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Baseball and softball have a lot of similarities, but rarely does a player get to experience them firsthand.

Delone Catholic senior Shelbee Holcomb is one of those players, and her time spent playing baseball has helped define her success on the softball diamond.

"It was my dad's decision: He thought that the smaller ball would help with hitting and fielding, which it did," said Holcomb, who played baseball for two years from age 10 to 11. "There are a lot of similarities, but softball is a lot faster."

When she returned to softball at age 12, the time spent in baseball had a positive impact.

"It definitely helped me, but it was hard switching back to seeing the pitch come in underhand (in softball)," Holcomb said. "Seeing the ball come in from underhand compared to overhand is a big difference. But, overall, I think it benefited me."

Those lessons are continuing to pay dividends for Holcomb, a Mount St. Mary's recruit.

"I like how challenging the sport is," Holcomb said. "It's the one sport where if you only hit the ball three times out of 10, you're good. It's something you have to work at."

That's not to say Holcomb is satisfied with hitting .300. Last season, the shortstop was the state Class AA Player of the Year after batting .740 with 57 hits in 77 at-bats for the Squirettes.

But, even with all of the personal accolades, it was the 10-3 victory against Kutztown in the District 3 Class AA title game that stood out.

"I did well my sophomore and freshman year, but not nearly as well as I did last year, but winning districts (was the best part of the season)," Holcomb said.

A four-year player at the varsity level, Holcomb, who scored 50 runs and had 53 RBIs last season, has seen her game evolve.

"I have gotten physically stronger and have gotten mentally stronger," Holcomb said. "My mental game has strengthened over the years."

The Squirettes, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament last season, look to contend again this year.

"I say we are going to be pretty strong," Holcomb said.

The YAIAA first-team all-star is looking to repeat the success of last season.

"I'm just going to do my best and play to the best of my ability and see what happens," Holcomb said.

Defending champs

Division I: Central York

Division II: Dover

Division III: Littlestown

Division IV: Delone Catholic

YAIAA tournament: Central York

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