WRIGHTSVILLE -- There aren't many softball teams in the York-Adams League that can get consistent contributions from players up and down the lineup.
Over the first part of the 2013 season, that certainly applied to the Eastern York Golden Knights. Coach Brad Rohrbaugh's team had its regular standouts at the top of the lineup, but the bottom was a different story.
Then came this week.
The Knights have seemed to find a magical elixir that cured those woes.
Eastern earned come-from-behind wins on Tuesday over York Tech and on Wednesday against Littlestown. Eastern rallied from a 15-8 deficit after five innings vs. Tech, and then prevailed with a walk-off victory over the Bolts on an RBI single in the seventh.
Thursday afternoon, Rohrbaugh's club did it one more time against Division III-leading Kennard-Dale. The Knights sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run second inning and handed the Rams their first loss in divisional play with a 7-4 triumph.
Eastern improved to 9-2 in the league (9-6 overall) with the victory. The Rams fell to 9-1 in divisional play and 9-5 overall.
"It was a huge game for us," Rohrbaugh said. "The girls are finally coming together as a unit. If you look at tonight's scorebook, you'll see that the top of the order through the bottom of the order brought runs across."
Katie Sollenberger, the team's No. 6 hitter, clubbed two singles, while Leanne Lagowski, who follows Sollenberger in the lineup, drove in two runs with a big triple in the second frame.
While the Knights took advantage of opportunities in the second, the same couldn't be said for the Rams. K-D managed to score just one run in the first off Eastern starter Sierra Arnold despite have the bases loaded with just one out.
"We all know how that feels," Rohrbaugh said. "It takes a lot of wind out of you. Especially when it happens in the first inning."
The visitors had plenty of chances against Arnold throughout the game, a fact that disappointed K-D coach Greg Coulton. The Rams collected 10 hits in the loss but were just 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"Too many swings and misses," Coulton said. "Our hitting wasn't disciplined and we didn't run the bases well either. We have to be more disciplined at the plate."
After K-D pitcher Julia D'Arrigo retired the first batter of the second, the home team did its damage with seven of their eight base hits for the contest to take the lead for good.
The damage could have been worse had it not been for a couple of outstanding plays by the K-D defense. Center fielder Nicole McCleary threw out a runner trying to score on a single and another runner at third trying to advance the extra base on a single.
D'Arrigo settled down after that and allowed just a run-scoring single to Sollenberger in the sixth. She struck out five and walked five.
Arnold somehow managed to keep the Rams at bay despite giving them a slew of opportunities. In addition to the 10 hits allowed, she walked two, while her defense was charged with two errors.
The loss, while obviously satisfying for Rohrbaugh's club, however, won't mean a lot unless they continue their hot play into next week. The Knights have big games against Central York and Bermudian Springs before paying the Rams a visit next Thursday in what could be the game that decides the Division III title.
"We had a big win last night (against Littlestown)," Rohrbaugh said. "And that set the tone for today's game. We have Central on Monday and that's huge. I love the competition and I love our schedule. I think our girls are coming to their peak at just the right time."
FAIRFIELD 6, YORK CATHOLIC 4 (9 INNINGS): At York Catholic, Meagan Leckemby hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to secure the victory for the Green Knights. For the Irish, Carrie Fix pitched a complete game, while striking out 11 and walking four.
YORK TECH 24, BIGLERVILLE 8: At Biglerville, the Spartans jumped out to a 16-0 lead after the top of the first and went to capture the victory. Abby Polakoff, Dani Aikens, Cheyenne Fulcher, Toni Warms and Alex Boie each connected for a double. Tech picked up its first victory on the season.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.