For the last few years, Delone Catholic senior Deanna Laughman has praised the hitting and fielding skills of her younger sister Katie to Squirettes coach Don Smith.
"I've been telling him to be ready for this year," Deanna said.
Not only has Katie arrived, but so have two fellow freshmen: Shelbee Holcomb and Cassie Rickrode. The three spurred the Squirettes to a 12-3 home win Wednesday afternoon against Eastern York.
The younger Laughman and Holcomb combined to go 5-for-8 with four RBIs and two home runs, while Rickrode threw a complete game. The win was her third in as many days.
"The thing is she throws strikes and makes them put the ball in play," Smith said. "It's tough pitching in this kind of weather, but she's pitched three days in a row. She didn't lose any velocity."
After Rickrode worked around a hit batter for a scoreless first inning, the Squirettes (3-0) scored their first two runs. The elder Laughman led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Katie's single. Holcomb drove Laughman home with a triple.
The Squirettes scored twice more in the second before Holcomb and Rickrode added a solo and two-run home run, respectively, in a three-run third inning for a 7-0 lead.
The way Rickrode was pitching, that would be enough. She retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced and didn't allow a hit until Eastern's Erin Kalke led off the fourth with a single.
Golden Knights pitcher Sierra Arnold followed Kalke's hit with another single, advancing Kalke to third. Arnold stole second base, but Squirettes catcher Casara McCleaf's throw trickled into center field when no one covered. The error allowed Kalke to score.
Abby Caldwell added a two-run home run for the Knights in the fifth inning. By then, however, the Squirettes' freshman class had done too much damage.
Laughman and Holcomb hit third and fourth, respectively, for the Squirettes. The team didn't practice much outside, but when they did, those two performed well.
"They were the ones who hit the ball best so we had to put them out there," Smith said. "They came through."
Added Deanna: "I think all three freshmen are stepping up to the plate. I've never seen freshmen hit as well as they do in their first year. It's great to see. It's awesome. I feel we have a good lineup all the way through."
DELONE 12, EASTERN 3
Eastern 000 120 0 -- 3 4 1
Delone 223 104 x -- 12 17 1
EY, Sierra Arnold, Mariah Miller (6) and Erin Kalke; DC, Cassie Rickrode and Casara McCleaf. SO-BB -- Arnold 3-2, 1-2; Rickrode 6-2.W -- Rickrode; L -- Arnold. 2B -- DC, Deanna Laughman, Elizabeth Brillhart, Ariel Price; 3B -- DC, Price, Shelbee Holcomb; HR -- EY, Abby Caldwell; DC, Katie Laughman, Holcomb, Rickrode.