Sad news to pass on today. Northern Lebanon softball coach Ed Spittle died Saturday morning after a brief illness.
Spittle, 76, was a coaching legend in and around Lebanon County, coaching baseball and softball for more than 50 years at all levels, from youth leagues to a stop at Lebanon Valley College. He was in his second stint as coach at Northern Lebanon, having returned in 2017 after coaching the Vikings in the early 2000s.
He revived a program that had fallen on hard times, his arrival coinciding with an infusion of talented players — including his granddaughter Hanna Bashore — who formed a formidable opponent in the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Section Three.
Under his tutelage, the Vikings put together a 43-21 mark his first three seasons and made three appearances in the District Three Class 4A postseason, advancing to the semifinals in 2019. The lost season of 2020 was doubly painful as his veteran Vikings were primed to take the next step.
This season a youthful group came together in a hurry as the Vikings opened with six victories and grabbed first place in the section.
Our sympathies go out to Ed’s family and team, and the Northern Lebanon family.
What’s happening this week
One third of the way through the crossover portion of the league schedule and we’ve had a couple dandies thus far.
Lampeter-Strasburg kicked off the crossovers with a hard-fought 1-0 decision over Warwick. Meanwhile, Pequea Valley dealt Northern Lebanon its first loss of the year, 6-0, behind Olivia Ammon’s no-hitter.
In a slugfest, Columbia picked up its first victory of the season, 20-16 over Octorara. The Braves recovered next time out to pick up their first win, 4-3 over Lancaster Mennonite.
There has been some confusion as to whether the crossovers will count toward determining section champions. According to softball chairman Anthony Hall, unlike baseball, which is treating crossovers as “nonleague” contests, in softball the crossovers will count as league games.
As the league enters the first full week of crossovers some intriguing matchups are on deck.
On Monday, in Section One-Two action, L-S travels to Penn Manor in a battle of first-place teams. Pequea Valley, the Section Four leader, takes on Manheim Central under the lights in Manheim.
On Wednesday, in a Section Three-Four crossover, Donegal looks to keep pace with Northern Lebanon as the Indians journey to Kinzers to face Pequea Valley. In Section One-Two, L-S rolls out the welcome mat for Manheim Township as the Blue Streaks stay on the heels of Penn Manor.
Also in One-Two, McCaskey meets Lebanon, in Lebanon, as both squads seek their first win of the season.
Friday finds Township at Solanco and the Comets under the lights at Elizabethtown, while Lancaster Catholic, battling to keep Pequea Valley close, visits Garden Spot.
• Dave Byrne is an LNP | LancasterOnline correspondent who covers L-L softball. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @dbyrneman.