Slattery pens fabulous final chapter at Daniel Boone, earns Mercury All-Area Player of the Year for third time

Watching Bekah Slattery stand victim to a strike three call in Daniel Boone’s loss in the PIAA-AAAA semifinals was reading the last words of a novel before closing the back cover.

However, like the greatest novels, the last chapter fades from mind. The body of the story was too unforgettable.

In a career that was already on the cusp of legendary, Daniel Boone’s Slattery proved that only she had the power to add to an already brimming résumé.

The result: a senior season that will be remembered by Daniel Boone faithful and the close of a chapter regarding arguably the most dominant pitcher the Mercury area has seen.

Slattery’s senior season was a one-up of her prior two, recording a school-best 330 strikeouts in leading her team to the PIAA playoffs for the second time in three years. Her 0.362 ERA was tops among the area and ranked among the Top 3 in the state as she becomes the Mercury All-Area Softball Player of the Year for the third straight year.

“I knew what my accolades were last year. I just wanted to try and build on that, beat those records for sure. I wanted to beat every record, which I think I came close to doing,’ Slattery said. “I wanted to just end with a bang with it being my senior year.’

Slattery’s career follows the same lineage as former Blazer pitcher Katie Erb, who won the Player of the Year award twice in her career. Between the two aces, the All-Area POY award has been bestowed to a Daniel Boone player for the past five seasons.

“Just being able to say that I finished my Daniel Boone career out so well and received this award for the third straight year is an honor,’ Slattery said. “I guess you can say that I did my school proud, but for me personally it’s just another accomplishment that I am really proud of.

“I definitely thought that if I pushed myself hard enough that I would definitely surpass all my records that I set before, which I did. I wanted this year to be my best year at Boone and it was that, I thought. I just wanted to go even farther than anyone has gone before. That was the goal and I’m glad that I met it.’

Beating the records she had already set never seemed out of the question in Slattery’s mind. It wasn’t a matter of if she broke them, it was a matter of when.

The left-handed ace had racked up a 36-5 record in her first two seasons in the circle, highlighted by a 22-2 record with a 0.27 ERA and a school-record 281 strikeouts in her junior season, all while earning All-State Co-Player of the Year honors along with Avon Grove’s Maggie Balint.

Her senior year, she upped her record strikeout total by nearly 50 as Slattery struck out 330 compared to only 18 walks and finished with 923 for her career. Equally impressive at the plate, her .595 batting average and .861 slugging percentage helped the Blazers returned to the PIAA Championships after a year layoff and advanced one game farther than they did in Slattery’s debut season in the circle in 2013. It was a season so superb Slattery wasn’t made to share Pa. Player of the Year honors. It was all hers.

“I wanted to end my senior year in a way that would create a lot of memories, which I think definitely happened. From Williamsport to going to states, it was a memorable year,’ Slattery said.

Her year began by dominating the Williamsport tournament where she recorded 52 of the Blazers’ 61 outs via strikeout. She also went a combined 7-for-11 with two doubles and a home run as the Blazers blazed through the tournament outscoring their opposition 19-0.

A 10-0 mark in Berks Division I play followed. And a berth into the county playoffs and district final stood as a direct reflection of a team that scored 169 runs and only allowed 37.

All because of the artistry Slattery displayed in the circle.

The power lefty registered 19 games with double-digit strikeout totals, striking out a season-best 22 in a victory over Pottsville to open the season. That was followed with a 20-strikeout performance against Union Endicott, an 18-strikeout affair against Williamsport and a 17-strikeout gem against Governor Mifflin.

She struck out 12 and scattered five hits as the Blazers avenged their loss to Cumberland Valley in the District 3-AAAA playoffs a season prior, earning a trip to the PIAA-AAAA playoffs with a 5-3 victory. In the PIAA playoffs she was equally dominant, striking out 11 in Boone’s opening-round win against Hazleton before striking out 10 in a win over Penn Manor in the quarterfinals, all before falling to eventual state-champion Parkland in the PIAA semifinals.

“I remember when we lost the county game (3-1 loss to Twin Valley), I thought to myself, ‘ Well, this is kind of like sophomore year all over again.’ We went to the district championship that year and lost and then advanced to states. So when that happened, I thought that we would be able to do the same thing,’ Slattery said. “We did that and then even went a game farther than before. It was a good way to go out and close my high school career.

“A part of me will always look back and say I wish we could have went farther my senior season. We had the heart for sure, and as cliche as that sounds, we had a great group of girls and I’m going to miss them.’

Her college career at Lock Haven awaits, as Slattery admitted to be excited ever since she gave her verbal commitment to the Bald Eagles during her junior season. Following in the footsteps of Erb who also went to a PSAC school, West Chester University, she’ll join a team that finished 2015 with a 15-27 overall record and are two years removed from appearing in the NCAA Atlantic Region 1 playoffs.

“Since I gave my verbal to Lock Haven my junior year, I was looking forward to that and I couldn’t wait,’ Slattery said. “I would be in constant communication with Coach (Kelly) Shannon, practically telling her every day that I couldn’t wait to come up. She thought I was crazy, but I’m just so excited to start that new chapter in my career and give them all that I’ve got.

“Whenever my move in date is, I’m going to be so excited that I might forget to cry or whatever you do when you tell your parents goodbye. I’ll be counting down the days to my first practice because the girls there are just so into the game. I think they’re just as much in love with the game as I am so they’re going to be working just as hard as me and we’re all going to put in the time and hopefully crack out a good run.’

Whether that run will be as good as the one with her donning the baby blue and navy of Daniel Boone or not will never be out of the question.

Like a true artist, the pen is in her hand.

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