LCCC Softball Team Celebrates Record-Setting Season
published Tuesday, May 29, 2018
By Leanne Recla
The softball team’s season officially ended May 18, but Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Cougars have a lot to be proud of.
This season’s team is LCCC’s first to become District F and Region XIX Champions. The team advanced to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Rochester, Minn., and ended the double-elimination tournament in sixth place in the nation.
“I’m so proud to have been a part of this season,” said Lydia Danner, the team’s center-fielder. “It’s been amazing, and I look forward to seeing the program progress.”
The Cougars finished their season as the most successful softball team in LCCC’s history, with a 25-10 overall record. At the team’s first game of the national championship May 17, they earned their first-ever national tournament win against Monroe Community College in New York.
“It felt great, but we knew we had a much better team to face. We went from playing the No. 5 seed to playing No. 1,” said Mackenzie Guzy, the team’s shortstop.
The Cougars lost their next game against Herkimer College in New York - the No. 1 seed. The next day, they also fell to North Dakota State College of Science and Brookdale Community College, N.J., ending the team’s tournament run.
“The experience the team had over the last week is incredible,” said head coach Eric Kutteroff. “For a small-town community college, the team did great and we’re really grateful to everyone.”
This season was Kutteroff’s first with LCCC. An LCCC alumnus himself, he transferred to Kutztown University to earn his bachelor’s degree in education, and he has worked at Parkland School District for 24 years, seven of those years as a member of Parkland’s softball coaching staff.
“It was a memorable year at LCCC. The assistant coaches and all the athletes bought into the vision of us being the foundation for what we hope the program becomes for the future,” Kutteroff said. “We want this to be a place for them to play at a high level while saving some money by going to a community college.”
Kutteroff was named Region XIX’s Coach of the Year and he, along with assistant coaches Richard Sechler and Edward O’Dea, put in a lot of time to help the team be successful.
“The assistant coaches are just as much a part of the success as me. It’s like having three head coaches, not just one,” Kutteroff said. “We respect each other’s knowledge of the game and it’s a total team effort.”
The team also responded well to the trio’s coaching style, which is to create a family atmosphere that builds up the players and focuses on the positive.
“He always said, ‘I’m not going to yell at you, just give constructive criticism. We just move on after a mistake,’” said Danner, who was named Region XIX Player of the Year and Region XIX Tournament MVP, as well as to the First Team All-Region.
But Danner is just one of the standout athletes on this year’s team. Guzy was also named First Team All-Region, along with Bailey Pedersen and Shannon Gallagher. Emily Batman and Madison Mohr were named to the Second Team, and Pedersen was named the Region XIX Pitcher of the Year.
“We knew in the fall that the team would be good because of the returning players, but with a first-year coach, you just can't be sure. I give Coach Kutteroff a ton of credit,” said Andrew Johnson, director of athletics at LCCC. “He set his goals high from the first time we met and he achieved them. This team is the epitome of what you ask for in student athletes and I couldn't be prouder of them. It was a fun ride watching these ladies compete through rain, mud and even snow this season. I look forward to the future of LCCC Softball.”
After experiencing so much success this season, what does the team look forward to next year?
“Going back to Minnesota,” Guzy said with confidence.
For more information on athletics at LCCC, please contact Johnson at email@example.com