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Carbon team jells quickly

Jim Frantz knew the clock was ticking against him, but he was confident his task would reap dividends down the road.

The longtime Little League coach - who has piloted over 30 teams during his career - was faced with piecing together an All-Star team comprised of players from Towamensing Township and Jim Thorpe for this season’s District 18 Little League Senior Softball Tournament.

Frantz and his players soon realized that any inconveniences and adjustments that come with putting together a team on short notice were well worth it.

And as it turned out, Frantz and his players had no trouble coming together depsite a clock that afforded them very little preparation time.

“We only had about a month to get a team together,” said Frantz. “From what we have seen, it’s safe to say that they have jelled together pretty quickly. Each player has brought her own talent, and it has worked out well.

“They have been a very easy team to coach. They really want to be here.”

After capturing the District 18 title last week, the Carbon-based squad will host Stroudsburg at the Penn Forest Township Recreational Park Sunday at 5 p.m. in the first game of the best-of three Section 6 Tournament.

Game two will be in Stroudsburg Monday at 6 p.m., and the game three site on Tuesday (if necessary) will be determined by a coin flip.

The Carbon Senior Softball team (13-16 year-olds) has 13 girls on the roster - Julie Frantz, Cheyenne Louk, Cheyenne Rampulla, Dublyn Getch, Gloria Strohl, Kylie Sullivan, Leah Hartman, Macayla Lewis, Madi Thomas, Morgan Wayda, Olivia Holland, Sammy Wolfe, and Jocelyn Montefour - and they are coming off a pair of dominant wins in the district tourney, beating the Hazleton All-Stars 16-0, and 10-1.

It was the first combined district title for Carbon, although Towamensing has won previous district titles playing independently.

In the 16-0 win, Wolfe twirled a three-hitter, struck out six, and had three RBIs to support her own four-inning, mercy-rule shortened pitching effort. Getch scored three runs and added a pair of hits, while Frantz had two hits and scored two runs.

Wolfe also dominated on the mound in the 10-1 rout, as she scattered four hits and struck out eight. Again, she helped her own cause with four hits two runs scored, and three RBIs. Sullivan chipped in with a pair of RBIs, and Hartman had two hits and two runs scored in that game.

Through the practices and games, Frantz has stressed a team concept, not highlighting any of his team’s individual accomplishments.

“I don’t think it would be fair if I would,” said Frantz about keeping his team concept intact. “Everyone has contributed in their own way.”

Frantz likes the makeup of his team, especially on the mound.

“We have one dominant pitcher (Wolfe), and we have two backup pitchers if needed,” he said. “Our pitching has been good, so hopefully, we don’t have to go to our backups.

“We feel we have enough experience. A lot of these girls have played at a higher level before, and they have been involved in a number of game situations.”

Frantz has watched the growth of Little League softball over the past few years, and he believes it will continue on an upward spiral. A sectional championship by the Carbon team certainly will help its cause.

If Carbon advances, it would move to the state tournament that will be held July 11-17.

Whatever the outcome for him and the team, there have already been plenty of moments to cherish.

“They’re having fun and want to win,” Frantz said. “ It has been a lot of fun coaching them, and they’ll battle every game.”

Carbon Senior Softball team members gather around coach Jim Frantz. Carbon won the District 18 Little League title and opens Section 6 play on Sunday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO