Batman helps LCCC make history
The Lehigh Carbon Community College softball team did something this season that no other Cougar team had accomplished in the program’s history.
Plenty of local softball players were at the center of the memorable campaign.
LCCC became the first team from Pennsylvania to win the Region XIX Championship. The Cougars also advanced to the Division 3 NJCAA National Championship Tournament for the first time and won a game before their season came to a close in mid-May.
“My best memory from this season is just being the first team to do what we did,” said former Salisbury player Emily Batman. “No team from Pennsylvania or from Region 19 has ever gone to nationals and we were the first. What we did this year made our team have a special bond and friendships that nobody can take away from us.”
A year after Rowan County defeated LCCC in the same regional championship game, the Cougars reversed the tides this season. LCCC won the first two games of a best-of-three series to make history and advance to the national tournament.
The Cougars’ offense exploded for eight runs in the 8-5 Game 1 victory. Then, in a pitcher’s duel, Bailey Pedersen pitched a complete game shutout for her 14th win of the season and a 5-0 victory.
“I think the biggest accomplishment was just setting this high standard for LCCC,” Batman said. “Our head coach [Eric Kutteroff] sent us his 3-5 year plan and in it he said ‘It doesn’t start in 3-5 years. It starts now.’ And I think that our team has shown girls in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas that community college isn’t just community college anymore. You still get the same education, but you save money and have the chance to go to nationals for softball.”
After a 6-5 win against Monroe Community College in New York in the first round of nationals, the Cougars’ first ever win at that level, LCCC dropped its next three games.
The Cougars then fell to No. 1 seed Herkimer CCC from NY (5-1), No. 6 North Dakota SCS (5-1) and Brookdale CC (4-2) to place sixth in the country.
“I think for our first time at nationals, coming in sixth place was pretty good,” Batman said. “We definitely made a statement that we were supposed to be there because there wasn’t one game where we got blown away by the other team. I think placing sixth means it’s just the start for LCCC at nationals and now there’s room to improve.”
Batman was named to the All-Region Second Team. A total of six Cougars were named to the All-Region Team, led by Lydia Danner, the Region XIX Player of the Year and Region XIX Tournament MVP. Bailey Pedersen was named the Region XIX Pitcher of the Year.
“I think everyone on the team this year meshed really well,” Batman said. “When coach wanted to move someone to a different position, nobody ever complained. Or when he changed the lineup, we all knew it was for the benefit of our team and not just one person.”
LCCC finished 25-10 overall and 8-2 in conference play.