Mark DeCarli
Mark DeCarli
Mark DeCarli will have some big shoes to fill when he takes over as the Greencastle-Antrim softball coach this spring.

The Blue Devils have a serious winning tradition.

They haven't had a losing record since 1993, and former coach Jamie Richardson, who was at the post for a full decade, retired with a 191-58 (.767) record. Greencastle even won a PIAA Class AA state championship under the former coach when it beat Bethlehem Catholic in 2009.

Although DeCarli will have his work cut out for him, his plans are to keep the winning ways alive in Greencastle.

"Coach Richardson did a great job building the program up, and my expectations for the season are just to keep the winning tradition going," DeCarli said. "I want to win the division and go on to win a state championship just like every softball coach's dream."

DeCarli was first introduced to the diamond when he played baseball in high school. He then played fall ball at Marywood University as a pitcher/shortstop.

DeCarli spent several years as an assistant coach at Keystone Junior College in the early 1990s. He then got a teaching degree and began work at Greencastle-Antrim. He recently started coaching softball for his daughter's traveling teams over the past four years.

"I just love the competitiveness, and I love coaching girls," DeCarli said. "It's different than coaching boys. It's not that the girls have more of a passion, but it's just different.


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His 10-year-old daughter Emma continues to play softball, and DeCarli hopes to one day coach her at the high school level.

Despite having only four returning starters, DeCarli has high hopes for the Blue Devils this season. He will return Public Opinion First Team all-star Mary Ward, who recently committed to play softball at Penn State University.

"I look at her for a lot of leadership this year," DeCarli said.

In addition to Ward, who played in centerfield, there are a number of seniors who may return to the Blue Devils. Tiffany Briggs, Whitley Mongan, Casey German, MacKenzie Gayman and Kristin Hoffman all played for Greencastle last season.

Although they have a lot returning, the Blue Devils also lost a number of impressive players to graduation. Jenna Crunkleton, Rachel Kline and Cassey Cordell were all P.O. First Team All-Stars, and they lost starting pitcher Amanda Wink, who was a First Teamer and had a 16-5 record last season.

DeCarli is expecting Kelsey Brewbaker, the junior varsity starter last year, to take over the mound.

"She did some spot varsity last year, and seeing her in open gyms this winter, she's looking very strong," DeCarli said. "I don't think (pitching) will be a big concern. I think we'll have a very strong offense backed by a solid defense."

With a strong background in the sport and a solid core returning, DeCarli said he does not plan to implement too many changes. He's going to stick to his fundamentals, find out the team's strengths and weaknesses and build upon that.

"I just plan to coach the girls like I know how to coach them," DeCarli said. "My coaching philosophy is just to make sure the girls play as a team. I want them to give 100 percent all the time win or lose and to leave it all on the field."

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Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or larbogast@publicopinionnews.com.