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They say leaders are born not made. Well, Hayley Hirn turned herself into quite a leader.

And all it took was a little maturing, a little experience and some coaxing from head coach Dave Bentz.

Hirn, a senior catcher on the Annville-Cleona softball team, recently placed the finishing touches on a fantastic scholastic career. She came in as a wide-eyed freshman and exited as the Little Dutchmen’s unquestioned go-to-girl.

Over the course of her career, Hirn established herself as a feared hitter, an excellent defensive catcher and a great handler of pitchers. With all due respects to teammate Chrisi Lerchen and Cedar Crest’s Katie Gable, no one in Lebanon County enjoyed a more productive spring season than Hirn.

All Hirn did this year was help the Annville-Cleona program maintain a level of softball excellence that began nearly 30 years ago. With Hirn spearheading the effort, the Little Dutchmen finished second in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, sprung a surprising upset in the opening round of the league playoffs and qualified for the District Three Class AA postseason.

Hirn will be replaced at the catching position next season, but her role on the team can not be replicated.

– Jeff Falk



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