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Tyrone girls softball gains experience

Lady Eagle freshman pitcher Ariane Miller

Despite playing in a very difficult league from which the last three district champions and the defending PIAA state champ resides, the Tyrone Lady Eagle softball team was able to put up some good numbers in 2008. Short on victories, but never on enthusiasm and hard work and dedication, the 2008 edition of the Lady Eagles, coached by Lois Loncher, played through possibly the toughest schedule Tyrone has ever played and was forced to do it with just five girls returning, who had any experience at all.
Seniors Lindsay Christine, Brook Garbinski and Amber Miller, junior Teanna Kobuck, and sophomore Paris Harden returned, but all their teammates had to learn on the run in sink or swim mode against competition out for blood, that gave no quarter and took no prisoners.
Gone from last-year’s squad were five starters in Kimberly Cherry, Kasie Glashauser, Ashley Pennabaker, Shannon Shultz, and Megan Turiano, who were responsible for much of the offense as well as defense on the diamond as well.
“We had to replace a lot of lost talent,” explained coach Loncher. “This year’s seniors, Lindsay Christine, Kayla DeSoto, Brooke Garbinsky and Amber Miller, took the younger girls under their wings.
Predictably, the Lady Eagles struggled, especially early, but played well according to coach Loncher late in the season.
“We had seven girls learning new positions, and six who had never played varsity before,” acknowledged Loncher. “We struggled defensively and at the plate during the year. We did finish with two good outings against Central Mountain and Bellefonte.”
Catcher Lindsay Christine led the Lady Eagles with a .348 (15/43) batting average, 15 hits and six RBI. Center fielder Teanna Kobuck, who leads a nucleus that will be back for the 2009 season, batted .307 (12/39) and had a dozen base hits.
Senior Kayla DeSoto displayed the best eye, leading the team with seven walks, while Kobuck had the fewest strikeouts at the plate with seven. Kobuck and Brooke Garbinsky each collected five walks. Christine was the second-hardest to strike out, fanning 10 times. Lady Eagle leadoff hitter Amber Miller had eight hits
For the Lady Eagles, who finished 0-17, freshman Ariane Miller struck out 61 while walking 95. Miller took a while getting acclimated on the mound, in a league full of dominating upperclassmen pitchers, but Loncher noted that Miller’s strikeout-to-walk ratio improved dramatically over the final six games of the schedule. Miller will have a full year of experience in 2009. In high school fast pitch softball, a dominating pitcher is more valuable than a gallon of gas.
Tyrone played their best softball of the season against Backyard Rival Bellwood-Antis. In one offensive battle and one defensive struggle, the Lady Eagles played B-A tough before falling 15-13 and 5-3 in what was probably the highlights of their campaign.
“We had very little depth and with only three girls on the varsity from the junior/sophomore classes, the new girls were thrown, ready or not into the fire,” concluded Loncher.
The Tyrone girls were held to three hits or less eight times, but still had several highlights. Lindsay Christine closed out her high school career with the only two hits against Bellefonte. Right fielder Amanda Detwiler broke up a no-hit attempt against Central Mountain with a base hit. Ariane (Annie) Miller singled against All-World Philipsburg-Osceola pitcher Brittany Murphy to ruin a potential no-hit performance. Freshman left fielder Kassie Gardner’s triple was the only base hit in a game against Central. In the first Bellwood-Antis contest, in extra innings, Christine had four hits and four RBI, Paris Harden had a pair of base hits and three RBI, and Amber Miller and Teanna Kobuck each added three singles.