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LebCo Softball Season Outlook: 2023


     Annville-Cleona Dutchmen 

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4

Head Coach: Tim Bowen, 2nd season

Key Returning Players:  Meda Pulaski (Jr., P); Ashlyn Shaak (Jr., OF); Danika Setlock (So., SS) Myranda Thielemann (So., OF); Faith Wagner (So., C)

Key Losses: Ella Andrews

Outlook: After coaching at Bishop McDevitt for several season, Coach Bowen’s first year with Annville-Cleona was deemed a success, ending with a Section 4 championship and a District 3 playoff appearance.  The Dutchmen played a 12-9 record on the season, all while having a roster stacked with underclassmen.  Out of the group last year, they are only losing one key piece.  This means that they are in good position to build upon last year’s successes, all while still not relying on seniors.  The group that remains is hungry to keep building upon the success of ’22.  The main factor that they hope to improve upon is their overall consistency.  If they can continue their maturation, AC could make a case for a spot in the State Playoffs.

     Cedar Crest Falcons 

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1

Head Coach: Stephanie Leonardo, 3rd season

Key Returning Players: Reese Arnold (Jr., P/INF); Riley Rohrer (Jr., C/INF); Emma Johnson (Jr., 1B); Brooke Zimmerman (Jr. – INF)

Key Losses: Anna Gable, Sydney Black, Hayley Hackman

Outlook: While the Lady Falcons lost some key talent to graduation, Coach Leonardo hopes to build upon the veteran leadership and overall team culture that she returns this spring to the diamond.  Playing within the unforgiving terrain of Section 1, the team’s leaders have continued to develop their skills and will aid Cedar Crest in building upon past experience to find a new level of success in ’23.


    ELCO Raiders  

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3

Head Coach: Allen Phillips, 2nd season

Key Returning Players: Gracie Barshinger (Sr., 3B); Emily Dietrich (Sr., C/2B); Caitlyn Kleinfelter (Sr., 1B/OF); Zoe Menzel (Sr., 2B/C); Grace Phillips (Jr., OF); Abby Hassler (So., P/OF); Gabby Smith (So., P/SS); Morgan Wilson (So., SS/C)

Key Losses: Haley Krill (Lebanon Valley)

Outlook: Last year, the Lady Raiders battled injury issues throughout the season, yet still finished above .500.  This season, they hope to stay healthy and build on the success that they were able to find last year.  What will make it easier is that Coach Phillips is returning eight starters, including a strong pitching rotation that consist of sophomores Abby Hassler and Gabby Smith.  In addition to the strength of what they are returning this season, they are also adding three freshman who are showing early promise and should give ELCO depth in the case that the injury bug returns: Chloe Smith, Abby Ruth, and Kenzie Deeks.  If all goes according to plan, this squad could make a run at the playoffs, an accomplishment not seen in the recent history of ELCO Softball.


     Lebanon Cedars

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2

Head Coach:  Tyler Roth, 3rd season

Key Returning Players: Eve Fenstermaker (Sr., OF/C); Serenity Zidik (So., P)

Key Losses: Anataysha León, Laila Elbouhy

Outlook: The 2022 season was one of growth for the Lebanon Cedars, one which they faced with grace, ultimately resulting in being awarded the Sportsmanship Award that is presented yearly by the Lancaster Chapter PIAA softball umpires.  Out of that crew, they lost seven seniors, including Anataysha León and Laila Elbouhy, who are now serving our country with some of the lessons they learned through athletic competition.  This year’s team is no doubt very young, which means that Coach Roth’s underclassmen will have to take on large roles.  The hope is that they can enter each game fearless while being aggressive at the plate in each at-bat.  If they can develop at a suitable pace, this team could cause issues for their opponents, while also becoming stronger for future years.


     Northern Lebanon Vikings

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4

Head Coach: Bob Bashore, 2nd season

Key Returning Players: Kiera Anspach (Jr., OF); Brooke Beamesderfer (Jr., 3B/CF); Bailey McFeaters (Jr., OF); Lynsie Mauser (So., P); Hope Ritchie (Sr., P); Olivia Shutter (So., SS)

Key Losses: Autumn Bohr

Outlook: Following the unexpected passing of longtime head coach Ed Spittle during the 2021 season, Coach Bashore took over the program and did everything right to honor his mentor.  Despite only having one senior on the roster, the Lady Vikings went 17-3, while going 16-0 in Section 3.  This resulted in Northern Lebanon’s first Section Title in 22 years.  In 2023, this team will have to replace that lone senior, Autumn Bohr, who had 100 hits in 43 games and provided rock-solid defense in center field each game.  The obvious great news is that they only have to worry about replacing one star, as Coach Bashore hopes the development of his returning players will continue this season.  In addition to the returning players, they’ll be adding two freshmen who will see significant playing time this year: Addison Hollenbach and Addison Kubica.  The name of the game the Lady Vikings will be defense, even as they hope to develop consistency in the hitting and pitching departments.  Overall, this roster boasts a lot of athleticism from young ladies who are determined to do their best each game as they have now moved to Section 4 as part of a realignment.  If they can continue to improve, this unit may be competing late into the post-season.


   Palmyra Cougars

Mid-Penn Conference – Keystone Division

Head Coach: Kirsten Hertzog, 1st season

Key Returning Players: Emily Cutman (Sr., C); Rowan Facciani (Sr., Utility); Nitya Patel (Sr., Utility); Mollie White (Sr., P)

Key Losses: Samantha Krahling

Outlook: Last season, the Lady Cougars finished 13-6 on the way to being the co-champions of the Keystone Division and earning a spot in the District 3 Playoffs.  Over the course of the offseason, the big cats showed worked hard in order to come back ready for more this season.  Leading the way for first-year Head Coach Hertzog will be the battery of pitcher Mollie White and catcher Emily Cutman.  White, the West Virginia Wesleyan commit, currently has 388 Ks for her career and should hit the 400-strikeout milestone early in the season.  Palmyra also has strong leadership that understands what is necessary to make the postseason.  In addition to the veterans, be on the lookout for several younger players to begin making impacts at the varsity level: Mia Morrison (So.), Kate Shenk (Fr.), and Vivian Jacoby (Fr.).  With the balance of upper and lower classmen, the team is planning to win this year and continue for many years in the future.


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