In a battle of division leaders, Littlestown overcame a trio of early errors and a two-run deficit to defeat Delone Catholic, 5-3, in YAIAA softball action Monday afternoon in McSherrystown.
Division IV leader Delone (9-2, 7-1) scored a run in the bottom of the first on Mikayla McCleaf's single, and then it broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of third when Shelbee Holcomb doubled home Katie Laughman. McCleaf reached on an error to plate Holcomb.
But Division III leader Littlestown (11-1, 8-0) had a pitcher that improved over the final four innings in McKenzie Somers. The senior didn't allow a hit after the third inning and retired 14 of the last 16 hitters that she faced. The only blemishes were a walk in the fourth and Holcomb reaching on an error in the seventh.
"She has a good screwball and a good curveball," Holcomb said of Somers. "She mixed her speeds well and hit her spots."
The Thunderbolts rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth with Somers tying the game with a two-run single just inside third base to score Amanda Dyson and Kaitlin Yealy. Jill Gauthier then singled home Vickie Skillman to push Littlestown ahead, 4-3.
"Jill has been great for us in the nine hole," Littlestown coach Jeff Laux said. "I think she has the highest batting average on the team, even though she hits ninth in the order. We've talked about possibly moving her up, but she seems so comfortable there, we don't want to mess with it."
Gauthier came through once again in the top of the sixth when she plated Kelsie Dews with a two-out single.
"There were runners on base, so I knew that I had a job to do," Gauthier said. "I tried to hit the ball where it was pitched and didn't try to do too much."
Somers threw 112 pitches, 74 strikes. All of Delone's runs were unearned and she yielded just three hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
"I was struggling a little bit early in the game. I left a few pitches up and it hurt me," Somers said. "I got in a groove during the middle of the game and carried it on to the end."
Delone starter Cassie Rickrode was solid in defeat as she allowed four earned runs and nine hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
While it could be the last time that Somers and Rickrode face each other in high school, there is the potential that they will meet up in college as both are headed to Centennial Conference schools. Somers is going to Gettysburg College and Rickrode is headed to McDaniel College.
"It's been fun competing against her for four years," Somers said of Rickrode. "It would be a lot of fun to face her in college, too."