Three Phantom girls sign for college softball

Photo by Barry Taglieber Phoenixville senior Meghan Loughery signs a letter of intent to continue her girls softball career at Philadelphia University. Joining her are, left to right, Principal Dr. Craig Parkinson, Phantom softball head coach Joe Bogus, and her parents, Rick and Peg Loughery.

PHOENIXVILLE - Three Phoenixville senior girls softball players have announced their commitments to continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.

Meghan Loughery will be attending Philadelphia University, Rachel Boone Swarthmore College and Michelle Stehman Eastern University. The girls will be venturing to different schools after playing together on the diamonds since they were real small staring out at the Phoenixville Youth Babe Ruth League (PBRL) at Vic Marosek Park and continuing through their scholastic years and travel ball.

The trio of Phantoms made their decisions public Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 19, in the senior high school television studio during a briefing. They were each accompanied by their parents, head softball coach Joe Bogus and Principal Dr. Craig Parkinson.

Loughery has been an outfielder, second baseman and third baseman for the Phantoms. Boone has been a pitcher and second baseman, and Stehman has played the outfield.

Loughery is the daughter of Rick and Peg Loughery. She will be following in the footsteps of older sister Kristyn Loughery, who enjoyed a fine career at Philadelphia University with the Rams.

Loughery has been a four-year starter with the Phantoms. As a freshman, she played the outfield and second base and batted .305 with an on-base percentage of .394. She led the team in runs scored and was selected as an honorable mention All-PAC-10 outfielder. Bogus moved Loughery to third base as a sophomore and she earned first team all-league status with a .404 batting average and .473 on-base percentage. During her junior year, Loughery played third base again and also served as a team captain while earning second team all-league honors. Loughery bats left-handed and is usually either first or second in the lineup.

Overall, for her high school career thus far, Loughery stands at .343 in batting average and .415 in on-base percentage as the Phantoms prepare for what they hope will be a successful PAC-10 campaign in the spring of 2013.

She has a lot of hard work, a lot of drive and determination, said Bogus in his comments. That shows with her summer travel ball team. She does whatever it takes to get the job done. She is a leader by example, has a good personality and is fun to coach.

Loughery talked about her decision to play at Philadelphia with head coach Joe Long.

I have connections there, she said. My sister went there and loved it. It is perfect for me in athletics and academics. It has all my needs academic and I like where it is located. My parents are my biggest fans and they will be able to catch as many games as possible.

Loughery has plans to become a lawyer.

She has been recruited as a utility player. Most likely, she will play an outfield position and bat first or second in the order.

They have always been a strong team, said Loughery. I am excited to be part of their program. I know their coach. He is a wonderful guy. And if the players are like they were when my sister was there, it should be a great experience.

Boone is the daughter of Richard and Denise Boone. Boone spent her freshman year playing junior varsity softball to gain experience. As a sophomore she moved up to play second base and pitch for the Phantoms. During her junior season, Boone became the ballclubs No. 1 pitcher for every game.

Boone pitched a three-hit shutout in beating Upper Moreland and had a no-hitter with one walk in a PAC-10 contest against Upper Perkiomen. She hurled a perfect game against Pottstown while recording 12 strikeouts. She also helped herself in that fray by going 3-for-4 at the plate. Boone also outdid top-seeded Radnors Christy Von Pusch, the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year in a 3-2 District 1-AAA playoff victory that advanced the eighth-seeded Phantoms into the semifinal round.

I saw her when she was in eighth grade, said Bogus. I watched her play and thought she had a lot of potential.

As a junior, Boone led the team in runs batted in while batting .278 with a .321 on-base percentage. She had a pefect fielding percentage while handling 44 chances.

She has ice water in her veins as a pitcher, said Bogus. She is a special person and is an excellent student while taking the most AP (Advanced Placement) courses possible. I am happy to have had the oppo9rtunity to coach her and watch her mature. She loves softball and that shows while also playing summer travel ball.

Academics were definitely my biggest priority, said Boone. I was very happy I was able to play softball there, too. Swarthmore was always my top choice. I made an early decision and I got in.

Boone plans to study biology and mathematics, with hopes of becoming a veterinarian, while also playing softball for the Garnet. Swarthmore is coached by Rene Clark, who played on the United States National Team from 1990-92.

She is a very cool lady, Boone said of Clark.

Stehman, the daughter of John and Deb Stehman, began her career as a right-handed hitter, but last year she switched to left-handed, and the move paid dividends for her and the Phantoms.

It turned out to be a plus for us, said Bogus. She also has a great desire to play the game of softball. She puts her body on the line while making catches. She is the epitome of our team philosophy, which is to get down and dirty.

As a sophomore, Stehman played the outfield, and her arm got stronger with more physical workouts. As a junior, Stehman started in right field every game and became a team leader. She had an on-base percentage of .418 with her great speed and led the team in stolen bases. She tied for the team lead in walks, finished second in runs scored and third in RBI.

She is a total team player, Bogus said. She is always there for all of our winter workouts. She loves the game.

Eastern is just a great school with its academics and athletic program, said Stehman. I visited and it was amazing. Everyone is so happy. The coaches are the best and I met the entire team. It was the easiest and best choice I ever made in my life.

Stehman figures to continue playing an outfield spot at Eastern.

We have been playing together since we were 7, said Stehman. We have been on the same team for eight years after taht. It is really exciting to play at the next level. Rachel and I will be playing against each other because the schools are in the same league.