Northeast Times

Curtain call

After sev­en years of tour­na­ment ball and four years with the Bam­bies, Brit­tany Mee­han is walk­ing away from life on the dia­mond.

Even in the face of ad­versity, Brit­tany Mee­han ex­celled on the soft­ball field this sea­son. 

And in the pro­cess, she in­spired her Bam­bies team­mates to do the same. 

Things didn’t go ex­actly as planned this year for the St. Hubert High School soft­ball pro­gram. The three-time de­fend­ing Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on en­countered one road­b­lock after an­oth­er — over­com­ing in­jur­ies, in­ex­per­i­ence and some per­son­al hard­ships — and yet, some­how, the Bam­bies claimed an­oth­er ap­pear­ance in the PCL cham­pi­on­ship game. 

“Every­one had a tough year. I had a close friend die. Then our (two) coaches had par­ents pass away,” ex­plained Mee­han, a seni­or shortstop at St. Hubert. “So we had a very rough year, but we all came to­geth­er. I think it made us stronger.”

Des­pite the mis­for­tune, the Bam­bies came to­geth­er on the dia­mond. They went 15-6 over­all, in­clud­ing six shutouts, and outscored op­pon­ents by more than 70 runs.

Mee­han missed the first half of the sea­son, however, after tear­ing her left ham­string dur­ing pre­season ac­tion. “She was late start­ing so she was be­hind, but she battled hard,” St. Hubert coach Dave Schafer said of Mee­han’s re­cov­ery. “She’s out­stand­ing. She had a tough year. She was bat­tling a lot of things, but she led us on. She and Lisa Rob­bins were great cap­tains. They did a great job.”

Mee­han and Rob­bins were two of just four seni­ors on this year’s roster. The oth­ers, first base­man Taylor Flem­ing and out­field­er Jess Ibarra, helped provide vet­er­an lead­er­ship to this year’s youth­ful squad. 

“It was a good run,” said coach Schafer. “We came from nowhere. We were dead in the wa­ter in the be­gin­ning of the year, but they just stuck with it and stuck with it. I have to give the kids a lot of cred­it. They hung in there.”

The Bam­bies downed Arch­bish­op Ry­an, 8-2, in the Cath­ol­ic League semi­finals on May 24, claim­ing their fourth con­sec­ut­ive ap­pear­ance in the Cath­ol­ic League title bout. 

This time, however, the out­come wasn’t as joy­ous.

Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic de­feated the Bam­bies, 3-1, for the PCL title on May 26. It was a re­match of last year’s game — when St. Hubert won its third con­sec­ut­ive title. 

After five sco­re­less in­nings, the Bam­bies scored one run in the sixth when sopho­more Gabby DeLeo slapped an RBI single. The lead didn’t last long; in the bot­tom half of the in­ning, Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic moved ahead  with three runs, ba­sic­ally by be­ing pa­tient. 

St. Hubert sopho­more pitch­er Erica Ragazzo­ne walked six bat­ters dur­ing the in­ning.

“I think she ran out of gas. I think with the heat and everything — and she threw a lot of pitches — it just hit her,” ex­plained Schafer. “It’s just one of those things.”

Un­til the sixth, Ragazzo­ne was on point, strik­ing out eight bat­ters and al­low­ing only one hit. But she also walked 11 bat­ters.

Mee­han took a philo­soph­ic­al ap­proach to the game.

“Bad things hap­pen. It was a good game both ways, but I hon­estly thought we had it,” she said. “I wish it was us.

“In the be­gin­ning, no one thought we had a chance to get here,” she con­tin­ued. “So I’m glad that we showed every­one that we can ac­tu­ally do it and that no one messes with Hubert. We’ll be back next year and we will win.”

Next year, though, Mee­han will be cheer­ing from the bleach­ers. The loss brought more than St. Hubert’s sea­son to a close; it also ended Mee­han’s soft­ball ca­reer.

The four-year varsity play­er has been a reg­u­lar on the soft­ball field for most of her life. For the past sev­en years, she teamed up with the Phil­adelphia Spir­it tour­na­ment fast-pitch team, a highly com­pet­it­ive travel squad that com­petes year round. 

“I’ve been play­ing tour­na­ment soft­ball every single sum­mer, every day, and I just need a break,” said Mee­han, an All-Cath­ol­ic se­lec­tion. “I play year round. It nev­er stops. 

“I was ori­gin­ally plan­ning on play­ing soft­ball (in col­lege), but I de­cided I want to end my ca­reer with Hubert, so I’m not go­ing to play any­more,” she con­tin­ued. “I might try out sopho­more year, but right now, I just want to take a year off.”

Mee­han will at­tend East Strouds­burg Uni­versity next year. She has en­rolled with an un­de­cided ma­jor but plans to even­tu­ally be­come a nurse. 

“I’m go­ing in un­de­cided, but I know I want to work with can­cer kids. I want to be a nurse,” she said. “I love kids and I would love to help them get bet­ter.”

As Mee­han en­joys her fi­nal weeks at St. Hubert, she’ll soon walk away with eight varsity let­ters — four in soft­ball and four in field hockey — and her dip­loma. 

“We’re all best friends,” Mee­han said of her soft­ball and field hockey teams. “We’re all so close to each oth­er, and that’s what makes it so hard to let go.”  ull;•

Sports ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

In oth­er play­off ac­tion: 

Pott­s­grove, 6; Naz­areth Academy, 4: After claim­ing their fourth con­sec­ut­ive Cath­ol­ic Academies League cham­pi­on­ship on May 23 — de­feat­ing St. Basil, 4-2 — the Pan­das qual­i­fied for the state play­offs but lost to Pott­s­grove, 6-4, in the Dis­trict 1 Class AAA Tour­na­ment quarterfi­nals on May 27.

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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