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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.