Over the past decade, Annville-Cleona softball has developed a reputation of winning. That tradition of success will be put to the test with the recent hire of new head coach Melvin Dorta.
In order to continue the success that the softball team has developed over the recent years, Athletic Director Tommy Long knew he had to dig down during the hiring process in order to meet that expectation of winning. Little did he know the decision would be quite easy.
“Having the chance to hire a former professional athlete, who was also a professional coach, to come and work with our student-athletes is an incredible opportunity. His background and knowledge will help take our softball program to a new level, while providing an awesome resource for our athlete, parents and community programs”, Long said.
Dorta was first drafted in 1999 by the Boston Red Sox as a 16 year old out of Venezuela. He quickly made the transition to the United States in order to carry out his dream of playing professional baseball. Dorta started off down in the minor leagues eventually working his way up to the pro club known as the Washington Nationals. However, this was not the only team he got the opportunity to compete for. Between the years of 1998 and 2014 he played for the Boston Red Sox, the Montreal Expos, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Washington Nationals. Although the time eventually came for Melvin to retire, he didn’t want his relationship with the game of baseball to end.
Dorta found himself on a team he was very familiar with, except this time he wasn’t playing. Dorta was offered an assistant coaching job for the Harrisburg Senators, a team that he ranks first in stolen bases and second in career games played. But just like every story, Dorta met a local women whom which he eventually married and settled down with just down the road in the very familiar Palmyra. Dorta has continued to teach the game of baseball, at places like In the Net and Keystone State Baseball out of Manheim.
Although several members of the girls softball team grew close to former coach Dave Bentz over the past years, they were excited and intrigued to play under Dorta.
“Coach Dorta knows a lot of little things that I think will make us very successful this upcoming season. We do a lot of hand eye coordination drills in order to continue our success at the plate,” stated senior shortstop Morgan Zimmerman.
Dorta has brought a different aspect to the 2017 roster by adding new drills, signs, and overall strategies to strive towards the overall goal of a section and district championship.
When asked about the differences the new skipper has brought to the club, senior second baseman Sarah Fischer said,“Coach Dorta actually does the workouts with us and clearly knows what he is doing…there’s a lot of repetition, but makes sure there is always something new and a change at practice.”
There is a lot to look forward to for the players, the team fans, and the entire Annville-Cleona community. Coach Dorta brings something to the table: experience at many different levels of the game which is what everyone hopes will take Annville girls’ softball to the next level. Their first game is tentatively set for next week.
Written by Mason Moore