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Lady Blue Devils prepare to surpass goals on softball diamond

Bellwood-Antis softball has arrived. The Lady Blue Devils kicked the 2003 season off on Tuesday and are ready to hopefully add to their past successes and achieve some of their own. In truth, the B-A girls softball program struggled to get itself righted until last year. Relatively new at Bellwood-Antis, the squad did not always get the school’s best female athletes in the early years of the program. Learning was accompanied by lots of losses.
In 2002, under head coach John Hammond, the Bellwood-Antis softball team had their first winning record and won the first playoff game in school history in softball. The squad finished 11-9 including that playoff win, before running into Penns Valley, who would go on to win the PIAA state championship.
“We set goals this season,” said coach Hammond, “among which are to do better than last year and to go further into the playoffs. There is a good nucleus of girls back from last year. We had to replace a couple of outfielders and we have a catcher and first baseman who saw some playing time. Other than that and pitcher, we are solid with experienced players at all the other positions.”
Bellwood-Antis got six hits against Hollidaysburg in their season opener, but wasn’t able to bunch them together in a 6-1 loss in which they showed a competent defense, but failed on offense, despite getting enough hits to win many ballgames.
The Lady Blue Devils will line up with Angel Kelley leading off and playing second base, Dani Patton hitting second in left field, Rebekah Forney batting third and playing shortstop, Kali Schreckengost pitching and hitting fourth, Elyse Schreckengost batting in the five spot and playing right field, Danielle Gardner playing third base and hitting sixth, Charlie Burns catching and batting in the seven spot, Rebecca Nau batting eighth and playing first base and Becky Dillen hitting ninth and patrolling center field.
Coach Hammond’s biggest concern was his pitching staff. “This year’s pitchers did get a little time on the mound last year, but not much. I think a pitcher can account for about 80 per cent of the game in girls softball if you have a good one. When you get a good pitcher-catcher combination, the defense doesn’t have to work nearly as hard. A good pitcher can dominate.”
In the Hollidaysburg game, Kali Schreckengost pitched well, with the exception of one bad inning, and Danielle Gardner also had a nice outing in relief.
In the opener, Forney, Kali and Elyse Schreckengost, Gardner, Burns and Dillen each had one hit, but only Burns was able to work around the bases to score.
“These girls are a good group to work with,” said Hammond. “They are hard workers and they don’t quit. On Tuesday we played good defense. We just need to put our hits together and score runs.”