CURWENSVILLE – Allen Leigey, Curwensville Area High School longtime girls softball coach once again has his sites set on another trip to post season play.
And why not? Leigey has guided the Lady Tide to the District 9 playoffs 13 straight years, and 14 of his 15 seasons.
Entering his 16th season, with two PIAA state titles (2007 & 2009), and three District 9 Championships (“A” in 2007 & 2009, and “AA” in 2013) Leigey sports an overall record of 220-107.
The 2017 season gets underway for the Lady Tide on Monday with a home game against the Lady Rovers of Brockway at 4:15 pm.
After ending last year in the first round of the District 9 AA playoffs, losing to Clarion 3-2, Curwensville will attempt to improve on its final record of 11-10.
Leigey talked about this year’s team and one goal that is a must, saying, “Commitment to the team; there is no such thing as in-between. You are either in or out. That quote is attributed to former NBA coach Pat Riley, so this year’s edition of Lady Tide softball has to commit to this quote. Infielders have to help the outfielders and both sub groups and catcher has to help the pitchers.”
With Lady Tide pitcher Rylee Young lost due to graduation Leigey will count on using two new hurlers in junior Clerissia Cole and sophomore Rachel LeGars.
Neither Cole nor LeGars have any varsity pitching experience as Young was in the circle every inning for the Lady Tide in 2016.
The Lady Tide do have seven letter winners on its roster, which should help stabilize the squad while the two new pitchers settle in to their respective roles.
Junior Mackenzie Anderson along with Lauren Tozer, a freshman, will be stationed at first base while senior Kaylee Harnett returns to play second base after a year at shortstop.
In 2016 Harnett hit for a very healthy average of .339 (second best on the team) with 21 hits while driving in 11 teammates.
Leigey also will be breaking in a new catcher this coming season with freshman Bailey Bloom assuming the duties behind home plate.
Another senior, Hannah Dixon, will give the Tide solid veterans up the middle as she returns to shortstop after playing third base last season.
Dixon, always a threat to run, led the Lady Tide with 15 stolen bases and 16 runs scored last season.
Chloe Tubbs, another senior, and newcomer Hannah Tilton, a junior, will see action at third base in Curwensville‘s somewhat revamped infield for 2017.
Ariel Zattoni, a sophomore, will anchor the outfield for the Lady Tide starting in center, while returning letter winner Camryn Richards, a senior, returns to her spot in right field.
The left field spot is a dogfight with five vying for the starting nod in juniors Anne Hoover and Olivia McGarry and three sophomores Keisha Maines, Miranda Harnett and Kelsi Bumbarger.
Speaking of the defense, Leigey recently said, “We have the potential to be solid defensively, and we are going to have to be for us to win games. Our pitchers have zero innings thrown at the varsity level, so early on in the season they will need to toe the rubber and gain confidence each and every game.”
The veteran mentor has always set goal for his squads and this year is no different, commenting, “We need to get better each and every game, competing to the last out. You have to learn to love practice, because practice leads to a winning season and a return trip to the district playoffs.”
Leigey already has some praise for his newest squad, saying, “The biggest praise I can give this year’s team so far is that they are very coachable and willing to learn. We have no ego problems, just a blue collar, lunch pail type of team.”
SENIORS: *Hannah Dixon, *Kayley Harnett, *Chloe Tubbs, *Camryn Richards
JUNIORS: *Mackenzie Anderson, Clerissia Cole, Anne Hoover, *Olivia McGarry, Hannah Tilton
SOPHOMORES: Kelsi Bumbarger, Miranda Harnett, Rachel LeGars, *Keisha Maines, Ariel Zattoni
FRESHMEN: Bailey Bloom, Lauren Tozer
* Denotes returning letter winner
MARCH: 27 BROCKWAY, 29 MOSHANNON VALLEY
APRIL: 3 at Elk County Catholic, 5 at Johnsonburg, 7 at Clearfield (4:30 PM), 11 SHEFFIELD DH (3 PM),
18 at Kane, 21 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC, 4/22 (Sat) at North Star DH (11 AM), 25 at Brockway,
27 HARMONY, 28 WEST BRANCH,
MAY: 1 at Brookville, 2 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC, 8 at Glendale (4:30 PM), 11 KANE, 15 JOHNSONBURG, 17 at Dubois Central Catholic
HOME GAMES IN CAPS. ALL GAMES START AT 4:15 PM UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.