Hitters' eye: Memorable games from YAIAA season
Well that went fast.
The 2016 softball season officially ended for Hanover-Adams teams yesterday, with Delone Catholic falling to Kutztown, 1-0, in the District 3 Class AA semifinals. While no Hanover-area baseball or softball teams qualified for the PIAA playoffs, four baseball teams (Spring Grove, Biglerville, Fairfield and Delone Catholic) and two softball (Delone Catholic, Littlestown) qualified for districts.
With the season now over here's a look at a few of the most memorable games played in both sports this season.
Littlestown 5, Delone Catholic 3, April 25 at Delone Catholic
After developing a pretty good rivalry last season, the Lady Bolts and Squirettes once again dominated the competition in their respective divisions in 2016. And with Delone's Cassie Rickrode and Littlestown's McKenzie Somers the best pitchers in the area, the matchup between the two teams was highly anticipated. As expected, both pitchers brought their A-games, with Somers not allowing an earned run and Rickrode striking out six. But with Delone leading by two in the top of the fourth, Somers helped herself out by tying the game with a two-run single. Jill Gauthier would then knock in the eventual winning run as Littlestown held on for a 5-3 win. With the league tournament format changing this year and the Division III and IV winners not playing in the semifinals, the two teams wouldn't play each other again.
Spring Grove 4, Susquehannock 2, April 27 at Susquehannock
It wasn't the easiest season for the Rockets, who struggled offensively after losing Haley Norton to graduation and ended up missing the District 3 playoffs by one spot. But on April 27 they managed to produce one of the season's bigger upsets when they beat eventual Division II champion Susquehannock, 4-2. Hailey Kessinger pitched six innings for the win and Julia Wivell closed the game out while also hitting a home run. It was only the second loss the Warriors had suffered up to that point.
Fairfield 3, York Catholic 2, May 23 at York Catholic, District 3 first round
The Green Knights had plenty of memorable wins this season, as they set a school record with 11 wins and qualified for the district playoffs for the first time since 2010. But their biggest one came on May 23, when they defeated division rival York Catholic, 3-2, to earn the first district playoff win in Fairfield history. Coleman Sachs tossed a complete game and fought out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to help the Knights hold on. It was Fairfield's second memorable win over York Catholic this season, following a 5-4 walk-off win May 5.
Biglerville 7, Delone Catholic 6, May 24 at Biglerville, District 3 first round
Every kid dreams about getting the game-winning hit in the final inning of a playoff game. Drawing the game-winning walk? Maybe not, but that's what Biglerville's Brandon Miller did against Delone Catholic in the Class AA opener. With the game tied and the bases loaded in the bottom of seventh, Miller battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before finally drawing ball four and scoring Connor Greist. The anticlimactic finish ended an entertaining game in which the lead changed multiple times. In the top of the seventh, Delone trailed by two and was down to its final strike before rallying to tie the game. The win advanced the Canners to the district quarterfinals, where they lost to Lancaster Catholic.
Spring Grove 7, West Perry 0, May 23 at West Perry, District 3 first round
The 2016 season didn't go as planned for Spring Grove or star pitcher Matt Brooks, as the Rockets fully expected to make it back to the state playoffs for a second straight season. But a wrist injury forced Brooks to miss the majority of the regular season, and Spring Grove limped into the district playoffs as a result. But in the first round against fourth-seeded West Perry, Brooks returned to the mound and gave up one hit in a complete-game performance. It was easily the highlight of the UNC Charlotte commit's season.