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Jun. 17—THROOP — They wouldn’t be here without her.

It’s not just Lindsey Jason’s two clutch homers that helped Mid Valley reach Friday’s PIAA Class 3A softball final.

The all-state shortstop as a sophomore, now playing her final game for the Spartanettes, is the anchor upon which the team’s fortunes turned more than once on the road to Penn State’s Beard Field, where the Spartanettes will face WPIAL champ Mount Pleasant at 1:30 p.m.

“She’s not a rah-rah type of leader, but she leads by example,” Mid Valley head coach Mike Piercy said. “And you know I think the kids look to her. She’s a senior, she’s won a district title before, she’s played in state games before.

“We’ve had kids like that through the years. When we win a game or win a championship, we look for juniors and seniors to show younger kids how we expect them to act on the field, off the field. She just does a great job of being the type of player that we want and showing our younger kids what’s expected of them.”

Standout pitcher and slugger Maranda Runco takes her cues from Jason, and the sophomore sees what it takes to fit into a leadership role.

“If there are any problems on the team, you can always go to her,” Runco said. “She’ll do anything to make this a good, healthy team.”

That’s a lesson Jason learned from watching her sister, fellow all-stater Danielle, who graduated two years ago and was part of Mid Valley’s previously best team, one that reached the state semifinals in 2017.

“I moreso learned about mindset from Danielle because we did totally opposite things during the game,” said Lindsey, whose sister played second. “She always made sure I was motivated and I learned how to keep going when you mess up, how to forget about it and play the game.”

It was a double-play combination that featured sisters who were both all-state in the same year.

“I guess not a lot of sisters can say that they both made all-state, right?” Lindsey said. “That’s pretty rare. So it’s pretty cool and our family is really proud of us.”

It’s not just the family that is enjoying another run in the state playoffs. The school and the community come out to back the team, something Lindsey relishes, but that may not be as crazy as the new-found recognition for players.

“I was at Dunkin Donuts drive-thru (Tuesday) and the worker, who I didn’t know, and I wasn’t wearing anything softball related, congratulated me on where our team was, which was insane,” Lindsey said. “I felt like a celebrity, but everyone is involved, whether they’re into softball or not.”

Certainly, she won’t allow interactions like that to affect her play, or the intangibles Piercy loves, like taking players under her wing.

“When playoffs came around, she’s just taking over on the field, and also in the dugout as a leader for the younger kids,” Piercy said. “It’s like a switch got flipped with her. Even though she’s a quiet kid, she’s the one who calls the team huddle.

“I don’t remember if it was Holy Redeemer or North Schuylkill. She called the team together and said we’re not losing this game. We’re gonna go and do this.”

In both those games, she took matters into her own hands.

After third baseman Emma Kobylanski, one of the players Lindsey has nurtured, hit a game-tying homer in the fifth inning against Holy Redeemer, Jason followed two batters later with a two-run homer.

Against North Schuylkill, her sixth-inning, two-run homer knotted the game at 6 and set the stage for Kaylee Terranella’s dramatic walkoff double.

“She works hard,” Runco said. “She’s a very powerful hitter so when you need her, she comes through in the clutch. I love her.

“She’s always up and she always has the team where it has to be.”

It’s an attitude Lindsey fosters.

“Coming into this year I knew I’d be one of the team leaders so early on I made sure we had a good bond and there would be no drama on the team,” Lindsey said. “Friendship-wise, it’s going to show on the field how you’re playing, so I made sure that we all had a great bond.”

Importantly, she’s also the player others look to when times get tough.

“She is without a question, the leader of our infield there and yeah we definitely rely on her to keep us calm in the storm, and look for her in big situations,” Piercy said. “She is as cool as ice.

“In the North Schuylkill game, we have four outs left in our season and she does that. She’s a calm presence even when we’re down. I’m so proud of her and it’s been so much fun in the playoffs.”

And a great example of the resilience it takes to lead a championship team.

“Even if she makes a mistake, she shakes it off,” Runco said. “That’s what I learned. I learned that maybe if I didn’t get a sign right or maybe I threw a ball too far outside, I just know I’ll come back later in the game and just to be up all the time.”

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