Donegal's Makyla Yoder struck out 11 batters and allowed just one hit against Pequea Valley on Friday, April 22, 2016. Video by John Buffone.
MOUNT JOY — It isn’t always who you play, it’s what you do when you play them.
In the unofficial start to the league season’s second half, Section Three stalwart Donegal hosted Section Four’s Pequea Valley Friday afternoon, with the home team coming away with a 4-0 win in another L-L crossover contest.
Junior Kaitlyn Witmer had two hits and drove-in the game’s first run, Donegal’s Savanna Kolenda executed a perfect pickle-play to allow Emily Graham to score from third for the final run, and Makyla Yoder pitched a one-hitter from the circle as the Indians improved to 9-3 overall and 7-2 in league play.
“As we go back through the years I can’t remember Pequea beating us, but all the games were 4-2, 3-2…” began Donegal head coach Wayne Emenheiser, complimenting current Braves’ pitcher Sabrina Ryan and perhaps giving a nod toward Braves’ pitchers of old. “We wore our black uniforms (today) so you know it was a big game.”
Yoder, who struck-out 11 batters and walked none, opened the contest by striking out five of the first six batters she faced with a high-velocity riser. The junior continued her success the next inning, working around a pair of errors by striking-out two more.
At the plate, Yoder began the game’s first rally when she singled to right field, with courtesy runner Jessica Kosheba eventually scoring on a Witmer single for a 1-0 lead.
Donegal would add a run in the third when Yoder’s grounder was thrown wide at first, allowing Peighton Hornick, who had doubled to score.
Witmer then opened the fourth inning with a single, Graham reaching on a bunt and both runners advancing on a one-out sacrifice. Kolenda’s infield single deep in the hole at second base allowed Witmer to score, before the sophomore got caught in an intentional rundown between first and second as Graham raced home.
The Braves (9-3, 7-2), who were without the services of senior captain Olivia Weaver for the game, were shutout for the first time this season.
“In some respects it’s good because it gives us some competition,” said Braves’ head coach Amy Shay on facing Section Three opponents like Donegal. “It puts a perspective where you actually stand.”
Pequea proved up to the task as Ryan settled into the circle with seven strikeouts and zero walks.
“You have to have a different mindset every game just with different pitchers,” Witmer said of facing one of Section Four’s best. “It’s definitely different seeing them.”
Meanwhile, the Braves’ batters started to time Yoder’s pitches, fouling them back and putting more in play. Alee Feister, who had struck-out twice earlier in the game, produced a one-out single in the sixth to break up Yoder’s no-hit bid.
“Just push the ball and let my ‘D’ do the work, I have confidence in them to do it,” said Yoder, admitting she wasn’t thinking about a no-hitter possibility.
While a Donegal error put the leadoff runner on board in the seventh, Yoder’s final strikeout sandwiched between a pair of pop-ups to Witmer — the latter a foul pop behind first base — ended it.
“I kind of messed up there with the errors (in the third inning),” Witmer said, “but coming in with the hits and stuff made my confidence come back up, and that catch, definitely.”
Donegal 4, Pequea Valley 0
PV 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 1
DN 0 1 1 2 0 0 x — 4 7 3
SO-BB — PV Sabrina Ryan 7-0; DN Makyla Yoder 11-0
WP — Yoder; LP — Ryan
2B — DN 1 (Peighton Hornick)