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Amazing Era Ends As Clarion Area Softball Coach Dan Shofestall Retires

CLARION, Pa. – Clarion Area Softball Coach Dan Shofestall retired recently, closing out a stellar thirty-plus year career that spanned parts of five decades, patrolling the diamonds, including Little League Baseball, Little League All-Stars and for the past fifteen years with the Bobcats.

(Article by Dave McClaine of Clarion Sports Zone.)

It is impossible to describe the countless hours in this labor of love that this fine man has given to his players and their families, his assistant coaches, opposing coaches, Clarion Little League and the Bobcats Softball program.

In typical Dan Shofestall fashion, when I mentioned wanting to do an article and wanting quotes, he was hesitant, not wanting to miss anyone who he felt should be recognized. But in his assessment, there are several individuals who have worked with him in his passion for the kids for him to recall everyone.

You will not get through reading the first several paragraphs of Coach Shofestall’s comments below, without sensing a man who has a heart of gold, who deflects any praise to others. Those who know Dan personally know exactly what I am talking about.

With this article being occasioned by Coach Shofestall’s retirement from the Bobcats, I will first share some facts, figures and highlights from the Dan Shofestall Era with the Cats (though Dan would probably even be uncomfortable with that description), then Coach Shofestall’s comments etcetera, followed by a closing statement or two.

Coach Shofestall’s Bobcats won four Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference (KSAC) titles (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2019). The Bobcats made the District 9 playoffs all but one season, winning districts in 2011 and made the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) playoffs four times (2010, 2011, 2016 and 2019), winning the West Championship and advancing to the State Title game in 2011, and advancing to the quarterfinals in 2019.

The Bobcats played 333 games under Coach Shofestall, compiling a record of 214 wins and 119 losses and a winning percentage of .643.

From 2008 through 2013, the Bobcats had a record of 102 wins and 23 losses, for an .816 winning percentage over that span.

Some special notes on the 2011 team: They scored 301 runs for the season. They “mercy-ruled” 16 out of 18 opponents in the regular plus one more in the playoffs.

In the run through the 2011 District 9 and State Playoffs, Clarion defeated DuBois Central Catholic 13-0 in the District 9 1A Quarterfinals, Elk County Catholic 9-7 in the Semifinals and Smethport 9-0 in the Championship Game (Note Smethport and Clarion were both undefeated heading into the game. Clarion was 21-0 and Smethport was 19-0).

(2011 Bobcats after capturing the District 9 1A Championship: Sitting ( L – R) – Ashley Steiner, Krysta Fuller, Tiffany Smathers, Kelly Peterson, Abby Heller. Row 2 (L – R) – Taylor Colhepp, Ashley Hummell, Audrey Hummell, Jessica Funk, Katherine Loreski, Brianna Nellis, Courtney Donaldson. Row 3 (L – R) – Marisa Dechant, Olivia Bartley, Rebecca Zeigler, Hannah Wolf, Kaitlin Conner. Coaches (L – R) Dave Everett, Allen Peterson, John Stroup, Eric Funk, Jeff Smathers, Dan Shofestall, Della Kurtzhals. Missing from the photo: Coach Carrie Smith.)

In the PIAA State Playoffs: Clarion defeated South Side Beaver 5-4 in the First Round and Cochranton 8-0 in the Quarterfinals. The Bobcats were 3-2 winners over Chartiers-Houston in the Semifinals/Western Final. (Note: Chartiers-Houston was the District 7 Champion and defending PIAA State Champion. Fifteen of their twenty-two wins were shutouts. The Bobcats and Buccaneers each entered the game undefeated. Clarion came into the game at 23-0, while Chartiers-Houston entered at 22-0. Clarion came from behind twice in the game, tying it at 1-all in the fifth and scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the sixth for the lead and eventual final score of Clarion 3 – Chartiers-Houston 2.)

Clarion fell to Minersville 6-1 in the State Championship Game at Penn State and finished with an outstanding 24-1 record and a PIAA State Second Place. Four players from that team were named First Team All-State First Team All-Staters: Tiffany Smathers – Short Stop, Kelly Peterson – Catcher, Krysta Fuller – Pitcher and Jessica Funk- Second Base.

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