Downingtown West's Casey Coker is definitely a softball player who puts the team first.
As a sophomore, Coker played second base for the Whippets. Last year, she mostly played third base. This season, first base is her spot.
"Wherever the coach puts me is fine," Coker said. "As long as I'm playing, I don't care where I'm playing."
Coker, a 5-foot-7 senior, has helped lead Downingtown West to an 11-1 overall record and a 9-0 mark in the Ches-Mont League. The Whippets' only setback was a 1-0 nonleague loss to North Penn. They are ranked No. 7 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer.
"We're playing really well together," Coker said. "If we continue to play this way, we have a chance of going pretty far again."
Last season, the Whippets went 20-7 overall. For the second straight season, they placed fourth in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoffs and advanced to the semifinal round of the state tournament before losing to District 7's Shaler.
Hitting out of the No. 3 hole, Coker is batting about .450 and has close to an .800 on-base percentage. In Thursday's 10-0, five-inning home win against West Chester Henderson, the 18-year-old went 2 for 2 with two runs and two RBIs.
"She hits hard, can hit to any part of the field," said Jeff Cellucci, Downingtown West's third-year coach.
Coker plays club softball for the Chester County Stars Blue squad. Her teammates include Downingtown West third baseman Kim Harrison and West Chester East centerfielder Erin MacNamee.
Coker's sister, Kelly, is a sophomore second baseman/outfielder for Downingtown West. She also plays for the school's basketball team.
"Last year was the first time we ever played together in softball," Casey Coker said. "I like it. It's a blast playing with my sister."
The Coker sisters likely inherited their athleticism from their parents. Chuck Coker played baseball at Dover High and the University of Delaware. Judy Coker was a swimmer at Padua Academy in Wilmington and now is a marathon runner.
Casey Coker is headed to Millersville, where she will play softball and major in secondary education. Erin Hepner, a former standout shortstop for Downingtown West, is an infielder/outfielder for the Marauders.
"The coach [Kathy Cummings] said I'll have an opportunity to fight for a starting spot next year," Coker said. "That's all I can ask for."
Lights-out pitching. Conwell-Egan fireballer Angel Bunner racked up 21 strikeouts in Thursday's 4-2, 12-inning win over Archbishop Ryan. The 21 K's set a single-game school record. Ashley Tobar, a 2004 graduate now playing at Emory University, struck out 19 in her senior year.
Bunner's counterpart, hard-throwing righthander Sara Michalowski, struck out 16 batters and had two of Ryan's three hits. Combined, the two threw 335 pitches, 259 for strikes.
Extra bases. Top-ranked Hatboro-Horsham (11-0) visits No. 3 Conwell-Egan (9-2) today at 3:30. . . . West Chester Henderson had six timely hits in Saturday's 6-4 upset of visiting West Chester East, 6-4. In the seventh inning, reliever Korin Reid pitched out of a bases-loaded jam. The Ches-Mont League rivals will square off again tomorrow. . . . Harry S Truman's Brittany Campbell, a pitcher and first baseman, will play at Neumann College. . . . Central Bucks South's Pam DelPizzo, headed to Elon, has a 3-1 pitching record. In last week's 7-2 win over Bensalem, she went 3 for 3 with a triple. . . . Megan Wakelee (.323 batting average), Katie Sload (.309) and Elena Fravel (.292) have sparked Downingtown East on offense. Pitcher Nicole Single has 14 K's in 21 innings.