YEAGERTOWN - They came. They saw. They believed.
After losing its first game of this year's Mifflin County Little League Major League Softball Super Series, the team from Derry-Decatur came storming back on Monday with two strong victories against Longfellow and previously unbeaten tournament front-runner Yeagertown.
In those two contests, Derry-Decatur pounded out a total of 28 runs while allowing their opponents a combined eight.
Sentinel photo by MATT?STRICKER
Decatur pitcher Destiny Graham is late tagging Yeagertown runner Kaitlyn Pennebaker (7) at home in the bottom 4th inning of a youth softball game at Meadowview Field in Yeagertown on Monday night. The two teams have each won one game in the championship series.
The group of youngsters had to win both contests in order to keep their season alive and force a final "winner takes all" game on Wednesday night with a 19-8 victory over Yeagertown. They were cool under pressure and never trailed at all in the two games. The closest any team got was when Yeagertown was able to make a mid-game comeback and tied them in the bottom of the fourth.
"What was really nice about tonight was that all year round we worked on the defense. We knew before the pitch where they were going to go with the ball. The outfield played well and they were patient at the plate, yet when the pitch was there, they were anxious to swing the bat. The girls deserve all the credit all we did was stand back and let them play. They were fantastic," Decatur coach Ted Kline said.
Derry-Decatur got strong pitching performances from Destiny Graham and teammate Leesha Shilling.
After shutting out McVeytown 9-0 in the opener, Derry-Decatur wasted little time in its game against Yeagertown to get its offense going once again.
In the first inning, Decatur got the scoring started in the top of the first, plating three early runs.
Leadoff hitter Caitlyn Kick "kicked" off the game with a single. She proceeded to steal second and then moved to third on a Sky Ciccolini infield single.
With runners on the corners, Graham helped her own cause smoking an RBI-single into the outfield, easily scoring Kick. Ciccolini moved up to 3rd on the play.
Clean-up hitter Allie Goss loaded the bases, reaching on a walk.
Shilling roped a single to left field scoring two on the play and giving her team a comfortable 3-0 lead.
However, Yeagertown didn't get to be the lone undefeated team in the championship bracket for nothing as it also picked up a run in its first at-bat.
Madison Tate sparked her team with a leadoff single. After two consecutive stolen bases, Tate crossed home thanks to a single by teammate Jaylyn Moore.
Going into the second inning, Decatur found itself with a two-run advantage.
The score remained the same until the top of the third when Decatur again got its bats going, scoring another three runs to up its lead to 6-1.
Leading the way offensively in the inning were Goss and Erika Shirk who both picked up RBI-singles. Shirk also stole home for the team's other run in the inning.
Yeagertown was not going to go down without a fight as it battled back to be within striking distance in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Leah Shilling walked and proceeded to steal second and third, putting her in prime position to score.
Hannah Crossley, who was Yeagertown's starting pitcher, launched a high-flying double to centerfield to score Shilling.
Her stay on the base paths was a short one as she went home minutes later thanks to an RBI-single by Alyssa Souders.
Souders and then Caitlyn Pennebaker cut the lead to just one as they both were able to steal home safely.
When the game headed into the fourth, Yeagertown trailed 6-5. They were able to hold Decatur scoreless in the inning.
With a renewed energy, Yeagertown tied the game when Rachel King scored on an infield fly rule.
Unfortunately for the home team, the night belonged to Decatur as it's offense once again exploded. With a five-run fifth and an eight-run sixth, the lead had grown to 19-6.
In their final at bats, Yeagertown was able to pick up two runs but it was not enough as Decatur forced a final game Wednesday at Meadowview Field in Yeagertown at 8:10.