The Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Game is usually a fun time for the players involved, and this year's version, which will be played Saturday, could be even more fun.
That's because they'll be playing the games - District 6 vs. District 4 at 5 p.m. and District 6 vs. District 6 at 8 p.m. - in Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park at Beard Field, the gleaming new stadium where the PIAA Championships were just held.
"For a lot of the kids, it's going to be an experience for them," said P-O coach Jim Gonder, who will be joined on the coaching staff by two of his assistants in Mike Ammerman and Doug Myers, Central Cambria's retiring Pat Stock, Claysburg-Kimmel's Mike Barbarini, State College's Rick Hall, Penns Valley's Don Lucas and Lewistown's Kevin Morningstar.
"It's great to play over there. I will be awestruck when I walk in. I think it's really nice place to play a game."
The Lady Mounties played three games there in the postseason, including their 1-0 win over Brandywine Heights in the PIAA Class AA Championships. Four P-O players will be involved in Chelsea Rex, Mackenzie Wilson, Amanda Arnold and Macy Harpster.
Seventeen area players are on the roster, including six Central Cambria players in Taylor Swatsworth, Ali Vogatsky, Breanne James, Lindsay Beyer, Kacey Haluska and Kiersten Lorditch.
District 6 softball stars
What: PSBCA Hall of Fame Game
Where: Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park
Schedule: District 6 vs. District 4, 5 p.m.; Hall of Fame induction, 7 p.m.; District 6 vs. District 6, 8 p.m.
District 6 Roster
Bald Eagle Area: Kelly Chambers, Lily Glunt, Melinda Mitchell, Taylor Parsons
Bellefonte: Ashley Bowes, Raychel Dearmitt, Alexandra Stathes
Bellwood-Antis: Ashley Hamer
Bishop Guilfoyle: Megan Blake, Melanie Madey, Sarah Prosser
Central Cambria: Lindsay Beyer, Kacey Haluska, Breanne James, Kiersten Lorditch, Taylor Swatsworth, Ali Vogatsky
Claysburg-Kimmel: Samantha Barnes, Kaylee Harten, Kelsey Ickes
Lewistown: Brooke Morningstar
Penns Valley: Tessa Deardorff, Janelle Welch
Philipsburg-Osceola: Amanda Arnold, Macy Harpster, Chelsea Rex, Mackenzie Wilson
State College: Emilee Eden, Erica Nolan, Haley Shaw
Claysburg-Kimmel will have three in Kelsey Ickes, Kaylee Harten and Samantha Barnes. Bishop Guilfoyle will also have three in Melanie Madey, Sarah Prosser and Megan Blake. Bellwood-Antis' Ashley Hamer is also on the team.
As far as how the players have been broken up into teams for the District 6 game, well, some high school teammates will be playing on opposing teams.
"There's no rhyme or reason for it all," Gonder said. "We did put teammates together as best we could. I think it will be a nice way to end their careers. It will be Neat to finish up their careers together."
Gonder says the District 4 team should be a good challenge for the traditionally strong District 6 team.
"I think District 4 has a lot of good players," he said. "It's a pretty competitive game for us."
Between games, at about 7 p.m., 12 will be inducted into the District 6 Hall of Fame, including Stock and two of his former players, Jamie Dixon and K.J. Getz, as well as former P-O stars Alyssa English and Becky McCamley.
Stock, whose team lost to Burrell, 6-2, in the PIAA quarterfinals, will be inducted after amassing 527 wins, 19 league titles, five district titles and a state runner-up finish in 1997.
"It's one of those things you don't think about," Stock said. "You don't coach with the idea that this [induction] is going to come along. When I first started coaching in 1978, there wasn't a Hall of Fame.
"When I turned in my resignation, I said coaching softball has never seemed like a job. It was so natural to me. I played for 35 years, and I enjoyed doing it. What other people's perspective of my career, I don't know. I don't know if anybody will notice when I retire. I'm just glad I coached."
Getz and Dixon, both of whom are 2006 Central Cambria graduates, are happy to be going in the same year as Stock.
"We were really excited when Coach Stock was nominated," said Getz, who had a .437 career average before heading to the University of Charleston (W.Va.). "We were hoping to go in the same year because Jamie and I have been friends for a long time. Coach Stock has been a big influence on us."
"It's a really big accomplishment," said Dixon, who had a .440 career average before going to St. Francis University, "and it's extra special because K.J. and I played for years. I think it will be emotional because we're all going in together. All the years of hard work have paid off."