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Geibel softball players stay committed despite struggles with numbers

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Lori Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Geibel's Karly Judy (left) catches the ball while California's Rachel Wilkinson slides into second base during a non-WPIAL game Monday, April 8, 2013, at California. The Gators are playing games and practicing in the hopes of returning to the WPIAL for future seasons.

The past three high school softball seasons have been difficult ones for Geibel, but some of the school's athletes are making the best of a tough situation.

At the start of 2011 season, the Gators had intended on fielding a team to compete in Class A of the WPIAL.

However, the Gators were not able to field a complete squad and had to cancel their season.

The following year, the Gators were given the option to field a team, but would not be eligible for the 2012 playoffs. However, that season also was scrapped, and the team was also forced to sit out the entire 2013 season.

But that hasn't stopped a group of girls from playing softball for the Gators this season. This spring, enough girls showed interest in the sport, which allowed the school to put together a team.

That team has practiced at least four times a week and has played in several scrimmage-like games against WPIAL teams.

“We are scheduled for eight games,” Geibel coach Sunshine Bubarth said. “We had 21 girls to start the season. We're down to 17, but these girls are incredible and only three of them are seniors, so we'll have a good, upcoming team.”

The goal for the Gators is to return to the WPIAL as early as next season.

“These girls love to play softball, and we're hoping to get back to the WPIAL,” Bubarth said. “This is a young team, and we're definitely hoping that next year will be a drastic difference.”

Bubarth noted that many of the girls on the team are experienced players who have competed for travel teams.

She also pointed out the players don't necessarily worry too much about their status in the WPIAL. They're main focus is playing. So far, the team has played two games, losing to California and Jeannette.

“To them, they count,” Bubarth said. “WPIAL or non-WPIAL, these games count.”

In a sense, these games really do count when it comes to the future of the program.

“We're trying to get back (to the WPIAL), and it's important for all of us to practice and get better,” Geibel sophomore Karly Judy said.

Aside from playing for the future of the program, Bubarth also noted that the players compete for each other.

“They are so family-like,” Bubarth said. “They try hard. They are very dedicated. They love the game and they just want to play.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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