponed
Nonleague
4/05
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cocalico
13
3

League
4/06
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
6
8

League
4/07
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
5
6

League
4/08
4:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
4
5

League
4/09
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
10
2

League
4/13
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon
1
6

League
4/14
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
6
0

League
4/16
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
Postponed
League
4/19
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Northern Lebanon
Postponed
League
4/23
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
1
11

League
4/28
4:15 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon

League
4/30
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco

League
5/03
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon

League
5/05
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal

League
5/07
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon

League
5/10
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Garden Spot

League
5/12
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon

Nonleague

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Bishop McDevitt (3)11-0-0 0.768432 1.000000 0.485404 12.15 100.60 0.00 106.65
2Hamburg11-1-0 0.753340 0.932000 0.534978 11.65 100.18 0.85 87.08
3East Pennsboro8-0-0 0.748165 1.000000 0.440367 8.40 67.20 0.00 85.40
4Kennard Dale12-2-0 0.721296 0.878571 0.529071 12.30 118.75 1.70 105.70
5Northern Lebanon7-1-0 0.701720 0.879310 0.484664 7.65 87.70 1.05 93.25
6Big Spring8-4-0 0.629149 0.729508 0.506487 8.90 109.30 3.30 106.50
7Eastern York6-3-0 0.626130 0.713514 0.519328 6.60 108.15 2.65 100.10
8Fleetwood8-3-0 0.603508 0.737778 0.439402 8.30 69.61 2.95 88.81
9West York4-5-0 0.579801 0.525714 0.645908 4.60 117.20 4.15 64.25
10Berks Catholic5-2-0 0.573776 0.714286 0.402041 4.75 51.61 1.90 76.76
11Conrad Weiser5-5-0 0.544012 0.556122 0.529210 5.45 84.70 4.35 75.35
12Middletown5-6-0 0.512416 0.520362 0.502704 5.75 97.60 5.30 96.55
13Schuylkill Valley4-4-0 0.472894 0.493976 0.447127 4.10 68.71 4.20 84.96
14Eastern Lebanon County5-6-0 0.472326 0.487923 0.453263 5.05 89.95 5.30 108.50
15Susquehanna Township2-7-0 0.422469 0.290909 0.583264 2.40 104.55 5.85 74.70
16Octorara3-8-0 0.384364 0.302326 0.484633 3.25 95.40 7.50 101.45
17West Perry2-9-0 0.371657 0.214634 0.563573 2.20 129.65 8.05 100.40
18James Buchanan1-8-0 0.325820 0.113772 0.584989 0.95 125.10 7.40 88.75

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Three Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTRSRA
Northern Lebanon910.900910.9008436
Donegal810.889820.80010026
Manheim Central550.500660.5006952
Garden Spot550.500560.4556558
Elco470.364580.3857156
Octorara270.222270.2224250
Cocalico160.143170.1255332

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