Loaded with six starters back from a 17-3 squad, the Ligonier Valley softball team was primed for another banner season in 2020. But the team’s March trip to Disney was canceled due to COVID-19, followed by the PIAA’s announcement that spring sports would be wiped out entirely ended Ligonier Valley senior catcher Kaylee Colt’s dreams of a strong campaign to conclude her scholastic career.
“I think we had a very, very solid team this year,” said Colt, who was on pace to earn her fourth letter on the softball diamond this spring. “We definitely could have went all the way. Our whole lineup was pretty much seniors this year. We wanted to kind of make the team an example of what Ligonier really was, and I think we had all the girls to do that.”
Ligonier Valley was scheduled to play three games during a five-day stretch beginning March 18 at the Disney Softball Spring Training tournament. The Rams were to face Urbana (Illinois), Brooks School (Massachusetts) and Elk Lake, a PIAA District 2 team.
The disappointment hit home for Colt, one of four seniors on the team who will play softball in college.
“At first, I was really upset because I was excited to be playing my senior year,” said Colt, who will study biology in the pre-veterinary track at Westminster College. “It was my last go around. I was super excited, I was ready for the year and I was preparing so much to really help out the team. For it to come to an end, that kind of put a bummer on everything.”
Ligonier Valley has amassed a 54-12 record over the past three seasons in softball, outscoring opponents by a 581-141 margin. The Rams never lost a Heritage Conference regular-season game over that span, claiming two league titles.
Colt, one of nine seniors on the softball roster, competed on the swimming team for a season and played on the Pittsburgh Nitro 18-Under Showcase travel softball squad. She hit .364 last spring with 11 of her 24 hits (nine doubles and two home runs) going for extra bases. The switch hitter, capable of slapping from the left side, compiled 23 RBIs and a .591 slugging percentage in 2019, while hitting .366 for her high school career as the trusted backstop.
“She started all four years for me,” Ligonier Valley softball coach Mark Zimmerman said of “45,” a nickname given to her to go along with her last name. “I think she played every position but pitcher and maybe second base at some point in her career. She hit the ball very well. She knew and understood the game very well. She really did an outstanding job back there (at catcher in 2019). She was poised to have a really big year this year.”
The daughter of Eric and Catherine Colt, of Bolivar, recalls her softball career with plenty of fondness.
“With the past girls that we played with, it always brings laughter,” Colt said. “We had so much fun on the bus rides going to games, blasting music and singing along. Everyone was getting along, and coach was singing with us. It was awesome. I think that a lot of the senior moments would have been very funny this year. We had a very funny group of girls.”