Red Lion building on foundation of 'family and team'
Check out some of the top softball players in the York-Adams league in 2017. Matt Allibone
Despite some tough situations, Red Lion softball coach Troy Eveler has seen a lot of positives this season.
It wasn’t just the close games, but the way his players conducted themselves, Eveler said, that showed him the Lions are moving in the right direction.
“Everything we preach about is family and team. This team has it, you can preach about it every year, this team does it,” he said. “Years past, I would pull a girl out, and that girl would have an attitude. These girls don’t.
“(Against Dallastown) I pulled some girls out and they were standing right there cheering on their teammates and the girl that went in for them. A huge part of turning anything around is team first.”
While the entire team has shown positives, perhaps no one exemplifies it more than Hailey Inguanti. The junior, who started at shortstop as a freshman, has become the ultimate team player, willing to play any position to help the team.
According to Eveler, Inguanti excels at every spot, too. She even earned the win from the pitcher’s circle in a 9-8 victory at South Western on Thursday, helping her own cause with a solo home run.
“I like to be able to go and do what I have to do as a team player,” Inguanti said. “If I have to fill a position that needs filled I can do it and not let my team down.”
The Lions haven't had much of a chance to settle in on their home field this season. Recent heavy rainstorms kept the Lions off their home field, and April 11 marked the first time the team could practice on dirt all season – although JV had the field.
On top of that, the Lions have been dealing with some tough injuries to key players.
Yet, they keep moving forward.
“What has worked well for us has been the girls, their attitude and way they come up,” Eveler said. “We had a talk that adversity makes you grow and these girls embraced that from the beginning.”
At 2-4 entering Monday's game against Northeastern, the Lions already have more wins this season than they recorded in the previous two seasons combined. But it's not easy to change the momentum.
“Every time we step on that field we have to overcome an obstacle of everyone thinking we are the same team from last year,” said junior left fielder Haley Taylor, who went 3-for-4 during the game at South Western.
“The one thing I take from these girls is they stay positive. They continue to fight,” added Eveler. “Our biggest opponent isn’t who are playing, it’s been the way the culture has been. Beating that and not letting that creep into their heads. ‘Here we go again’ has been our biggest opponent.”
Still, Red Lion managed to beat YAIAA Division I powerhouse Central York, 5-4, for the first time in many seasons back on April 3, an emotional win that gives the team something to feed off of.
Yet, even more important is the bond that is forming within this team.
“It was a great feeling playing against a good team and come out with a win. We have a lot of momentum we just need to connect some things,” Taylor said. “We are such a big family that I think that helps calm us down and overcome every obstacle that comes our way.”
“This has been the most enjoyable year of all three seasons of playing high school,” said Inguanti. “It’s been the most family oriented, the most bonding and most fun experience I have had.”