NEWTOWN – For the current crop of Council Rock North softball players, the girls are playing for the first time under a second-year coach with John Engelhardt returning for his second season.
Engelhardt led the Lady Indians to a 12-2 finish in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference, one game behind league champion Neshaminy.
For centerfielder Sabrina Crane, who is headed to Bryant University, winning was fun.
“Last year was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had playing softball,” said Crane. “We really came together as a team.
“We just went out there to play and we did really well. It was fun winning.”
Crane also had interest in Iona, Saint Joseph’s and Bucknell but loved Bryant’s campus in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
“I just fell in love with the campus and all the coaches were amazing and my teammates,” said Crane. “I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else.”
“The campus and the facilities are beautiful; they’re top-notch.”
Though the Lady Bulldogs are graduating a couple outfielders in the spring, Crane feels getting on the field right away will be tough. That won’t stop her from trying, however.
“It’s going to be hard,” said Crane. “They have some (outfielders) coming in this recruiting class so I just have to work hard.
“It’s a goal.”
Before she heads off into the sunset, Crane and company have business to attend to on Swamp Road this spring.
Last season, Crane batted .444 with 11 doubles, 11 stolen bases and 22 runs scored. Returning alongside her are second baseman Madison Tomlinson, third baseman Lauren Begg, shortstop Taylor Briggs and catcher Taylor Amazeen, who has committed to Boston University.
Sophomore righthander Jenna Khantzian (Virginia Tech) takes over in the circle for Class of 2016 graduate Amanda Camp, who plays now at Penn State Altoona.
Sabrina says she’s takes her cues from those who have gone before her at North.
“I’ve learned something from each of the seniors that have graduated,” said Crane. “Each of them taught me something new about playing the game. Council Rock softball is an awesome program – we’re a really tight-knit team.”
Last season, Crane, who plays summer ball for Rock Gold Waye 18U, was named First Team All-SOL National Conference and second team all-state.
NOTES: Chris McDermott was the Lady Indians’ head coach in 2015 and before that Hollie Woodard guided the team for nine seasons.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North outfielder Sabrina Crane, seen here on National Signing Day flanked by her parents, recently committed to Bryant University softball. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)