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Littlestown softball may have been off to a hot start this season, but defending YAIAA Division III-champion Kennard-Dale isn't ready to give up their throne to the young Bolts.

In a battle of the two top teams in the division, the Rams (6-0, 4-0 YAIAA Division III) stayed undefeated and handed Littlestown (4-2, 4-1 YAIAA Division III) its first league loss of the season, 3-1, in front of the Bolts' home crowd.

The Rams scored all three runs during a rally in the top of the second and Alexis Valentine took care of the rest, limiting Littlestown's potent lineup that had scored 58 runs in five games to one run and six hits.

The junior pitched a complete game and struck out 10 batters while walking one. The Bolts brought the tying run to the plate with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Valentine struck out two batters and forced a fly out to seal the win.

"We came up short," Littlestown manager Henry Wardrop said. "That's a good team we got beat by."

After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first, Valentine, who also went 2-for-3 at the plate, helped spark the Rams' three-run second inning with a double. Nicole McCleary, who had walked prior to Valentine's double, scored on a passed ball to give Kennard-Dale a 1-0 lead.

Littlestown's McKenzie Somers, who pitched a complete game and struck out seven, seemed to have limited the damage when she forced a pop fly, then struck the next batter out. But the Rams' No. 9 hitter, Megan Gereny, hit an RBI bloop single to shallow center field. She scored two batters later on an RBI single by Brittany Orwig.

"I wouldn't necessarily call it a big inning and I thought we still came out very flat today," Kennard-Dale manager Gregg Coulton said. "But I give them credit, they found a way to pull it out."

The Bolts cut the lead to 3-1 with back-to-back triples to nearly the identical spot in center field by Jill Gauthier and Amanda Dyson in the third inning.

"They always play us tough and they always have a good team," Coulton said of Littlestown. "We expected a tough game today. Sometimes ugly wins are all right."

After allowing a Michaela Yealy single in the fourth, Valentine got into a rhythm, retiring eight straight batters in order, before Yealy singled again to lead off the seventh.

It was the second-straight loss for Littlestown after four straight wins to start the season. For Kennard-Dale, Tuesday's win extended their winning streak — which includes impressive victories over Delone Catholic, Susquehannock and Dallastown — to six games.

"We've played through some pretty stiff competition so far with Dallastown, Delone and Susky, and we were on an emotional high for a few weeks," Coulton said. "Now we're getting into the league part of the schedule and we need to get our stroke back."

With Central York losing to South Western in extra innings Tuesday, Kennard-Dale stands alone as the only undefeated YAIAA team.

"Not after losing what we lost to graduation would I expect that, but we're still not anywhere close to where I want us to be," Coulton said. "We're a much better hitting team than we have been in the last two games, but we'll get there."

Kennard-Dale 3, Littlestown 1

Kennard-Dale0300000—390Littlestown0010000—161

at Littlestown

KD, Alexis Valentine and Katelyn Mayle, Lt, McKenzie Somers and Amanda Dyson

SO-BB — KD, Alexis Valentine 10-1, Lt, McKenzie Somers 7-1; W — Valentine; L — Somers; 2B — KD, Valentine; 3B — Lt, Jill Gauthier, Amanda Dyson.

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