Central York hands Susquehannock its first loss
One team did a lot of little things right. The other had a few missed opportunities and miscues.
That in a nutshell sums up the YAIAA softball showdown between undefeated Division I leader Central York and undefeated Division II leader Susquehannock Monday.
Central York was able to parlay two big innings into a 7-2 win at Central York High School and remain unbeaten on the season.
"This was a good win for us," said senior pitcher Rachel Butler. "We still have some tough games ahead, but this far into the season it is exciting to be where we are."
Central York (14-0, 9-0 Division I) broke the game open and erased a one-run Susquehannock lead in the bottom of the fourth with a four-run, nine-batter rally. The Panthers scored a run on a delayed steal, another on a safety squeeze bunt and two on a two-out base hit to center by senior left fielder Cheyenne Miller.
"We were fortunate," said Central York coach Shane Walker. "We executed in spots where we needed to. We had a couple of mistakes along the way too. Higher-pressure situations can lead to that. I don't think the score probably indicates how close these two teams are."
The Panthers added three more runs in the home half of the sixth on one hit. Junior right fielder Karly Fink scored on a fielder's choice while both junior Madelyne Snider and sophomore shortstop Erin Cabry scored on a throwing error. It was one of three Susquehannock errors in the game.
"We didn't play well on defense," Susquehannock coach Jeff Deardorff said. "Had a couple of errors, but also had a couple of mental mistakes. You don't see those in the (score) book. That hurt us."
That was more than enough run support for Butler. The left-hander scattered nine hits. She struck out six and walked one.
"(Susquehannock) is a tough team," Butler said. "My pitching wasn't the best, but our fielding was awesome. (Susquehannock) hit me a little bit, but my fielders really backed me up and did everything they could do."
Susquehannock (11-1, 8-1 Division II) twice left the bases loaded during the first three innings as Butler and her defense were able to escape jams. The Warriors had at least one hit in five different innings and wound up leaving nine runners stranded on base. Five runners were in scoring position with less than two outs.
"We couldn't get hits when we needed to," Deardorff said. "I'd like to see (Central York) again and maybe see what we can do if we play a little better defense and get some timely hits. (Central York) played well. Give them credit. But I think we can play with them. It just wasn't our day."
The Warriors got a run in the third as speedy center fielder Mallory Lebo looped a 60-foot double down the left-field line and scored on a single by No. 2 hitter Lily Yoakum. Pitcher Madison Staub scored in the fifth on a sac fly by No. 5 hitter Anna Bryan.
Susquehannock loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but the game ended when Central York catcher Briannah Dobson picked off a Warriors base runner at first base.
The game not only featured the last two unbeaten softball programs in the YAIAA this spring but two of the top teams in District 3 at the moment. Susquehannock entered the game as the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA while Central York trailed a one-loss Lower Dauphin team by .013 for the top spot in the Class AAAA rankings.