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Senior outfielder Darby Langel helped put Cedar Creek softball on the map

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher Cedar Creek’s softball helmets are hunter green. Senior Darby Langel’s was almost entirely white this past season. And no, it wasn’t because she was using a helmet from her travel team. It was because it was covered with skull-and-crossbone decals. Head coach Shawn Cohen gives out the stickers for various offensive accomplishments, and Langel stockpiled more stickers than a 5-year-old let loose in the dollar store. Langel, the diminutive, bubbly center fielder for the Pirates, recently finished up an outstanding career, collecting her 100th career hit while leading Cedar Creek to its second straight 20-plus win season and the program’s first appearance in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals. The team’s engine was all-state selection Cheyenne Meyer, but Langel clearly was the sparkplug that ignited things, both offensively and defensively. She was a wizard at getting on base and scoring runs, and played a flawless center field — the first time the former shortstop had played the position. “She was the leader in the outfield,” Meyer said. “We had a younger outfield, and she took the leadership role out there in center field. I knew when I was pitching she had my back. She was a big impact player.” “I finally got to 100 hits and had zero errors during the season, so I was really proud of that,” said Langel, who plans to continue her education and softball career at Atlantic Cape Community College this fall. “Getting 100 hits was on my mind, and I struggled a little bit because it was on my mind. So toward the end of the season I just thought to myself ‘whatever’, and ended up getting it.” Judging by her accumulation of helmet stickers, Langel didn’t struggle all that much. But such are the heights of her standards. She spent her entire career trying to get better every day. Cedar Creek outfielder Darby Langel makes a throw to the infield during a game against St. Joseph this past season. Langel helped lead the Pirates to more than 40 wins the past two years. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Cedar Creek outfielder Darby Langel makes a throw to the infield during a game against St. Joseph this past season. Langel helped lead the Pirates to more than 40 wins the past two years. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) “Every year I wanted to do better than the previous year and wanted our team to have a better record,” Langel said. Langel also was a key member of the girls soccer team, playing goalie and helping the Pirates win nine games last fall and earn a berth in the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs. As good as she is at softball, it’s probably not surprising that she started out as a baseball player, much the same way that Meyer did. “I actually started out playing baseball in Egg Harbor City, but that program shut down so we had to move over to Galloway,” Langel said. “It was late in the signups and I was 8 years old, so I was actually put on a U-14 team.” Playing baseball, then playing softball against older competition, prepared Langel for the varsity level. The Cape-Atlantic League has some fierce competition, but it didn’t take long for the Pirates to become a competitive team. The program began playing as a varsity team just four years ago, but in the past two seasons the Pirates have racked up more than 40 wins and two state playoff appearances. “Me and Darby were the first girls to play all four years for Cedar Creek softball. We were really excited coming in freshman year. We both made varsity and we knew our four years would make history. We had a really good career,” Meyer said. “She was an infielder, but coach thought she would be better for us in the outfield, so that’s what she did. This year she really stepped up and did an awesome job in center field.” “It was great knowing that my first year was the first year of a varsity team, and knowing that throughout the past four years we were making history for the school was great,” Langel said. “We had skillful players, and we were able to put it together. The difficult thing was that we were really young, so we weren’t the most experienced team out there. People underestimated us, so we had to work hard to show that we were at (other teams’) level.” Langel said she will miss coach Cohen and the way he brought out the best in her on a daily basis. “I think what I will remember most is my coach. He was a really big influence on me. He made the experience great, and he always pushed me,” Langel said. “He knew I liked to push myself, so I knew if I made a mistake he would push me as well, but I knew it was always to make me a better player.” Meyer said she will miss the player who kept things fun in the dugout, and kept everybody laughing through the grind of the season. “She’s really fun. She brought a light mood to the team and always had funny jokes and stuff,” Meyer said. “She’s really fun to be around. She’s goofy. There’s only one Darby.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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