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All-Area Softball -- Richardson guides Devils to state title

June 12, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

For the second straight year, Greencastle-Antrim softball coach Jamie Richardson has guided the Blue Devils to unseen heights.

No wonder Richardson is The Herald-Mail's 2009 All-Area Softball Coach of the Year for the second straight year.

On Friday, Greencastle defeated Bethlehem Catholic 1-0 in nine innings for the PIAA Class AAA state title at Shippensburg University -- the first state title in the Blue Devils' history. That came on the heels of their second straight District 3-AAA championship.

"The biggest key to this run is the senior leadership and the influx of young players with the seniors," Richardson said. "What's making our program is we can move players in at younger ages, freshmen and sophomores, and what's neat about this is the younger kids see what the older kids are doing, see how hard they're working, and they go, 'Wow, if I want to play at that level, I need to work that hard.'"

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Seniors such as Herald-Mail All-Area Hitter of the Year Rochelle Christman, who hit .471 with 11 home runs, and All-Area First Team outfielder Meghin Palmer (.568, 26 runs, 22 steals) and All-Area Second Team outfielder Rachel Statler (.365, five doubles, three homers, 23 RBIs), help show the way for the underclassmen.

And the Blue Devils have their share of talented underclassmen, especially in the circle with freshman All-Area First Team pitcher Rachel Kline (11-1, 0.58 ERA) and sophomore All-Area Second Team pitcher Autumn Appleby (11-2, 1.39 ERA).

"The big thing that has helped us is we've really developed our JV program, and our ladies are just really dedicated," Richardson said. "The travel ball helps, and I look at the players on the varsity right now, almost all of them play travel ball. We have affiliations with four travel teams, the Heartbreakers, Tri-State Thunder, Mason-Dixon Blaze and PA Poison. It's because of their commitment and hard work that we're at where we're at today."

Richardson said continuity and consistency on the varsity coaching staff has been a big plus.

"I have had the same staff now for a while. Doug Main has been here five years and Tony Bobbitt has been with me for three and we haven't had a change of staff," Richardson said. "Those two have had big roles in this."

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