MC tabs Lefever as softball coach

By on October 25, 2017
Gary Lefever

Gary Lefever

As a Manheim Central softball assistant for the past two seasons, Gary Lefever realized that he missed coaching.

Lefever was the skipper at Cocalico from 2013-14, but had to step aside due to circumstances involving his job. It was the end of the line, he thought at the time, after many years in the dugout, coaching “from young all the way up.”

But then things changed again at his company and Lefever accepted a position on MC coach Steve Ginder’s staff in 2016. And when Ginder resigned after the 2017 season, the 51-year-old applied for the opening.

This past Monday night, Lefever was approved by the Manheim Central school board to take over as the Lady Barons’ new head softball coach.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get back in (when Steve called),” he said, “but I took (the assistant’s position) and I realized right away that I wanted to get back into coaching, that I didn’t get out of it because it was my choice. I think (the MC head coaching job) is a good opportunity, so I’m excited about it.”

Lefever, who works for Little Washington Fabricators, inherits a squad that finished 10-6 L-L (10-10 overall) this past spring while finishing behind Section Three champ Donegal and Lampeter-Strasburg, who both later advanced to the District Three 5A semi-finals. The Lady Indians then went on to capture the State title.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Lady Barons were in the State finals, taking home the PIAA silver medal in 2011, and then advancing to the State semi-finals one year later.

Manheim Central graduated five seniors from 2017, including Sarah Good, who started the majority of the team’s games. But it brings back pitcher Maddie Walter, among others, and Lefever is optimistic about the coming season.

“We shall certainly challenge in the L-L Section Three this year, no doubt about it,” said Lefever, whose daughters Lauren and Lacey both played softball at Warwick. “Obviously, (Donegal and L-S) are very good programs, but with the talent of this team, I think this year our goal is to play at Garrett Park (in the L-L playoffs) at season’s end.”

The players who are currently seniors were sophomores when Lefever joined the program in 2016, working with the hitting, infielders and catchers.

“They’ve kinda been my specialty – I’ve always enjoyed coaching hitting and infield,” Lefever said. “That’s where they had a need.”

The past two seasons also allowed Lefever an opportunity to become acquainted with the players.

“I think there’s very good potential for this year’s team, there’s some real nice girls coming back,” he said, “and being there two years, I have a good rapport with them and I do think we’re on the rise.”

BJ Bollinger, a State track and field qualifier last spring, and Codi Bollinger will be among MC’s returnees in the spring of 2018, and the speed that they have in their game fits well with Lefever’s coaching style.

Asked to describe his philosophy, Lefever said, “I’m very big on fundamentals. I think how good or bad you end up being or how you perform, you can always fall back on fundamentals. I love the small ball game. Obviously, I enjoy the big hitters, but speed I would say (is important), fundamentals, and I like to see a very disciplined team.”

Most of all, he’s just excited to be back doing something he’s passionate about.

“I love coaching – that’s why I’m doing it,” Lefever said. “I love to teach the girls and I love to be part of that softball family.”

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