Ligonier Valley softball marvels at community support after special season ends in state finals

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Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 4:57 PM


UNIVERSITY PARK — It wasn’t the ending the Ligonier Valley softball team had hoped for, but the 2021 season was still memorable.

The Rams dropped a 1-0 decision to Line Mountain in the PIAA Class 2A championship game Thursday at Penn State University’s Beard Field. It was the first time Ligonier Valley played for the title.

“I expected the game to be close and it was,” Ligonier Valley coach Mark Zimmerman said. “It was going to be a classic pitchers’ duel and we came up short.

“But I want these girls to remember how great of a season it was. We had a successful season. It’s disappointing. We felt we were prepared and had a pretty good shot.”

The team was also shocked about the turnout of fans that traveled two hours to see the game.

“Softball wasn’t a huge sport in Ligonier. There was more focus on football, basketball and baseball like it is in most towns,” senior first baseman Kailey Johnston said. “But seeing everyone here, the diamond was decorated. There was red and black everywhere. People had stuff in their yards.

“Even when we were coming over the mountain, people were standing in their yards holding signs. It was so awesome to see these people care so much that we’ve done so well.”

Junior pitcher Maddie Griffin, who threw 11 no-hitters during the season, said she was shocked to see so many fans at the game.

“I wasn’t expecting to see all the people come because softball isn’t that popular,” Griffin said. “But seeing all the people was sort of surreal.”

Griffin said she definitely expects to see more fans in the stands next year.

She added that now that the team has reached the championship game once, the goal is to get back.

Zimmerman said the support was great.

“It was a big deal,” Zimmerman said. “Everyone in the town knows what we’re about. I can’t tell how many people have reached out to me and wished the girls well.

“I’m walking through Giant Eagle and people I don’t even know see the hat and the shirt and say, ‘Good luck, coach.’ They don’t know me from Adam.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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