CURWENSVILLE – It was another successful season for the Curwensville Lady Tide softball team in 2015 under the direction of longtime head coach Allen Leigey.
The Lady Tide finished last season with a 12-8 mark, losing its final game in the District 9 Class “A” quarterfinals to DuBois Central Catholic, 2-0.
As for Leigey, it will be his 15th season at the helm for the Lady Tide, coming into 2016 with an overall record of 209-97 for a .683 winning percentage.
And of course there are those two PIAA Class “A” Championships won in 2007 and 2009.
The Lady Tide will be missing three key offensive players from last year in seniors Nikki Harker (1B), Megan McCartney (LF) and catcher Alaina Stiles.
Stiles led the team in hitting with a .500 average and in hits with 31, while smacking seven doubles and driving in 15.
Harker drove in the most runs with 18 and had a healthy .328 batting average while fellow senior McCartney hit .355 on the 2015 season.
Other seniors lost through graduation were Morgan Ross (.250), Heather Thorp, Jordan Round (.222) and Dominique Newkirk.
The cupboard, however, is far from being bare, as Curwensville will return eight letter winners that include five seniors in Madison Bumbarger, Teghan Jacobson, Haley McGarry, Kaylee Sedgwick and Rylee Young.
Juniors make up the other three letter winners – Hannah Dixon, Kaylee Harnett and Camryn Richards.
Young returns as the number one pitcher for Curwensville after picking up the decision in every game last year going 12-8 with an ERA OF 3.43. In 128 innings pitched the senior struck out 136 opposing hitters.
At the plate Young was second in runs scored with 18 and hit for a healthy .328 average by banging out 22 hits that included five doubles.
The Lady Tide’s second leading hitter from last year is back as Dixon batted .387 with 24 base hits. The junior shortstop also led the team with 13 stolen bases.
Haley McGarry returns for her senior season after hitting for a .333 average while Harnett, a junior, hit .320 in 2015 with 24 base hits and scored 18 runs.
Leigey spoke about the upcoming season, saying, “We are going to be good in the circle because this is Ryle’s (Young) third year and she had a very good junior year so we are looking to her to control the pitching duties. We are also very strong up the middle with Hannah (Dixon) back at shortstop and her double play partner Kayley (Harnett) back at second base where she was a District IX all-star last year. Haley McGarry is back behind the dish and she has fully recovered from last year’s injury. Patrolling centerfield will be Madi (Bumbarger) again, so we will be a strong up the middle team.”
New personnel will be at other spots as Leigey elaborated, “We will have new girls on the corner infield spots. We were able to talk Chole Tubbs, who is the Lady Tide soccer goalie, to come out for the softball team and she will be playing the hot corner at third base. She is very good defensively . At first base we will go to a freshman to fill the big shoes of Nikki Harker who graduated last year.”
The new first baseman will be, as Leigey mentioned, Keisha Maines, a freshman, while junior Camryn Richards is again in right field with senior Teghan Jacobson securing left field.
Senior Emily Miller will be the DP, designated player, this season.
Then Leigey spoke about the upcoming season, “If we can live up to our potential then we should be one of the top three teams in District 9 Class “A”.
“I don’t want our players to be the best on the team”, said Leigey, “I just want them to be the best player for the team. If they can do that then I think we will be fine.”
Leigey closed by talking about team goals, commenting, “Our goals are always the same, have a winning season, make the District playoffs and make a lot of noise if when we get there. The number one goal is to always win as a team and lose as a team.”
Curwensville opens the season at home on Thursday against visiting Clarion. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:15 pm.
SENIORS: *Madison Bumbarger, *Teghan Jacobson, *Haley McGarry, Emily Miller, *Kaylee Sedgwick, *Rylee Young
JUNORS: *Hannah Dixon, *Kaylee Harnett, *Camryn Richards, Chloe Tubbs
SOPHOMORES: Olivia McGarry
FRESHMEN: Rachel LeGars, Keisha Maines
MARCH: 24 CLARION
APRIL: 4 JOHNSONBURG, 6 at Elk County Catholic, 9 at Moshannon Valley (12 NOON), 11 GLENDALE,
13 at Purchase Line (4 pm), 14 KANE, 18 at Harmony (4:30 pm), 19 at DuBois Central Catholic,
21 BROCKWAY, 25 PURCHASE LINE, 27 at Johnsonburg
MAY: 2 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC, 4 at Sheffield (DH- 3 pm), 5 CLEARFIELD, 9 at West Branch (4:30 pm),
10 at Kane, 12 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC, 17 at Brockway
NOTE: ALL GAMES START AT 4:15 PM UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.