Ligonier Valley softball team reflects on successful season

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After two deep runs in the PIAA playoffs in the past three seasons, a well decorated and successful softball career came to an end for Ligonier Valley earlier this month.

Maddy Grimm's high school career came to a close June 6 after a 13-0 loss to Riverside in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals at Woodland Hills. The Rams were held to one-hit by Riverside's Kirsten Wilson.

Even though Grimm, who will attend Kent State next year, wasn't able to bring a state championship to Ligonier Valley (17-5), she and the rest of the Rams had a positive outlook on how the season ended.

“I thought we did pretty well this season,” Grimm said. “A lot of people underestimated us this year, but we were able to prove them wrong when we made it far in the state playoffs.”

Grimm, who had 33 hits and eight home runs, and the rest of the LV seniors were able to return the state quarterfinals after suffering a loss to District 4 Montgomery in the quarterfinals in 2010.

Coach Mark Zimmerman was also pleased with what his team accomplished this season after losing a lot of players to graduation.

“We are very pleased with how the team did this year. We thought we had a decent team coming into this season. But we had a lot of holes coming in,” Zimmerman said. “We aren't happy with the last game, but when you get to the state quarterfinals you have to be pleased.”

The most memorable moment for the Rams came during the District 6 championship game against Philipsburg-Osceola at Penn State, even though the game resulted in a 8-7 loss.

Grimm went 2 for 2, with a double, home run, two walks and scored two runs in the loss.

“I know personally the district championship game at Penn State was one of the most memorable games of the season. It was one of my best games of the year,” Grimm said. “It's better to lose when you know you left it all on the field. It's neat to play in a stadium like that and just an exciting moment.”

Zimmerman said it was a great opportunity to play at Penn State and a highlight of the season for the girls.

The Rams will lose starters Grimm, Jeanie Markosky, Jackie Berry, Breane Wallace, Courtney Lear and pitcher Hailey Umbaugh to graduation.

“Maddy is a really, really strong player. We are going to miss her,” Zimmerman said. “There are other girls that came in and chipped in. For the most part, they did a really good job.”

However, Zimmerman isn't short of talent returning. The Rams will still look for numerous juniors and sophomores to step up next year, including Rachel Wallace, Brittany Lynch and Hannah Yeskey.

“We are looking at a pretty big graduation this year. There are a couple nice kids coming up next year,” Zimmerman said. “The expectations and goals are always high. We will see where we go next year. But, we expect them to pick up where these guys left off.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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