The pitcher-catcher combo combined for three hits for Delone Catholic against Bishop McDevitt

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HARRISBURG - Cassie Rickrode spent the entire bus ride from Delone Catholic to Bishop McDevitt Saturday morning trying to keep her sister Maggie calm.

Only a freshman, Maggie Rickrode was preparing to make her high school debut at catcher in the Squirettes' season-opener against the Crusaders, and was understandably nervous.

"On the way up here she was sitting with me and she was freaking out," Cassie Rickrode said. "I told her, 'You're going to be fine, it's just like any other game.'"

"I was afraid to disappoint the seniors and I was afraid I was going to mess up," Maggie Rickrode added.

Neither Rickrode sister showed much nerves once the game started, as both contributed clutch hits in a 7-0 Delone win. The elder sister finished 2-for-3 with a walk while the younger Rickrode went 1-for-4 and hit the ball hard at outfielders two other times.

With the game tied 0-0 in the top of the third, both sisters contributed RBI singles in a three-run inning that helped break the game open. The Squirettes would add four runs in the top of the fifth to extend the lead.

But it was Cassie Rickrode's pitching and the Squirettes' defense that made the biggest difference in the game. The senior pitcher gave up three hits, zero walks and kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard.

"She always throws strikes, she doesn't walk anybody so they have to earn it," Delone head coach Don Smith said. "Years ago we never knew what to expect (from Delone's pitchers). A girl would throw five strikes in a row and then throw five balls in a row. It's real change having someone who always throws strikes."

Having gone 18-6 with a 1.64 ERA last season as a junior, Rickrode is used to having success in the circle. But what she isn't accustomed to is having her sister behind the plate.

Although Cassie and Maggie Rickrode have practiced together for years, Saturday was the first time the pair shared the field for an actual game.

"It was weird," Cassie Rickrode said. "That was literally the first game we've ever played together. She did really well."

Maggie Rickrode, who successfully threw out a runner attempting to steal second base in the second inning, said she surprised herself with her performance.

"I'm really proud of myself because I didn't expect myself to do that well," she said. "I thought that I would have more errors and I wouldn't hit the ball as hard as I did."

Senior third baseman Katie Laughman also had a standout performance going 2-for-3 with a walk, two doubles and two runs scored.

Coming off of a 20-6 season that included a District 3 Class AA title, the Squirettes entered this season with high expectations. Smith said he's stressed to the players that past success doesn't guarantee them anything.

"We may look good on paper but we've still got to prove it," Smith said. "(The players) all feel good about themselves, they feel they can perform."

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