CAMP HILL - There is no doubt that Mifflin County manager Travis Zook has a daunting task this week.
Mifflin County has five games this week with a pitching staff that only features three seniors, with just one of them in the starting rotation.
And those young arms got the Huskies into trouble on Wednesday as they dropped a 13-9 game to Cedar Cliff.
Mifflin County, which started the day just two games off the pace in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division, now has to face its arch rival State College in a two-game, home-and-home set to end the week. The midweek schedule included a three-game road swing from Williamsport to State College, including Wednesday's game in the Harrisburg suburbs.
The Huskies are now 8-5 in conference play and 8-7 overall.
In Wednesday's contest Zook used a freshman, a sophomore and one of his seniors. But, Zook would not make any excuses for his youthful pitching staff.
IF YOU GO
Mifflin County travels to State College today
"This stretch run is difficult," Zook said. "But Isaiah (Kearns) has been a starter for us all year and he came in with some rest. I thought the freshman (Ty Bodtorf) did a really good job. He hit his spots."
Kearns, the sophomore, started and pitched into the third inning. He gave up seven runs on seven hits and walked three. He struck out four.
Bodtorf came in and got the final out of the third and then pitched scoreless fourth and fifth innings.
Mifflin County led 9-7 going into the bottom of the sixth, but the freshman ran into trouble. Cedar Cliff came out on fire and put up six runs on six hits. Finally Doug Harshbarger (a senior) was called to put an end to the rally.
Mifflin County trailed 2-0 going into the third, but came right back with three runs thanks to a Kearns RBI single and Health Hidlay's two-run base hit. Carter Spade and Kyle Bodtorf had singled earlier in the inning.
But, the lead was short lived as Cedar Cliff scored the six runs and Julian Bury chased Kearns with a three-run triple.
Mifflin County made it a 7-6 game with three runs in the fourth inning and the Huskies had to do it the hard way.
With one out, Isaac Strohecker and Drew Hannon walked. Zook then put on the hit and run and Hunter Walker delivered with a double, scoring Strohecker.
Spade was next and he was down in the count, 0-2. The second strike was a foul ball that went off his ankle and he had to leave the game.
Hayden Snook was called into action and delivered an instant offense, single scoring two more runs.
"Hayden (Snook) did a good peace of hitting for us," Zook said. "He worked the count a little and then came up with a single."
It looked like Mifflin County was on its way to the win as it took the lead with three runs in the sixth.
Walker led off with a single and it looked like he was going to stay there after the next two batters made outs. But John Michael Maclay reached on an error and Kearns then knocked Walker home with a single.
After a Cedar Cliff pitching change, Hidlay smashed a run-scoring double and when Ty Bodtorf reached on an error it was 9-7.
But then Cedar Cliff came to bat in the sixth and bottom fell out.
Mifflin County finished with 10 hits with Kearns, Hidlay and Walker each getting two.
"I was pleased with our hitting," Zook said, "We had three innings where we put together some timely hitting. And I thought our defense played pretty well tonight (with just two errors)."
Cedar Cliff finished with 14 hits; Noah Mcbre had three of those.