D3 softball: Delone, Dallastown look to stay hot
And then there were two.
The YAIAA was represented by seven softball teams at the beginning of the District 3 playoffs, but only Delone Catholic and Dallastown remain standing after Thursday's quarterfinals. Both teams reached the semifinals of their respective classifications on Tuesday.
Here's a quick preview of both teams' games:
Delone Catholic (17-3) vs. Kutztown (15-6), 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Millersville University: The Squirettes have been waiting for this moment all season. After winning the District 3 title last year and bringing back most of their key players, Delone Catholic entered 2016 expecting to go on another deep playoff run. Now, head coach Don Smith and the Squirettes are one win away from their third straight trip to the state playoffs. And with Cassie Rickrode, Katie Laughman and Shelbee Holcomb all graduating, they certainly don't want to let this opportunity slip away.
The second-seeded Squirettes have a tough matchup against No. 3 Kutztown, and they could be in for a battle if they don't hit better than they have lately. Delone has scored a combined seven runs over its last two games, and Kutztown held No. 6-seed Upper Dauphin to just one run in a quarterfinal win. After the Squirettes' 5-2 win over Oley Valley on Thursday, Smith said the team "can hit a little better."
Even if the game is low-scoring, Delone should be in a good position with Rickrode in the circle. The senior led the Squirettes through the playoffs last season and has been terrific all year. The pressure of the situation shouldn't bother her.
Dallastown (18-2) vs. Penn Manor (21-3), 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at York College: With Central York winning Division I and the YAIAA title this season, it was easy to forget about Dallastown. Nobody is overlooking the Wildcats now, and Thursday's 6-0 win over Wilson has already guaranteed them a spot in the state playoffs.
How will they fare against No. 3-seeded Penn Manor on Tuesday? It's hard to say. The Wildcats are the seventh seed and may have been fortunate to get No. 15 Wilson in the quarters, but this year's tournament has been a little wacky, with three of the top-six seeds losing in the first round. And with the Wildcats having won 10 in a row, they've got a shot against anyone.
However the game shakes out, expect a first-rate pitching performances from both teams. Dallastown's ace is senior Jaelynn Harbold, while Penn Manor has relied on Brittany Hook. Both girls have the talent and experience to carry their teams.