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IMG_4528BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Playing a home playoff game could’ve been an opportunity for the Northern Lebanon softball team. Instead, it turned out to be just a reward.

On a seasonal Tuesday afternoon at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings’ first trip to the postseason in recent memory turned out to be not quite as memorable as the regular season that got them there. Northern Lebanon committed four errors and its pitching yielded 19 hits, during a sloppy 14-7 setback at the hands of West York, in the pigtail round of the District Three Class AAAA playoffs.

West York was at its most opportunistic during two different rallies – the third inning when it scored five times to assume a 6-1 lead and the sixth when it tallied seven runs to extend its advantage to 13-4. Five of the runs that the Bulldogs scored were unearned.

IMG_4518The Vikings’ disappointing result came on the heels of a surprisingly successful rebuilding year under seasoned first-year head coach Ed Spittle. Northern Lebanon went 12-8 during the regular season to earn the seventh seed in the District Three Class AAAA bracket.

West York, the tenth seed, moved to 9-12 overall and into Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the tournament.

“Any time you get into the postseason, it’s nice,” said Spittle. “It’s good to get a game at home. It’s a reward for players and fans. I would think going into this game, we were slightly favored, not because of the seeds, but because of the schedule and how well we played. It just didn’t happen today, for whatever reason.

“I don’t know when we were in districts last,” Spittle continued. “It has been a while. It’s a real good learning experience. The girls have been great. I think they learned a lot this year. Hopefully we planted some seeds. This will help.”

With the score knotted at one, the Bulldogs batted around and scored five runs on five hits in the top of the third. The Vikings contributed a pair of errors to the rally, as West York’s Katelyn Pellinger stroked a two-run single and teammates Amanda Prowell, Emily Dellinger and Gabrielle Ilyes also collected RBIs.

IMG_4510West York’s top-of-the-sixth-inning was equally as frustrating for the home side.

On three singles, a double, an error and a walk, the first six Bulldog batters in the frame reached base, and all came around to score. Pellinger drilled another two-run single, while Prowell, Ilyes and Alexis Colon did further damage for the Bulldogs.

“She’s been our rock all year,” said Spittle of starting pitcher Melanie Showers. “She wasn’t herself. She wasn’t on top of her game. But we weren’t either. Unfortunately, this bad taste is going to be in their (his players’) mouths for a while.

“There’s no senior on that team,” continued Spittle. “Sometimes youth gets exposed. Hitting wasn’t a problem. Once we got to 6-4, I thought we were back in the game. But we had to go out and defend.”

Though the execution might not have been there for the Vikings, the effort certainly was.

Northern Lebanon used three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull within 6-4, and it could’ve been more.

Back-to-back-to-back lead-off singles by Hannah Bashore, Taylor Douple and Emma Kelliher loaded the bases with nobody out. But the Vikings were forced to settle for sacrifice flies from Showers and Sydney Mengel and a wild pitch.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings moved to within 13-7 of the Bulldogs. With Bashore, Douple and Kelliher again loading the bases, Showers laced a two-run single and Mengel knocked in another run.

IMG_4551“I can’t remember a game when we couldn’t get anybody out,” said Spittle. “It’s not the way to start district play. Not unless you’ve got a vacation ready. Yesterday I thought we had one of our better practices. I don’t know if we took them lightly. But they came to play and took the play away from us.

“It was nice we made it, but we wanted to continue,” added Spittle. “I think kids grow up faster in the postseason. In the first inning, I think we botched things. We get up 3-0 and maybe things change. We didn’t defend. We didn’t get pitching. We did hit the ball. We hit the ball hard.”

IMG_4524The Vikings got first-inning triples from Bashore and Kelliher. But all they could make from them was a single run.

West York returned the favor in the top of the second, courtesy of a lead-off walk, a sacrifice and Dellinger’s RBI-safety.

“There’s no question,” said Spittle, of the strides his team made throughout the season. “This is one of the clubs that didn’t go far in the postseason that I’m most proud of. This team accomplished a lot.

IMG_4576“We hit the ball perfectly well enough to win the game,” Spittle added. “But the thing we usually excel at – defense – we didn’t do well. But I’m very proud of them.”

 

 

 

 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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2017 Northern Lebanon Softball Results

Date Teams RESULTS
3/24
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
 98
3/30
4:15 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
4/03
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
1
11
4/05
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
8
1
4/07
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
5
6
4/10
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
1
0
4/12
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Northern Lebanon
11
0
4/13
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
15
0
4/17
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
3
0
4/19
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
15
0
4/21
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
3
0
4/24
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
15
3
4/26
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
3
5
4/27
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon
4
2
5/01
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
1
2
5/03
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Cocalico
at Manetas Park, Denver
7
2
5/08
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Garrett Field, Willow Street
1
9
5/09
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
0
15
5/10
4:15 pm
Halifax H.S.
at Northern Lebanon
0
4
5/23
4:30 pm
West York
at Northern Lebanon

 

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  PIAA District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 West Perry 17- 3- 0  0.696531
2 Kennard Dale 14- 2- 0  0.691105
3 East Pennsboro 15- 2- 0  0.679710
4 Eastern York 14- 5- 0  0.637326
5 Bishop McDevitt 13- 7- 0  0.624574
6 Littlestown 13- 7- 0  0.599065
7 Northern Lebanon 12- 8- 0  0.578893
8 Hamburg 11- 9- 0  0.574863
9 James Buchanan 9- 10- 0  0.548625
10 West York 8- 12- 0  0.515698
11 Lancaster Catholic 10- 10- 0  0.500422
12 Eastern Lebanon County 6- 14- 0  0.420677
13 Schuylkill Valley 7- 13- 0  0.415524
14 Boiling Springs 3- 12- 0  0.403837
15 Fleetwood 4- 15- 0  0.380175
16 Berks Catholic 4- 13- 0  0.359935
17 York Suburban 3- 11- 0  0.353836
18 Susquehanna Township 2- 15- 0  0.335560
19 Wyomissing 4- 16- 0  0.316486
20 Bermudian Springs 2- 18- 0  0.294546

 

 

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