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Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier Valley High School softball player Kailee Lear throws a pitch at a recent practice. Taken 3/11/2014 at Ligonier High School
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By Peter Turcik
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 3:03 p.m.

The Ligonier Valley High School softball team begins the 2014 season Friday when they play host to Saegertown High School at the Friendship Park field. Manager Mark Zimmerman said he would like the team to do as well as last year and perhaps progress further. This could prove to be a tall order given the Lady Rams' trip to the second round of the state championship tournament last season.

“We always set out to be as a good a team as we can be,” Zimmerman stated. “We try to be one of the best teams in the state. That never changes. We set the standard pretty high and we just try to keep it there.”

The Ligonier Rams have six seniors on the team this year: Courtney Frappier, Rachel Wallace, Abigail Salancy, Caitlin Michaels, Jiselle Bubin and Jamie Wynn. Juniors include Hannah Yeskey, Brittany Lynch and Meghan Horrell. The sophomores are Rebekah Pleskovitch, Kari Kuhn, Hannah Ellenberger, Kelly Kallman, Anne Michaels and Aurora Brown. The freshmen are Kailee Lear, Anny Adams, Nicole Tuk, Madison Henderson, Bailey Marsh and Catherine Cmar.

Zimmerman admitted that the team does not have the same kind of star power as last year. However, what the team has this year is depth, according to Zimmerman. He said the team is very united, and has 12 or 13 players that are interchangeable.

“I think we will have a team where we use a few more bodies maybe than we used in some other years; we may have more options that we can go to. We have some girls who can step in and hit, we have some girls who can step in and play defense and if we can interlock those at the right times, it will help us in certain situation.”

The team will rely on freshman Kailee Lear to lead the team from the pitcher's mound. Zimmerman said Lear has been playing in clinics since she was very young and he is very excited that she is finally coming into the high school softball scene.

“Kailee is going to lug a lot of the load for us on the pitcher's mound,” Zimmerman commented. “I think she is going to keep us in the ball games and if we can score some runs, I think it is going to work out.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Zimmerman said he also expects big seasons from seniors like Courtney Frappier, who he said has taken on the leadership role. Despite being hit hard by the losses of graduating seniors over the past several years, Zimmerman is confident in his team's abilities and that will prove that a different approach is not a bad thing.

“We've lost some high-end quality girls here the last couple of years, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to be a good team this year,” Zimmerman said.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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