LEWISTOWN - There's often an extra measure of pressure when rival teams meet up on the diamond. Thursday, both Mifflin County and State College felt that pressure early in their Commonwealth Division softball game, but it was the Huskies who overcame while the Little Lions folded in the 9-1 Mifflin County win.
State College got one run across, and it came after leadoff batter Megan Robert reached first on a dropped third strike. The Little Lion then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when teammate Alyssa Shedlock brought her home with a double to right field, but that was the only inning where Mifflin County showed any weaknesses.
Through the rest of the game, the Huskies were solid with some tough outs in the field - particularly a few outs that left fielder Tara Kibe really had to run to get. Add to this a seven-strikeout effort by Shelby Lyter and 11 hits from her teammates, and it was the recipe for Mifflin County's 14th win of the season.
Sentinel photo by MATT?STRICKER
Mifflin County batter Taylor McKay (8) lays down a sacrifice bunt to score Jordan Shirey (10) while State College shortstop Abby Allen moves in on the ball.
Yet, if the Huskies recovered after a rough first inning, the Little Lions secumbed to the pressure and allowed several Mifflin County runs to score that never should have crossed.
After taking a 2-1 lead in the first on RBIs from Kibe and Olivia Riden, Mifflin County took advantage of back-to-back State College errors in the second to put runners on first and second.
These errors proved harmful to the Little Lions, as Taylor McKay brought Jordan Shirey home with a sacrifice bunt, and Allessa Morrison ripped a single up the first-base line to score Maggie Wray.
IF YOU GO
Mifflin County travels to State College today
With the 4-1 lead in hand, the Huskies again struck in the third when Shirey collected an RBI of her own with a single to center field, and after a scoreless fourth inning, the Huskies put the pressure on the Little Lions for the final four runs of the game.
In the fifth, State College put Liz Drawl on the mound to replace starting pitcher Keira Scharf, and she struggled against her first two batters, hitting Riden and walking Hannah Ruby.
Again, these mistakes proved costly, as Shirey ripped a shot off the left-field fence for a double and two RBIs.
From there, Shirey reached home when Wray lifted another shot to left for a double, the Wray later scored on a wild pitch by Drawl for the final 9-1 score.
With 11 hits - four of them doubles - Mifflin County displayed its power at the plate throughout the game, but coach Jack McCurdy also pointed out the team's consistency through the lineup.
"I think what we did well today was that we showed we can score anywhere through the lineup," he said.
"Not that we had any really, really big innings, but we were just pushing the runs across, and that's what we need to be able to do at this point," he continued.
Shirey led at the plate, as her 2-for-4 night resulted in a double and three RBIs, while Morrison, Rhodes and Ruby also collected two hits apiece. In terms of scoring runs, all but three Huskies crossed home plate in the contest, while of those remaining three, one collected an RBI and the other was in scoring position twice.
Mifflin County had seven hits against Scharf, two against Drawl and two against MIchaela Rittenhouse.
After Shedlock's double in the first, the Little Lions didn't get a hit until Corey Manfitt singled in the fifth, and Sharayah Simco and Lexi Mattivi had back-to-back singles in the sixth.
Thursday was the first of the teams' two scheduled meetings for the week. Today, Mifflin County (14-3, 12-1) travels to State College for a 4:15 p.m. matchup.