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Delco Softball Preview: Sun Valley making strides under Rafferty’s guidance

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It’s impossible to say for sure that Pat Rafferty had something to do with the gradual improvement at Sun Valley last spring.

But it could be safe to assume.

The first-year varsity coach was asked to assume the position midway through the season, upon learning that former coach Brendan Smerigan abruptly resigned. The Vanguards, struggling for success, were in need of a new voice.

The Vanguards played well down the stretch under Rafferty’s watch, finishing 8-12 while missing the District One Class AAA playoffs by a fraction of a point. This year, one of Delco’s traditional softball powers looks for a return to form in a loaded Ches-Mont American Division.

Mackenzie Lewis, a junior shortstop,  and senior catcher Amber Michael are the stalwarts. Michael was an extra-base machine last spring, and Lewis provided top-of-the-order stability. Junior Bridget Thomas returns, while Madison Gutowiecz and Carly Williams are the Vanguards’ sophomore pitchers who gained valuable experience as freshmen.

“We have a very young team that will play hard and battle every game,” Rafferty said.

“We will no doubt have some growing pains, but the girls have worked hard all winter and are ready to go. Our goal is to make the AAA playoffs and have a record of over .500 in a very good Ches-Mont League.”

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