YAIAA softball championship: Central York slugs away, beats Delone Catholic
It was as if Central York was tired of seeing Delone Catholic come back. Twice the Panthers scored runs to take a lead, only to have the Squirettes tie the YAIAA championship game at New Oxford.
Then came the sixth inning, a very long sixth inning.
Central sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring eight runs in the inning, and although the Delone bats hardly went cold, the lead was too much to overcome and the Panthers held on for an 11-6 victory.
For many of the Central players, it was their third YAIAA gold medal in four seasons.
"They are not someone that in their senior years, they (just) showed up," Panthers coach Shane Walker said of his seniors. "They've been getting it done and that senior leadership has been key. You are dealing with a more mature group, a much more prepared group."
In the pivotal sixth, sophomore Briannah Dobson led off with a walk and Kelsey Shifflett followed with a ground ball that allowed Dobson's courtesy runner, Erin Cabry, to beat the throw to second base on a fielder's choice.
Lorna Colberg followed with a hard single off the glove of Squirettes shortstop Shelbee Holcomb that scored Cabry. One out later, Kayla Resh reached on an error to load the bases.
Haley Klunk was hit by a pitch to force in the fourth run, and Kyla Caruso followed with another fielder's choice to score a run. Kelsey Wisner came up and her hard liner down the line was just foul, but she settled back in and ripped a single that plated two more runs.
"It's a little disappointing because you want that triple," Wisner said. "But in the end, I got both the runs in, and that's what the team needed."
The Panthers weren't done. Dobson drove in a pair with a hit in her second plate appearance of the inning, and Shifflett capped the blitz with a triple to right field.
"We had in our heads that we had to believe, and it was our inning," Shifflett said. "We always have that one inning where we keep hitting and hitting. Hits are contagious and we just keep going."
Walker liked the approach his kids used in that inning after Delone pitcher Cassie Rickrode kept his team off balance for the first five frames.
"One thing that is nice about these experienced hitters, after you see somebody a certain number of times you start getting timing down," he said. "Even though she was still able to mix pitches, they started coming up with a different attitude. It was a matter of just staying patient, hitting our pitches, making her work. Hitting the pitches we want not the pitch she wants us to hit."
But, like earlier in the game, Delone had a response.
Lauryn King and Karly Coleman opened the bottom of the sixth with singles. Two outs later, Shayna Rider doubled both home. Rider then scored on a Katie Laughman double. Delone had cut the deficit to 10-5.
"Being in a tight game you can't help but be nervous. It's something as a team we knew we are going to get into those types of games," Wisner said. "We just have to stay up, stay confident and constantly encourage each other. They came back and luckily we were able to weather the storm."
Monica Albers led off the Central seventh with a hit. Caruso singled to drive her home to add an insurance run. Behind its sixth extra-base hit of the game, a Rickrode triple, Delone (15-4) added the final run.
"I think they are going to fare well in district play. The top part of their lineup is solid without a doubt or excuse," Walker said about the Squirettes.
Afterward, Rickrode looked ahead to next week's District 3 Class AA playoffs.
"I think we'll be OK, we did hit well," she said. "I think this was a good game to come out of going into districts. (Resh) was a good pitcher to get warmed up for districts on. It was only one inning, they just caught up to me and hit the ball really well. That's good for them."
The Panthers improved to 20-2 heading into the Class AAAA district playoffs.
Central York 11, Delone Catholic 6
Central York1000181—11100Delone Catholic1000131—691
Kayla Resh and Briannah Dobson. DC, Cassie Rickrode and Lauryn King.
SO-BB — Resh 10-4, Rickrode 5-5; W — Resh; L — Rickrode; 2B — DC, Shayna Rider, Katie Laughman, Shelbee Holcomb; 3B — CY, Kelsey Shifflett. DC, Holcomb, Laughman, Rickrode.