Thanks for a great ride
Sports Editor The Manheim Central girls’ season had only been finished for a few minutes, and four reporters huddled around head coach Steve Ginder for the last time this season. It was there, in the pressbox at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Softball Park, that the Lady Barons’ boss did a good job of lending perspective to MC’s best softball season ever.
With 16 words, he summed it up pretty nicely, saying, "It takes a good run and a little bit of luck to make it back here."
The thing about sports is that nothing is ever guaranteed. Just ask the 2010-11 Miami Heat. Even the 2011 Phillies, with perhaps the best starting four pitchers ever put together on one team — Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt — have question marks.
But this year’s Lady Barons’ did have a good run … winning 22 out of 23 games certainly falls into that category for me. And they had a little bit of luck. They won in the State quarter-finals when the Lansdale Catholic right fielder air-mailed a throw over the catcher’s head, allowing Alexa Campbell to score the deciding run. They prevailed in the State semi-finals when the Valley View shortstop dropped Campbell’s bloop in shallow left, allowing Megan Ebersole to score the game’s only run.
And as my colleague Preston Whitcraft and I rolled up Route 322 toward State College last Friday, we thought that this group of Manheim Central girls was a team of destiny. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
Still, they have A LOT to be proud of and they should hold their heads high. When their game finally got underway in the early evening hours last Friday, they were the last L-L League team in any spring sport still standing. They had their first-ever District Three championship trophy in the showcase, a Section Three crown and a near-miss in the L-L League finals.
When all the interviews were done just outside of Penn State’s beautiful softball facility, I overheard Valley coach Carol Perroz walking toward their bus gleefully telling a friend, "This is something nobody can ever take away from me — a State championship."
Although Manheim Central didn’t get the result it wanted, they too have something that nobody can ever take away from them. They have the memories from a truly unforgettable season.
These were teenagers being role models and providing lessons for adults. Their nine wins in their final at-bats this season should teach us to never give up, always believe and hope for the best.
The story of the 2012 Manheim Central girls is yet to be written. Tune in for that in about 10 months. Again, nothing is guaranteed, but they bring back seven starters from their 26-win team this season.
Sadly, if the Lady Barons go on to win a State gold in the next year or two, Alexa Campbell, Sam Ginder and Victoria Farkus will no longer be in uniform for the MC girls.
But their legacy is that they are leaders and they have raised the bar to a great height.
Thanks for the incredible ride. More COLUMN, page B-6