YAIAA softball: Don't forget about Dover
While things are far from settled, we have a good sense of which YAIAA softball teams are contenders after three weeks of play. With that in mind, here's some observations from around the league.
All records are updated through Thursday's games.
Dover making push in Division II: The Eagles entered 2016 with big expectations, having brought back a number of key players from last season's Division II title-winning squad. And while they've looked strong so far, their performance has been overshadowed by undefeated Susquehannock.
After going 10-8 and finishing second in the division last season, the Warriors are 7-0 so far and look like a contender for the YAIAA title.
But don't forget about Dover at 5-2 (4-1 in Division II). With some of the league's top players in Natalie Cutright and Alyssa Lawton, Dover is right in the mix.
When the two teams meet for the first time Wednesday, the game could have title implications. Expect both squads to be prepared to play.
Littlestown making statement in Division III: Not even getting a new coach days before the season has slowed the Thunderbolts.
Henry Wardrop, who took over as Littlestown's softball coach last season, stepped down a few weeks ago for "personal reasons," according to athletic director and interim softball coach Jeff Laux. But under Laux's guidance, the Thunderbolts are 7-0 and sit atop Division III.
The Thunderbolts further proved their division dominance Thursday, handing division-rival York Suburban its first loss of the season. But while Littlestown is determined to win its second straight division title, it has its sights set on bigger goals this season.
"We want to go to states but our first goal is winning districts," Littlestown senior Kaitlin Yealy said.
Gettysburg making strides: The Warriors entered 2016 in somewhat of a rebuilding mode after losing star Madelyn Yannetti to graduation. The current Messiah College softball player was a four-year starter for Gettysburg and finished her career as the school's leader in multiple offensive and pitching categories.
While it hasn't been easy to replace her, the Warriors have managed to remain competitive in Division II. Gettysburg improved to 5-3 (3-2 Division II) on the season after beating Northeastern, 13-8, Thursday.
The Warriors have relied heavily on sophomore Shanna Martin, who has helped fill the void left by Yannetti in both the circle and at the plate. In the Warriors' 11-1 win over Hanover on Monday, Martin pitched a complete game and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Dallastown, Central York still the class of Division I: While there are still plenty of games left to be played, its hard to imagine any teams challenging Dallastown and Central York in Division I.
The defending champion Panthers are 7-0 (4-0 Division I), while the Wildcats are right there at 7-1 (5-1 Division I). The two teams will meet for the first time this season Wednesday.