SOFTBALL: Donegal downs Lampeter-Strasburg, 3-1
For Donegal shortstop Rachel Robinson, Thursday's victory over rival Lampeter-Strasburg wasn't about to get away.
Never mind the fact that Robinson's relay throw to the plate - coming precisely one half-inning after she launched a two-run homerun in the bottom of the fifth - sailed well over the backstop.
"Don't even go and tell me about that," Robinson laughed. "Somebody yelled 'home', and the ball was wet you have to move on, and we did."
Thursday's 3-1 win does indeed move the Lady Indians onward, but more importantly ahead of, the Lady Pioneers and their standout pitcher Jordan Weaver in the L-L Section Three standings.
Coming to the plate with one-on and one-out in the fifth, Robinson blasted Weaver's offering to left, her liner traveling well beyond the remnant foul pole of the formerly fenced-in softball field.
"It was a 3-1 count, so I saw it, hit it, and I ran as fast as I could," said Robinson, a sophomore, who now has three homeruns on the season.
The homerun chased to the plate fellow sophomore Emily Graham (3BB's, 3 stolen bases), who recently took over leadoff duties from none other than Robinson (1-for-2, 2RBIs, sacrifice).
"We needed to get (Robinson) in the three spot with her power," said Donegal head coach Wayne Emenheiser. "It was a matter of finding someone who can do the job at one and two. (Graham) has done a great job and so has (freshman Savanna) Kolenda in the two spot, bunting and stuff, so it's been a nice change."
What hasn't changed since the last time Donegal (7-1, 5-0 Section Three) and L-S (5-1, 4-1) faced off against one another, aside from the genuine comradery between the two schools, is the stellar pitching matchup between Weaver and Indians' sophomore in the circle Makyla Yoder.
Each pitcher finished the contest with 8 strikeouts but struggled with control in the damp, chilly weather of early April.
Weaver walked four batters and hit another, with three of those walks coming to Graham leading-off the first, third, and fifth innings. The Indians took advantage in the third with the help of a Pioneers' error and Yoder's sacrifice fly, giving herself a 1-0 lead.
Yet aside from Robinson's homerun, Weaver allowed just one other base hit, a pop-up bunt by Kolenda (1-for-3) that landed in no-man's-land in the first inning.
Meanwhile, Yoder escaped the second through fifth innings with a lone baserunner in each, but ran into trouble in the sixth. Pioneers' freshman Hannah Garber (2-for-4, run) led off the inning with a triple to left centerfield, ultimately scoring on Robinson's error.
Two more errors and a walk nearly helped bring in more L-S runs, but Robinson caught lead runner Jordyn Kondras at third after Kondras was too aggressive rounding the bag.
With two outs in the seventh, a walk to junior Bri Garber and a single by younger sister Hannah renewed the Pioneers' opportunity. By Yoder struck-out Kondras on a high riser to end the game in the Indians' favor.
"In some hitting situations that we were in, (Yoder) made some really quality pitches," said L-S head coach Tim Shoff. "I thought that was the difference. Having said that, we had some young hitters in there the first time facing her, a freshman and sophomores, so I thought it was a good experience for them. It was good for us to see that kind of pitching."
It was a welcome change for both teams, both of which were on the winning side of a slew of routs early on in the season.
But as the players seem to know, Thursday's contest was likely just an appetizer for what's in store on May 4th, the final day of the regular season, when Donegal travels to L-S with, potentially, the Section Three title on the line.
"(Winning) feels great, but we can't be satisfied," Robinson said. "We have a lot of games to go, and they're going to be hungry when we play them again, so we have to be ready."
Because this year, neither team wants to view the Section Three title as the one that got away.
Girls High School Softball
L-L Section Three
Donegal 3, Lampeter-Strasburg 1
LS 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 -- 1 5 1
DON 0 0 1 0 2 0 x -- 3 2 3
WP-M. Yoder; LP-J. Weaver
K-BB-J. Weaver (6IP, 8K, 4BB, HB) and K. Weaver; M. Yoder (7IP, 8K, 3BB) and R. Mummau
2B-D. Groff (LS)
3B-H. Garber (LS)
HR-R. Robinson (DON