Lady Lions acquire local softball standouts

Courtney and Nicole Cragle at a signing day celebration with Director of Athletics Patrice Lombard, Head Softball Coach Rich Lipinski and their mother, Cathy Cragle.
Courtney and Nicole Cragle at a signing day celebration with Director of Athletics Patrice Lombard, Head Softball Coach Rich Lipinski and their mother, Cathy Cragle.

Hazleton, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton continues to build in the off-season with the addition of the family duo of Courtney and Nicole Cragle from Hunlock Creek, Pa. The twosome helped guide Northwest Area High School to a second-place finish in PIAA District II Softball in 2019 and now set their sights on a Penn State University Athletic Conference Championship at the collegiate level.

Primarily a catcher and shortstop, Courtney Cragle is a three-time All-Conference team member in the Wyoming Valley West Conference and was named an All-Star by the Citizens Voice following her senior season. During her four varsity campaigns at Northwest, Courtney compiled a .363 career batting average, a mark she improved upon each season. By her senior year, Cragle's averaged had risen to .457, adding seven home runs, 22 runs scored and 21 RBI, all of which were career highs. Courtney graduated this past spring with high honors at Northwest Area High School and will pursue her undergraduate studies at Penn State Hazleton before declaring a major.

Twin sister Nicole Cragle had an equally impressive career at Northwest and joins the Lady Lions as pitcher and first baseman. Nicole had 27 or more hits in each of her final three high school seasons, along with 20 or more RBI and a batting average above .400. From the circle, Nicole bested hitters for a career 2.53 earned run average and an impressive 275 strikeouts in just over 300 innings pitched. Nicole tallied 97 of those strikeouts during her senior year, earning first team honors from the Wyoming Valley Conference and was named the area's Softball MVP by the Press Enterprise. Like her sister, Nicole is a former honor roll student at Northwest and will begin her college studies undeclared while exploring her career options.