Danner helps lead LCCC to national tournament
When Lydia Danner was at Northwestern, she spent much of her time on the mound for the Lady Tigers’ softball team. She also pitched during travel softball, as well as a good amount last season for Lehigh Carbon Community College.
But this year she was asked to step into a new role. She accepted without hesitation and it led to one of her biggest accomplishments of her career.
“I was totally fine with that because Bailey [Pedersen], our ace pitcher, was doing such a wonderful job at keeping every batter off balance,” said Danner. “So I was not upset about not pitching as much as I was used to. I wanted to do what was best for our team. I had pitched all through high school, a lot last season and a bunch when I played travel ball and had missed playing in what I like to call “Danner Land” in center field.”
The switch resulted in a remarkable season for Danner during the Cougars’ historic campaign. She was named the Region XIX Player of the Year and Region XIX Tournament MVP as LCCC became the first ever Pennsylvania team to win Region XIX and win a game in the national tournament.
Danner was impressive in all facets of the game, batting .429 with a .529 on-base percentage, 28 RBIs and a team-high 17 stolen bases. She set a new school record for most runs scored in a season at 50 and led the NJCAA with 12 triples.
“Of course I am proud of all my awards and recognitions, but I have never been one to make it all about me or keep up with my stats throughout the season,” Danner said. “It is such a great feeling to know that I was recognized by not only my coaches, but other coaches and teams.”
The former Tiger leaves LCCC as the program’s leader with 88 career hits, 88 runs scored and 47 stolen bases. Her .451 batting average is the second highest ever for the Cougars and, despite only pitching in a handful of games in 2018, she ranks second in career wins (14) and ERA (3.60).
But despite all of the accolades, one of the best attributes Danner possesses is her leadership toward the rest of the team.
“I love being able to pick my teammates up if they make a mistake or strike out or whatever,” Danner said. “I have always been one to help others, and I think that being a leader has a lot to do with that aspect.
“To me, being a leader does not mean being the loudest player on your team, or yelling at everyone else, or being the first person in line and so on. Being a leader is leading by example and that all starts with your attitude and humbleness.”
Danner once was a freshman not a short time ago. Despite the success she walked into as a member of the Cougars, she was a bit timid herself, so she understands what it can be like jumping from high school to the collegiate ranks.
“For the freshmen on our team, some were a little timid at first, and I always did my best to help them out and give them the rundown of what we do and how everything is ran because I didn’t want them to be scared,” Danner said. “I was that timid, scared freshmen once, and I wanted them to feel welcomed, comfortable and let loose to just have a good time.”
Danner’s immediate plans are to finish her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, followed by an internship at the school in the fall. Where she goes next is still in question, well as whether or not she will continue to play softball.
“After that I plan to go on to get my bachelor’s degree, but where that will be is still undecided,” Danner said. “As far as softball, that is questionable of course. Yes I would love to play for as long as I can, but I think it may be time for me to focus on my career and what I need to do for myself and my future. I will always find a way to keep softball a part of my life, though.”