After a memorable junior season, Maelynn Leber wanted to find somewhere that felt like a home where she could continue her softball career.
The Eastern York High School rising senior found the school she was looking for after an unofficial visit last week, and it helped that the campus is only a little more than an hour from her hometown.
Leber verbally committed to Shippensburg University and credited the program’s family atmosphere and close proximity to her parents as the key factors in her decision.
“It’s the ideal distance,” Leber said. “My parents can come watch me play and I can go back and forth whenever I want, so it was the perfect place for me.”
The NCAA Division II program finished 25-22 overall a season ago, including a 9-7 mark in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Big junior year: Leber comes off a stellar season where she led Eastern York to a District 3 Class 4-A title with a 1.37 ERA and 128 strikeouts on the mound. She also batted .486 with six home runs and 32 RBIs. She helped Eastern to a 14-8 overall record, including the York-Adams Division II title.
Adding to her team’s success, Leber was named the Y-A D-II Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year in June. She was the only player in the league to earn both major honors from her division.
Eastern York coach Brad Rohrbaugh heaped praise upon Leber for how she has developed into a leader and became a player that every coach dreams of having on their roster.
“She puts in a lot of work,” Rohrbaugh said. “When somebody does the amount of work to get where she’s at, not just on game days and big games, but day in and day out, it’s really remarkable. They have a real talent coming to Shippensburg.”
Increased interest: The Shippensburg coaches had been in contact with her through email and text messages since last fall, but Leber said once the coaches came to see her play in travel tournaments this summer, their interest intensified.
When Leber made her visit to Shippensburg’s campus on July 8, the coaches showed her the dorm rooms and practice facilities before she was offered a scholarship in the coaches’ offices.
While she didn’t accept the offer right away, so she could discuss the decision with her parents, Leber was a big fan of the university and was thrilled to receive the offer.
“Everything felt right and I felt at home at the campus, which is really important to me,” Leber said. “I fell in love with everything they were selling to me and they have a good culture.”
The right fit: A big part of the team’s culture that intrigued Leber was how close the players on the team are. She said the players all hang out together, go on team dinners together and attend baseball and football games together.
The transition may be easier for Leber at Shippensburg because she already knows two of her future teammates. Taylor Radziewicz, a 2019 Red Lion graduate, will join the Raiders next season, and Taylor Myers, a rising senior at Chambersburg and Leber’s teammate for her travel softball team, Tri-State Thunder, is committed to join her the following season.
Leber said she talked to Myers before her visit to Shippensburg and that she was happy to continue playing with her travel teammate.
“It’s just an extra bonus that you get to play with people that you know,” Leber said. ‘We’ll help each other through the whole college experience.”
Going out strong: Now that she made her college choice, Leber was excited to be able to eliminate the stress of recruiting and decision making. With her focus back on the field, Leber looks forward to another strong season at Eastern York before beginning her career at Shippensburg.
“It’s definitely a big relief off of my shoulders,” Leber said. “I’m really happy to go into the high school season focusing on winning there and then eventually going on to college and winning there.”
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.