Schuylkilkl Valley Lady Panthers see division title within their grasp

Photo by Ric Webb Schuylkill Valley's Amanda Morelli lays down a bunt.

Average. That’s the word that would best describe the Schuylkill Valley High School softball team over the past several years. They won the games they were supposed to win, but were seldom able to pull off the upset against the better teams.

But this year has been different. This year the Lady Panthers are in the midst of a five game winning streak and are sitting in second place in Division 2 of the Berks League with a record of 6-1. Their only loss came against first place Twin Valley, 5-1 on April 8.

The Raiders are in first place with a perfect 7-0 record and have outscored their opponnents this year in 15 games, 123-25. They are 15-0 overall.

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The Panthers have another shot at Twin Valley on Monday, April 29 in Elverson. It will be a big test for the Panthers to see just how far they have come this year.

Even if they are unable to beat the Raiders and get a piece of first, they have all but clinched a spot in the Berks League playoffs by finishing in second place. Berks Catholic and Hamburg are their closest competitors, tied for third place with a 3-4 league records. It’s doubtful either team will catch the Panthers.

“Our coaching staff is very happy with how the team has been playing and progressing since March,” said Schuylkill Valley Head Coach Jim Campbell. “We’re off to a good start because of how we have worked hard at practices together, and our team approach to games. Our pitching and defense have been solid, and we’ve had consistent and timely hitting to score runs.”

The pitching has been excellent for the Panthers. In 14 overall games this year, they have given up just 34 runs. That’s a little over two runs a game.

Meanwhile the offense has scored 81 runs in those 14 games, an average of 5.8 runs a game.

At this points making the playoffs would be great, but this team wants to win the division, and they believe they can do it.

“Absolutely,” If we continue to work hard and stay focused, we can win the division,” said Campbell. “We need to want it, we need to work to win it and we need to play hard and smart together - until the end.”

After Twin Valley, the Panthers have two more league games to play - one at home against Fleetwood, and one at Hamburg, both teams with losing records.