The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 2, 2013

Jon Gerardi's softball column: Valley is home to great pitching

Daily Item

---- — On Tuesday afternoon, I was covering the Warrior Run softball game at South Williamsport and, as many of you are aware, I tweet scoring updates between innings.

After five innings, the Defenders' Taylor Parker had a no-hitter going, which ultimately got broken up by a bunt single by South Williamsport's Rachel Floyd in South's final at-bat.

As I went to send a tweet, I saw a fellow sports writer tweet that Milton's Taylor Batman had a no-hitter going through four innings.

Two attempted no-no's in a single day? Impressive stuff, but it got me thinking and really, it isn't that surprising when you factor in just how many talented pitchers grace the Valley.

How many, you ask?

Well, just to name a few…-- Mifflinburg's Alli Lloyd (four one-hitters)

-- Warrior Run's Parker (two perfect games, four no-hitters, four one-hitters)

-- Southern Columbia's Mallory Tomaschik (one no-hitter)

-- Milton's Batman and freshman Dani Lincoln (Batman with a no-hitter, the duo with a combined no-hitter)

-- Lourdes' Charlee Rosini (2 one-hitters) and Peyton Klembara (no-hitter)

Through the first two months of the season now, there have been five different pitchers who have accounted for 12 one-hitters, seven pitchers who accounted for 10 no-hitters, and Parker herself already has two perfect games.

"I think the quality of talent is great in our area: Taylor Parker, (Williamsport's) Alexis (Bower) and Mallory Tomaschik, all of them and all the ones I haven't mentioned that I can't think of right now," Lloyd said with a laugh after Saturday's Williamsport Softball Tournament. "We have a lot of great pitchers in our area and I think it's one of the toughest areas in Pennsylvania. Central Pa. has great pitchers."

And it isn't just this batch of talented players, it's almost a revolving door of talented pitchers.

Before Tomaschik was in the circle for the Tigers, there was the talented Gabby Sabo in the mid-2000s.

Parker's making a run at taking Warrior Run's school strikeout record (791), a mark held by Laura Harris, who was in the circle in the early 2000s for the Defenders.

Mifflinburg is the best example of the nonstop talent carousel.

Before Lloyd, there was all-state pitcher Emily Crandell (970 career strikeouts), Jess Vonada before her -- who led Mifflinburg to a state title in 2004 -- and Lindsey Sampsell (2001 Daily Item Player of the Year) prior to that.

The Black Panthers had Kristi Weaver before Batman and Lincoln got into the circle. And prior to Weaver, there was 2009 Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year and four-time Daily Item Player of the Year Nicole Smith.

The Lady Ironmen have been led this year by Tara Fritz, but before her, there was 2012 second team Daily Item all-star pitcher Taryn Beaver.

When one graduates, the next kid is there to step up and continue to be successful.

"This area continuously improves from year to year. No matter who a team loses, they always seem to find someone good enough to replace them," Southern's Tomaschik said. "I just believe that the younger players who might not be playing now still continue to work hard and practice."

"They learn from the previous pitcher and work to improve. I think that the younger players from all teams in this area really step up when they're needed and get the job done," the Tigers' ace added.

So it comes as no surprise the success Valley pitchers are having this year.

Parker leads the way in strikeouts this year (145), followed by Tomaschik (115) and Alli Lloyd (80), based on statistics reported to The Daily Item.

In addition, 10 pitchers who have thrown at least three games this year have a winning record, with Parker, Tomaschik and Lloyd going a combined 30-7 so far this year.

Meanwhile, Batman and Lincoln have kept Milton in the playoff hunt while Rosini and Klembara have Lourdes in the district playoffs already.