Dallastown softball team thrives on field while also serving its community off field

Dallastown's Macy Schaefer hugs her mother Debra Schaefer during Military Night before a game at Dallastown Monday, April 12, 2021. They were honoring Clark McWilliams, a family member who served in the Air Force and was a prisoner of war. Dallastown players wore special camouflage jersey's bearing the name of the service member they honored during the team's game against New Oxford. Bill Kalina photo

Much of the focus in high school athletics revolves around wins and losses.

Dallastown softball head coach Terry Choate isn’t opposed to that focus, but he certainly doesn’t feel like it should be the only focus.

Being good role models and strong pillars in the community are also areas that Choate wants his players to concentrate on.

The 2021 season may be just a few weeks old, but Choate has to be pleased on all counts already. After impressive victories over New Oxford and Central York this week, the Wildcats (6-1 overall) are atop the York-Adams Division I standings at 5-0.

The Wildcats are also doing quite a bit with community outreach. Having already completed a couple of youth camps over the winter, the Dallastown girls have participated in a Pink Out contest against Red Lion in addition to a Military Night event Monday against New Oxford.

“Obviously the Pink Out game happens every year,” Choate said of the event that raises funds for breast cancer awareness. “But I brought up the Military Night idea at a meeting with our (athletic director) and he thought it was a great idea.”

A love for service people: Honoring those who serve and have served in the military is near and dear to Choate's heart. He lost his brother while he was serving in the armed forces.

“I just wanted to honor and show respect for those who served our country,” Choate said. “All three of my brothers served in the military and I have a foster son that was in the military. So I have a lot of love for the military. We’re so blessed that we’re able to do this.”

Choate’s squad came up with the idea and design for the camouflaged uniform shirts they wore Monday afternoon against the Colonials.

Youth event next: While the team has done quite a bit already, they aren’t yet finished. The Wildcats will host a Youth Night event Saturday morning before their contest with Dover. Youth softball players from around area are encouraged to attend.

Like his fondness for the military, Choate is just as fond of growing the sport of softball.

“I’ve always been a part of the youth programs,” Choate said. “I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years at all different levels of the game. And the youth is a big part of it, as you want to give back to the community.”

Saturday’s event will be the third one the Dallastown girls have sponsored already in 2021.

“We already did two clinics here at Dallastown back in January and February and we let our girls run it,” Choate said. “And it’s important to give our girls the opportunity to give back to the community. We get them involved and we want them to make decisions.”

Excelling on the field: While the Wildcats have excelled with outreach off the field, they’ve also been the class of the division so far.

“We have eight or nine girls that came back from last year, so they kind of knew what to expect,” said Choate, who took over the program only to see his first year derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re in a good place right now.”

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