MILLERSVILLE -- Going beyond where the program has previously been was Dallastown's motto throughout the softball season.
Thanks to three quick runs and the efforts of Kelsey Collins, the Wildcats have advanced further than any Dallastown softball team prior to this season.
Behind a gutsy pitching performance from Collins -- especially when in trouble -- the Wildcats beat Wilson, 3-2, in a District 3 Class AAAA quarterfinal played at Millersville University.
"It makes us feel great. It's the first time we have ever went
"Before we started the season and asked what their goals would be and this is what they wanted to do, go one game further than last year. Since they have done that, I told them no reason to stop now."
"It feels awesome," Collins said. "Last year, we lost to Governor Mifflin in the quarterfinals and it feels really good to be in the semis."
Third-seeded Dallastown improved to 18-3 and will face a familiar foe in the semifinals, No. 2 Central York, which defeated Elizabethtown, 1-0, in extra innings in Thursday's nightcap at Millersville. The semifinal is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Memorial Park.
Haylee Andrews walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning with a walk and scored when Sam Hartman blasted an RBI double to left field.
Kayla Merriman followed with a ground ball that was ruled an error, and Hartman never stopped, scoring with a head-first slide on a wide throw home. Merriman reached second on that throw, took third on a groundout and scored on Jenna Eckenrode's RBI groundout.
"It's a lot easier to focus and breath and work on my pitching when we have a lead," Collins said. "If it's 0-0 the whole way through, it's a lot harder to focus."
The Bulldogs got on the board in the second on a walk, a wild pitch and single by Jaye-Lynn Reed.
Brittany Smith scored the second Wilson run when she led off the fourth inning with a single and went to second a wild throw. One out after a passed ball put Smith at third, she trotted home on Heather Baum's sacrifice fly.
Shannon Weaver's one-out double in the fifth inning had Collins facing danger, which increased when Sarah Deck followed with a bunt single to put runners at the corners with one out.
But Collins fanned Shannon Deck and got Smith to fly out, ending that threat and preserving the Wildcats' slim 3-2 lead.
More trouble followed in the sixth when Reed slapped her second hit of the game to lead off the inning. Reed stole second, but Collins struck out Baum. Reed advanced to third on a groundout, only to remain there when Collins whiffed Haley Crouch.
"She just really bears down when she gets in those kind of situations. It doesn't bother her when they get runners on base. It bothers me," Deardorff joked. "When she gets in the situation, she really does focus and gets a little more serious."
"I try to keep my composure. I was a little nervous the whole time," Collins said. "I just try and pitch my game and not worry about it."
And a 1-2-3 seventh ensured the Wildcats would advance to the next round.
at Millersville University
DALLASTOWN 3, WILSON 2
Wilson 010 100 0 -- 2 5 3
Dallastown 300 000 x -- 3 2 2
Wil, Jaye-Linn Reed and Heather Baum; Dt, Kelsey Collins and Sam Hartman. SO-BB -- Wil, Reed 1-4; Dt, Collins 8-3. W -- Collins. L -- Reed. 2B -- Wil, Shannon Weaver; Dt, Sam Hartman.