By RYAN VANDERSLOOT
Ever since the Susquehannock softball teams won back-to-back PIAA Class AAA state titles in 2007 and 2008, the caliber of play in the York-Adams League has been on a steady rise.
Players are regularly graduating with offers to continue to play at high-level NCAA Division I and Division II programs.
Such is the case again this year after the York-Adams League coaches announced their players of the year and all-star teams.
In tribute to all of the talent across the league, each division honored two girls for the player-of-the-year awards.
Here’s a look at each player.
Sam Hartman, Dallastown, catcher: The Dallastown senior finished her high school career in style, leading the Wildcats to the Division I title as well as their first-ever York-Adams League title. The Dallastown catcher batted .466 for the season. She also drove in 35 runs, scored 24 runs and bashed 11 doubles, three triples and four homers, while slugging .519 with an on-base percentage of .863.
“I am most impressed with Sam’s intensity, intelligence, fierce competitive nature and her work ethic,” Dallastown coach Jeff Deardorff said. “Sam works on her softball skills year ’round. She plays high school ball in the spring, travel ball in the summer and fall and works out in the batting cages and catches numerous pitchers in the winter. Sam has exceptional leadership qualities and was our ‘field general’. She was a great role model for the younger girls on our team. They looked up to her for leadership and guidance.”
Perhaps Hartman’s best characteristic is that her game seems to elevate with the level of competition. In three of her team’s biggest games of the season — against Susquehannock, Central York and Delone Catholic — Hartman finished with seven hits in eight at-bats.
“Sam always looked forward to playing the best teams,” Deardorff said. “She loved the challenge and always seemed to have some of her best performances against the top teams in the league. For example, against Susquehannock she was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run, vs. Central she was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs and against Delone Catholic in the playoffs she was 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs.”
Hartman is also quite impressive in the classroom. She earned an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she will continue her softball career next year.
Taylor Rohrbaugh, Central York, pitcher: Already a two-time Player of the Year for the Panthers, Rohrbaugh closed out her high school career by making it a three-peat. The right-hander recorded a 13-2 record on the mound for Central while compiling a miniscule 0.44 ERA. She fanned 128 and only walked 22.
A strong work ethic and desire to get better every day are some of the things that have made Rohrbaugh, who led the Panthers to the District 3-AAAA quarterfinals, so special.
“Taylor is a great young lady that is dedicated to her craft,” Panthers coach Shane Walker said. “She works incredibly hard all year ’round. In fact, after team practice is over it is not uncommon to continue to see her practicing her pitching, tee work and other skills.”
All of the hard work that Rohrbaugh put into her training inevitably trickles down to her teammates, who have to work hard to keep up with the Central standout.
“Taylor worked over the offseason to get in the best shape of her high school career,” Walker said. “She was a leader for team offseason workouts and that work ethic will serve her well as she moves to the next level. Additionally, she worked with our youth program in open gyms and pitching lessons. Those are the attributes you want players to have to help keep (this) program strong.”
The LaSalle University recruit also did some damage at the plate, where she hit .352 for the season.
Mallory Lebo, Susquehannock, center fielder: Perhaps one of the fastest players in the York-Adams League according to her coach, Don Mercadante, the Susquehannock leadoff hitter helped her team to the Division II title.
“Mallory has outstanding speed and quickness both at the plate and in the field,” Mercadante said. “Her ability to run bases and track down balls in center field is fun to watch. If she ran track, she’d be among the top sprinters in the county.”
For the season the Warrior sophomore batted .437 with four doubles, two triples, 19 runs scored, 12 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
The improvement in those numbers — especially the extra-base hits — came as a result of Lebo’s desire to improve her play.
“Mallory is right-handed but learned to bunt and slap from the left side this year to be more versatile,” Mercadante said. “As a freshman last year, she batted .474 with 27 hits, all of which were singles. When her first double bounced against the outfield fence we realized how far she had come in such a short time.”
Haley Norton, Spring Grove, center fielder: The Rocket junior, who shared Player of the Year honors a year ago, batted .446 with four doubles, three triples and four homers for the season. She scored 23 times and drove in 20 while stealing seven bases to lead Spring Grove to a second-place finish in Division II.
A lot of those gaudy numbers came late in the season, when Norton found her groove at the plate.
“Toward the end of the season she started to relax, she stopped pressing and actually became a better player,” Spring Grove coach Mark Hull said. “In her last five games she went 11-for-18, had eight RBIs, two doubles, a triple and two home runs.”
And not unlike the other player-of-the-year winners, Norton’s push to improve her performance rubbed off on her teammates.
“She works hard and puts everything into the game,” Hull said. “She is very hard on herself when she is struggling, but she is always hustling and trying to get the most out of herself and her teammates.”
Kelsie Weaver, West York, catcher: A catcher for the Bulldogs, Weaver batted .456, hit two home runs, three doubles and a triple, drove in 21 runs and scored 19 runs. She also slugged at a .650 clip and compiled a .522 on-base percentage.
What impressed West York coach Chris Ilyes most about his catcher was her work ethic.
“Kelsie is one of those players that works hard every day to get better” Ilyes said of the junior. “I pushed her all season to get faster on different aspects of catching and she responded each and every day. She has an attitude every coach wants. You tell her once on what you want and how to go about doing it and she just goes and gets it done and works until she gets it right.”
Such was the case for Weaver, who admitted to her coach that she had issues making contact with pitches over the outside corner of the plate.
“At the beginning of the season I asked each player if there was one pitch location that they struggled with the most and Kelsie told me she just can’t hit outside pitching,” Ilyes said. “We worked on outside pitches every day and each day she got more comfortable hitting outside, hitting the ball harder each time. As the games went on, when she hit an outside pitch she would have a big smile on her face and say ‘Coach I hit that outside pitch.’ By the end of season I was hoping teams would pitch her outside because she was drilling them.”
Julia D’Arrigo, Kennard-Dale, pitcher: The Division III Pitcher of the Year last season, D’Arrigo repeated after another banner season for the division champion Rams. The right-hander finished her senior campaign with a 12-5 record with an ERA of 3.44 while fanning 120.
“Julia has always put our team first ahead of her personal goals,” K-D coach Gregg Coulton said. “She truly loves the game of softball and has achieved great success through hard work and dedication to the game.”
Not exclusively a standout on the mound, the right-handed hitting D’Arrigo showed she can rake it at the plate. She batted .460 with two home runs and scored 24 runs.
For all of D’Arrigo’s exploits on the field, it was that team-first mentality that struck Coulton the most.
“For the last six games of our season and through District 3-AAA playoffs, Julia played through a back injury. She had clearance from her doctor to play and pitch. But when I questioned her about her pain and effectiveness, she suggested using our second pitcher. She felt we would be a better team with Alexis Valentine in the circle. This says it all.”
The K-D standout will continue her career next year at Lancaster Bible College.
Carrie Fix, York Catholic, shortstop/pitcher: The York Catholic senior put up monster numbers with the bat in her final high school season. The Messiah-bound shortstop/pitcher hit .737 with seven homers, 25 RBIs and a .941 on-base percentage. On the mound, Fix fanned 120 over 63 innings.
“She always knew her batting average from Day 1,” Irish coach Gary Fissel said. “She hit with power and average. Then she would pitch and strike out the side. I’m thinking ‘wow it takes a lot of focus to do one or the other and she was focused on both sides of the lines.’ This is something not many people can say on a professional level, let alone at the (high school) level.”
Perhaps just as important as her impressive numbers was Fix’s leadership role on what was a fairly inexperienced York Catholic squad.
“After the 2013 season we lost six starters,” Fissel said. “Going into the 2014 season we had six players that sat on the bench last year and three more girls who never played the game before. Carrie’s leadership to help motivate, coach and take these girls under her wing and make them better players, I feel, made her better as well. Maybe it was a way to help take pressure off of herself. The unbelievable season she had was the result of her selfless acts of supporting and helping to make everyone around her better.”
Shelbee Holcomb, Delone Catholic, shortstop: The Delone shortstop hit .615 with six homers, four doubles, four triples, 26 runs scored, eight stolen bases and 29 RBIs to help lead her team to the District 3-AA title contest and the PIAA quarterfinals.
What impressed Delone coach Don Smith the most was Holcomb’s ability to come through in big moments.
“Her ability to hit in clutch situations,” he said. “Twice during the year she tied games with base hits with two outs in the seventh inning.”
Another attribute of Holcomb’s was her ability to make contact.
“She is very difficult to strike out,” Smith said of his sophomore. “In fact she didn’t strike out all year.”
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.
YORK-ADAMS LEAGUE SOFTBALL COACHES ALL-STAR TEAMS
Player of the Year: Sam Hartman, Dallastown, catcher, senior.
Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Rohrbaugh, Central York, senior.
Coach of the Year: Jeff Deardorff, Dallastown.
Kirsten Hertzog, South Western, second base, senior.
Misty Montgomery, Red Lion, catcher, junior.
Megan Chapman, Red Lion, shortstop, senior.
Kayla Merriman, Dallastown, pitcher/first base, senior.
Ashley Werner, Dallastown, left field, senior.
Haylee Anders, Dallastown, third base, junior.
Lyndee Anders, Dallastown, second base, freshman.
Mel Grant, Dallastown, right field, sophomore.
Madisyn Johnson, Dallastown, center field, sophomore.
Ally Dziwis, Central York, catcher, senior.
Kyla Caruso, Central York, shortstop, junior.
Kelsey Wisner, Central York, third base, junior.
Angie Delise, Central York, center field, senior.
Alison Posey, Red Lion, outfield, senior.
Madison Smith, New Oxford, shortstop/catcher, freshman.
Cali Bailey, New Oxford, first base, sophomore.
Kylie Toomey, South Western, pitcher, sophomore.
Katie Shultz, Red Lion, pitcher, senior.
Taylor Gould, Red Lion, senior.
Kayla Resh, Central York, outfield/pitcher, junior.
Kelsey Shifflett, Central York, right field, junior.
Maggie Noll, Dallastown, shortstop, sophomore.
Kayla Flemmens, Dallastown, center field, sophomore.
Danielle Ludwig, Dallastown, first base/outfield, sophomore.
Co-Players of the Year: Mallory Lebo, Susquehannock, center field, sophomore, and Haley Norton, Spring Grove, center field, junior.
Coach of the Year: David Turybury, York Suburban.
Ally Sweitzer, Northeastern, pitcher, junior.
Emmy Turybury, York Suburban, catcher, junior.
Brooke Day, York Suburban, junior.
Maddy Staub, Susquehannock, third base, sophomore.
Sara Lynch, Susquehannock, pitcher, senior.
Megan Rogers, Susquehannock, first base, senior.
Jenna Jacoby, Spring Grove, pitcher, senior.
Caraline Cornman, Spring Grove, catcher, freshman.
Natalie Cutright, Dover, shortstop, sophomore.
Mecaela Heffley, Dover, left field, senior.
Lily Yoakum, Susquehannock, catcher, sophomore.
Madi Shockey, Susquehannock, second base, junior.
Lexi Gohn, Dover, pitcher, junior.
Karsyn Blauser, Dover, catcher, junior.
Olivia Etcheson, York Suburban, pitcher, sophomore.
Sara Golden, York Suburban, junior.
Alex Botts, Spring Grove, right field, junior.
Julie Wivell, Spring Grove, utility, freshman.
Kayla Jordan, Northeastern.
Maddie Renard, Northeastern, pitcher.
Player of the Year: Kelsie Weaver, West York, catcher, junior.
Pitcher of the Year: Julia D’Arrigo, Kennard-Dale, senior.
Coach of the Year: Chris Ilyes, West York.
McKenzie Summers, Littlestown, pitcher, sophomore.
Katlin Yealy, Littlestown, shortstop, sophomore.
Emily Lanahan, Littlestown, catcher/left field, sophomore.
Rhiannon McGlone, Kennard-Dale, shortstop, junior.
Kaila Beach, Kennard-Dale, third base, sophomore.
Sara Driggers, Kennard-Dale, catcher, senior.
Kayla Michael, West York, pitcher/shortstop, junior.
Keara Hepler, West York, third base, junior.
Jossalin Shipley, West York, pitcher/shortstop, sophomore.
Lauren Reichard, Eastern York, shortstop, junior.
Mariah Miller, Eastern York, third base, senior.
Sierra Arnold, Eastern York, pitcher/left field, senior.
Kaitlynn Sollenberger, Eastern York, first base, senior.
Morgan Williams, Bermudian Springs, catcher, sophomore.
MacKenzie Farley, Bermudian Springs, shortstop, sophomore.
Shelby Dews, Littlestown, sophomore.
Caitlyn Price, Littlestown, senior.
Kelsey Dews, Littlestown, sophomore.
Sheyenne White, Littlestown, senior.
Alexis Valentine, Kennard-Dale, pitcher/left, sophomore.
Nicole McCleary, Kennard-Dale, center field, sophomore.
Claire Flohr, West York, first base, junior.
Sarah Godfrey, West York, second base, junior.
Alison Ross, West York, second base, junior.
Gabrielle Ilyes, West York, pitcher/left field, freshman.
Erin Kalke, Eastern York, catcher, senior.
Anna Arnsberger, Eastern York, center field, junior.
Co-Players of the Year: Carrie Fix, York Catholic, pitcher, senior, and Shelbee Holcomb, Delone Catholic, shortstop, sophomore.
Pitcher of the Year: Carrie Fix, York Catholic, senior.
Coach of the Year: Don Smith, Delone Catholic.
Deanna Laughman, Delone Catholic, third base, senior.
Cassie Rickrode, Delone Catholic, pitcher, sophomore.
Katie Laughman, Delone Catholic, second base, sophomore.
Lauren Smith, Hanover, third base, junior.
Emily Albright, Hanover, catcher, junior.
Maddie Wenk, Biglerville, shortstop, junior.
Sam Starner, Biglerville, third base, senior.
Kaitlin Barron, Fairfield, catcher, junior.
Megan Leckemby, Fairfield, outfield, junior.
Nicole Kinjerski, Fairfield, pitcher, senior.
Shayna Rider, Delone Catholic, outfield, junior.
Lauryn King, Delone Catholic, catcher, freshman.
Mikayla McCleaf, Delone Catholic, outfield, freshman.
Lindsay McWilliams, York Tech, pitcher, sophomore.
Helayna Stanko, Biglerville, outfield, sophomore.
Liz Lynch, York Catholic, outfield, junior.
Grayson Capp, Hanover, outfield, sophomore.
Kelsey Fissel, York Catholic, outfield, junior.
Ashley Small, Fairfield, infield, senior.