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Central York is the only softball team that's defeated Spring Grove in YAIAA Division I play this season.

While the teams' looming showdown Friday could determine the division champion, Rockets coach Mark Hull isn't looking that far ahead. Before that, Spring Grove has a pair of divisional road games against Red Lion on Monday and at New Oxford on Wednesday.

"We can't look past Red Lion or New Oxford. Red Lion isn't having a good year, but they're capable and New Oxford has an excellent pitcher (Alanna Molz)," Hull said. "But it would be nice to have a chance to face Central York for the division title."

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With identical 9-1 league records, the Rockets and Panthers are in the driver's seat in the division. Spring Grove beat Dallastown, 3-2, on Thursday, giving the Wildcats their third loss in division play. While it didn't eliminate them, they are now two games behind Spring Grove and Central with five division games to go.

Spring Grove has found success in the pitching circle with the combination of Hailey Kessinger, who went the distance in the circle in Thursday's victory, and Julia Wivell, who plays center field when she isn't pitching.

"Our pitching has really come together well with Julia and Hailey. We truly have a rotation where they alternate. We don't avoid using either of them against any team," Hull said. "I thought that we'd be competitive this season, but we're a better team than I expected us to be."

A pair of freshmen occupy the corners defensively in Hannah Gartrell (third base) and Hannah Shaffer (first base) and Hull said he has been pleasantly surprised with the contributions that the team has received from them.

"The two freshmen being as good as they've been has been big for us," Hull said. "They're part of the reason why we've exceeded my expectations. Being freshmen, you never know for sure what you're going to get."

The Rockets (10-2) currently sit in first place in the District 3 Class 5A power rankings where the Top 14 qualify for the district tournament. Central York is currently No. 4 in the Class 6A power rankings where 10 teams qualify.

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