Manchester softball team wins PAC-7 for second consecutive year
NEW FRANKLIN — The Manchester softball team finished the 2012 season with a second straight league title — and plenty of hope for the future.
The team finished with a 22-5 overall record and an undefeated 14-0 mark in league play.
“Unfortunately, we got knocked out in the sectionals by [Archbishop] Hoban, 5-3,” said head coach Jim Morehart. “I thought we had a good year other than the tournament.”
This year’s team featured three seniors, led by staff ace Rachel Harbarger.
“She’s been our main starting pitcher for the last two years,” the coach said. “She’s a very good pitcher and she had a great year. She was 20-3, with five shutouts and 205 strikeouts this year.”
Harbarger was named the PAC-7 player of the year this season.
“She was undefeated (13-0) in the PAC-7 this year, and she was also 13-0 in the league last year,” Morehart said. “So she hasn’t lost a league game in over two years, which is pretty impressive.”
The team’s top defensive senior was centerfielder Kendra Mars.
“She’s a tremendous defensive player — just real solid out there,” the coach said. “She also had a great year at the plate. She hit .396 in the league. Kendra is a four-year starter — she played first base as a freshman, shortstop as a sophomore and then went to centerfield for her last two years.”
The team’s third senior was Lauren Mallory.
“Lauren was a four-year starter at second base and just a solid softball player,” the coach said. “It seems like she’s been there forever and she has done a nice job for us.”
On the days when Harbarger wasn’t on the mound, sophomore Brooke Horning took over.
“She was 2-2 this year and she did a nice job,” Morehart said. “She’s normally our third baseman. She hit .441 for the season.”
Next season, the coach said, Horning will compete with a few other pitchers, including Kate Mash, for the lead pitching role.
“Kate hit .436 for the season and had 19 doubles, which shattered our school record,” the coach said. “She’s a sophomore first baseman, but she also pitches as well.”
The team’s top hitter this year, Morehart stated, was sophomore shortstop Courtney Roth.
“She hit .506 overall and .543 in the league,” he said. “She had 28 RBIs and a total of 45 hits. In the league she had a slugging percentage of .739, which is pretty impressive.”
Roth, Horning, Mash and Harbarger were all named first-team all-league in the PAC-7, and Mars received honorable mention.
The team’s top freshman, the coach said, was catcher Kaylee Miller.
“She had a great year at the plate for a freshman,” he noted. “She had 28 RBIs and hit .381.”
Morehart was the head coach of the Manchester softball team from 2002 until last year, when Allyson Mobley took over the lead role. However, Mobley was unable to coach this season, and Morehart took charge again.
“Nothing really changed with the coaching because my assistant, Butch [Montabone], and I were still coaching [last year],” he said. “Basically, what had happened was I stepped down so she could be the head coach, and Butch and I were still there coaching. And when Allyson couldn’t coach this year because of some obligations with her kids and stuff, I ended up taking it back again this year.”
Morehart, who intends to coach again next season, said “the future is bright” for the Manchester softball team.
“We’re young. I have no juniors and three seniors. The rest are all sophomores and freshmen,” he said. “I have six starters coming back, so that’s a pretty nice nucleus of kids to start with. We averaged over seven runs a game and we had four 10th-graders hitting over .400 and one freshman who almost did. Next year, I expect to be even better.”
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