The Spring Grove softball team lost a game on Monday afternoon.
But plenty of good things still happened for the Rockets.
At the top of that list, senior pitcher Erika Heck collected her 500th career strikeout. She's the second York County pitcher to reach that milestone this month, joining Kennard-Dale's Desi Joines.
In addition, Heck almost pitched the Rockets to an upset of unbeaten Lower Dauphin. Heck struck out 10 walked two in a complete-game eight-hitter against the visiting Falcons, who entered the game at 16-0 and as the top-ranked team in the District 3-AAAA power ratings.
Heck's strong effort, however, came up just a tad short in Spring Grove's 3-2 loss to Lower Dauphin.
Spring Grove, the York-Adams Division II leader, fell to 10-6 overall.
Heck got her milestone strikeout in the top of the first when she fanned an LD batter to end the inning.
The Falcons, however, broke through for two runs in the third, a rally that featured a hit, an error and a passed ball.
Spring Grove cut the margin to 2-1 in the fourth on a homer by freshman Hayley Norton. The Falcons pushed the edge back to two runs in the fifth on a double and a single. In the bottom of the fifth, Spring Grove got back to within one run at 3-2 on a triple by Jena Hull and a double by Nikki Filbey, but the Rockets couldn't plate the tying run.
Despite the loss, however, Heck believes the close loss to a powerful foe could be a good sign for her team.
"I think we played really well today," she said. "I thought we would get crushed because that team is first in the district. It just shows the girls that we can play with anybody. We've been down in the dumps recently and almost beating them looks pretty good. ... We want to win our league and win counties. That's our biggest goal right now. Plus we want to get into districts."
Heck knew she needed one strikeout entering Monday's game to reach the strikeout milestone, but she said she didn't feel nervous.
"I kind of forgot about it," she said, until she heard an announcement as she walked off the field after the first inning detailing her achievement.
Her coach, however, won't soon forget what Heck has meant to his program.
"She's very competitive," Rockets' coach Mark Hull said. "When she gets girls in scoring position, she can be very tough to hit. She may get in trouble by allowing runners to get into scoring position, but she really battles them."
Heck has compiled an impressive resume during her Spring Grove career, going 34-19 with a 1.75 ERA in addition to her 500-plus Ks in 355 innings.
This season, however, will likely be Heck's final competitive softball season after 11 years in the sport. She was offered spots on the Messiah and McDaniel softball teams, but has decided to instead focus on her academics in college. Heck plans to major in nursing at Messiah.
SOUTH WESTERN 7, KENNARD-DALE 6: At Hanover, the Mustangs won in eight innings. The Rams forced extra innings by plating six runs in the sixth to erase a 6-0 South Western lead. Sarah Bortner pitched a complete-game eight-hitter to get the win. She struck out nine and walked two. She was also 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and two RBIs. One of her doubles drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Sara Driggers had three hits for K-D, while Desi Joines pitched a complete game.
CENTRAL YORK 13, RED LAND 3: The host Panthers were led by starting pitcher Taylor Rohrbaugh, who held Red Land to three runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in a complete-game effort. Rohrbaugh also went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs. The Panthers (15-2 overall) had five other players with multiple hits.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 4, HANOVER 0: At Susquehannock, Sara Lynch led the Warriors to the York-Adams cross-over victory, striking out four and walking one to pick up the shutout. Jordan McGee and Courtney Wales each hit a double for the winners. For the Hawkettes, Laura Karstetter went 3-for-3.
CENTRAL DAUPHIN 8, WEST YORK 2: At Central Dauphin, the Bulldogs scored both of their runs in the top of the third to tie the game at 2-2, but the home team plated the final six runs to win the non-league matchup. Central Dauphin improved to 13-1 overall.
BIGLERVILLE 13, YORK SUBURBAN 12: Biglerville came back from an 11-7 deficit by scoring five runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh. The host Trojans scored a run in the bottom of the seventh but came up short.
-- Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com or at 854-1575, ext. 455.