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Littlestown's Somers has Delone Catholic's number in softball win

The Littlestown Thunderbolts built on the bragging rights they gained earlier in the season, earning a season sweep over rivals Delone Catholic with a 6-1 win Tuesday in YAIAA softball crossover action.

"You wanna beat your neighbors," Littlestown head coach Henry Wardrop said. "You want to be able to go into the store and say, 'Hey, we beat you.' All in good spirit, of course."

Junior pitcher McKenzie Somers helped make that a reality for the Thunderbolts. On a day of impressive performances for Littlestown (11-2, 9-1 Division III), Somers stood out, pitching a two-hitter and striking out 11. Somers did not issue a walk.

"We're all really good friends, so it feels great to beat them, but then again, it doesn't, because we are friends," Somers said.

She's now 2-0 against Delone (8-4, 7-2 Division IV) this year, with 18 strikeouts and one walk.

"She was very efficient," Wardrop said. "She's a terrific kid, and she pitches her heart out."

The dominance started early, as Somers struck out her counterpart and Delone's cleanup hitter, Cassie Rickrode, to end the first inning.

She retired MiKayla McCleaf on just three pitches to start the second, and then ended the inning by blowing a fastball past Hannah Friedline.

It became clear in the first inning that the home plate umpire was going to give several inches off both sides of the plate, and both pitchers adjusted and took advantage.

"As soon as the strike zone widened, I really tried to work the ball off the corner," Somers said. "It benefitted both pitchers, helping us stay in the game and the count."

"Once you figure it out, both pitchers and hitters work the strike zone," Wardrop said.

Somers helped her cause with the bat in the bottom of the second, when she led off with a single.

Her courtesy runner, Danielle Payne, made it to third on a pair of groundouts before Vickie Skillman fought off a two-strike pitch for an end-of-the-bat single up the middle to make it 1-0.

Somers pitched around an error to post a scoreless third.

The only hitter she had trouble with in the game was Shelbee Holcomb, who recorded both Delone hits.

"I just couldn't get her out," Somers said with a smile.

Holcomb led off the fourth, and stroked a chest-high, inside pitch over the wall in left field to tie the game.

"It definitely feels good to overcome the obstacle of the fence," Holcomb said. "You can hit it over someone's head and make them run, but when you hit it over the fence, you've overcome an obstacle."

Undaunted, Somers retired the next 12 batters to end of the game.

"I think other people were having trouble with her speed," Holcomb said. "We've seen some slow pitchers recently. Everyone has to learn to adjust to the faster pitchers."

"I just stayed strong mentally after she hit the bomb, and I just kept going at them," Somers said.

Littlestown went right back to work in the bottom of the inning.

Kaitlin Yealy walked, and Somers smacked the second of her three hits.

The next four batters each drove in a run: Kelsey Dews doubled, Jill Gauthier grounded out and Skillman and Lindsay Snyder singled.

Joining Somers with a three-hit day was Michaela Yealy, who recently was moved to the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

"I finally got smart enough to figure it out," Wardrop quipped. "She's been hitting well. I wanted to try it, and it's paid off.

Littlestown 6, Delone Catholic 1

Delone Catholic0001000—122Littlestown010410x—6121

DC, Cassie Rickrode and Lauryn King. Lt, McKenzie Somers and Amanda Dyson.

SO-BB — DC, Rickrode 4-2. Lt, Somers 11-0; W — Somers; L — Rickrode; 2B — Lt, Kelsey Dews; HR — DC, Shelbee Holcomb.