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When Chris Skultety reflects on his first season as a softball coach, it's easy to hear a catch in his voice.

He just can't seem to say enough about his girls.

And it's not because the Chambersburg Lady Trojans had one of their best seasons in recent memories, or that they took him on a journey to the state semifinals. It's mostly just because he now has a new family, and he misses them.

"You know, it sucked that it ended because I miss being around them," Skultety said. "I miss having practice, I miss watching them grow and get better. I'm going to miss my seniors. I loved watching them all have so much fun. The smiles on their faces were priceless."

When he was first hired, Skultety had the tall task of restructuring a broken team. And he delivered. Chambersburg displayed team chemistry and sisterhood, and Skultety is the Public Opinion Softball Coach of the Year.

"I was the glue," Skultety said. "Any time a coach gets Coach of the Year it's because of his players. I didn't play any innings, hit any home runs, make any defensive plays. The players deserve all the credit - I'm just the person that glued them together."

Although he hadn't coached high school softball prior to this year, Skultety certainly had coaching experience. He coached travel ball at the youth level for several years, and also was an assistant when Greencastle-Antrim's baseball team went to the state final in 2000.

"This (Chambersburg) team actually reminded me so much of that 2000 baseball team," Skultety said. "The stuff that was happening was eerily similar. We had a very strong junior class, and it was my first year there, too."

The biggest difference for Skultety this year was adjusting to a group of high school girls - a group that was a bit disjointed upon his arrival. His main goal was stressing the importance of teamwork, pride and dedication.

"There's been talent in Chambersburg for years, but if you play as individuals, you're in trouble," Skultety said. "To these girls' credit, they came in with open arms and open ears. Them buying into being a team was the biggest accomplishment this season."

On the field, there were some darn good memories, too. But it was the thrilling, 10-inning victory over Penn Manor in the District 3 Class AAAA championship that Skultely won't soon forget.

And there was one other tidbit about the Trojans that's never far from his mind.

"One thing those girls can do almost as well as they play softball," Skultety said, "is put away some food. That was pretty impressive."

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