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Trojans girls are unlike past champs

June 17, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Like most coaches, Chambersburg softball coach Harvey Staver has difficulty comparing his teams from different years. But he knows this year's Trojans perhaps have something which even his state championship teams in 1994 and '97 did not.

"I knew the other two teams had tremendous talent," Staver said. "Somebody asked me before the 1997 season how far we could go, and I told him I didn't know for sure, but we could be very good.

"This team, it's a little different. We're playing on courage and character, plus our talent. They've achieved just like those teams have."

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Well, almost.

On Friday, this year's Trojans will have the opportunity to do what those other two teams did when Chambersburg (25-3) faces Shaler (16-5) at Robb Field at Shippensburg University for the PIAA Class AAA state title.

The game, originally scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., has been moved to 11 a.m. to accomodate fans who might also want to see the Chambersburg baseball team in its championship game in Harrisburg at 4 p.m.

This year's run through the state tournament - an often wild ride which included a come-from-behind 6-2 victory over Hazelton in a first-round, 13-inning thriller - stemmed from last year's first-round exit in districts.

"One of our statements this year was, 'Nobody remembers what your record was in the regular season,'" Staver said. "What you do in the playoffs is what people remember."

For sure, those who have followed Chambersburg's run will remember Rachelle Everhart.

The junior ace gave up two runs to Hazleton before getting an out, then retired 39 hitters without giving up another run to keep the Trojans alive. She escaped two bases-loaded jams in a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Pennsbury before shutting down a hot-hitting Parkland squad on five hits in a 3-0 semifinal victory.

In 27 innings in the state playoffs, Everhart has not allowed an earned run.

"It's been very courageous," Staver said. "I'm like the Parkland coach who said he can't believe they didn't score a run against us. Give her credit for making it happen."

Give credit to Chambersburg's balanced and opportunistic offense, too. Runs are never easy to come by at the state level - especially in Pennsylvania - but the Trojans' lineup, featuring seven hitters with better than a .320 average, has made it happen when needed.

The first six hitters in Chambersburg's order - Becky Brensinger (.368), Lindsay Hinton (.410), Melissa Swartz (.322), Emilly Swartz (.427), Lindsay Tritle (.347) and Everhart (.344) - all are dangerous, and designated hitter Ashley Rosenberry (.413) is as tough a No. 8 hitter as there is.

"We feel with our speed and our ability to hit the ball, we have a shot at getting some runs somehow," Staver said.

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