EMIGSVILLE — Sara Lynch may not be the hardest thrower out on the mound, but the Susquehannock senior softball pitcher knows she has a pretty good defense behind her.
Host Central York found that out Thursday afternoon when the Panthers hosted the Warriors in a York-Adams League showdown. The Panthers continually put the ball in play off the Susquehannock standout, but the Warrior defense often turned those balls into outs.
That was a perfect recipe for Lynch, who recorded her first complete game of the season. The Warrior pitcher struck out just two, but only surrendered six hits.
Teammates Maddy Staub and Megan Rogers did the rest, combining for five hits, three runs scored and three RBIs to help the visitors claim a 5-2 victory.
"I just try to keep it in play and allow our defense to work," said Lynch, who added two hits and was on base three times offensively. "I know that I have my defense behind me so I don't have anything to worry about."
Susquehannock coach Dan Mercadante has been rotating pitchers throughout most games so far this year. He didn't have to Thursday. Lynch was mowing through the Panther lineup.
"We try to split it up," said Mercadante, whose club improved to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in Division II. "But, to Sara's credit, she pitched absolutely wonderful today."
Lynch was afforded the luxury of pitching with the lead throughout the day. The Warriors cashed in for two early runs off Central starter Taylor Rohrbaugh. After an error allowed catcher Lily Yoakum to reach, a double by Staub and a single by Rogers put the visitors ahead 2-0.
"It's awesome to get that early lead," Lynch said. "But to hold on to it was even better."
The Panthers got a run back in the first when a Rohrbaugh fly ball to right was misplayed. Lynch, however, then shut the door, retiring 11 of the next 12 batters she faced.
"We knew they were a pretty disciplined, well-coached team," Central coach Scott Walker said. "They weren't going to beat themselves and, quite frankly, we made as many errors today as we probably did for the whole season. Couple those two things together and it's a recipe (for defeat)."
Walker, though, couldn't fault his team's approach in the batter's box.
"We're hitting the ball hard," he said. "Everybody is making contact. Strikeouts are at a minimum. And those are the good things. Eventually those balls will find a hole."
Susquehannock broke open the game in the fifth with a three spot. Another double by Staub, who is hitting around .700 for the season after going 3-for-4, was followed by RBI singles from Rogers and Madi Shockey. Megan Green knocked in Shockey with a double to extend the lead to 5-1.
Central scored its final run in the bottom of the frame when Angie Delise singled in Rachel Butler.
The Panthers brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the seventh but couldn't cash in. Back-to-back singles from Delise and Kayla Resh were wasted when Lynch got Ali Dziwis to ground out to short to end the contest.
"This was awesome," Lynch said. "I've been OK most of the year, but today I did really well."
The Panthers dropped to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in Division I. Despite that, Walker isn't about to hit the panic button, even after a loss to division-leading Dallastown (11-1, 7-1) last week in addition to Thursday's defeat.
"We have a very solid team," Walker said. "And there's no doubt in my mind that we will bounce back."
York Suburban 4, Eastern York 3: At Suburban, Olivia Eytcheson belted a two-out, two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Suburban to the victory. She also doubled in the game. Eytcheson was also the winning pitcher, going the distance and only allowing five hits. She struck seven, walked two and did not allow any earned runs. Sierra Anrold also pitched a complete game for Eastern. Mariah Miller had two hits, including a double, for Eastern. Kaitlynn Sollenberger also had two Eastern hits.
Dallastown 11, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, Kayla Merriman pitched a four-hit shutout in a game that ended after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. She had nine strikeouts and two walks. Haylee Anders had four hits for the winners, including a double and a triple. Maggie Noll added three hits. Dallastown improved to 11-1 overall, while K-D fell to 9-3.
Northeastern 7, East Pennsboro 2: At Enola, Alli Sweitzer pitched a complete-game six-hitter to get the win. She struck out six without a walk. Katelynn Reed went 2-for-3 for the winners, including a homer, to go with two RBIs.
Hanover 12, York Tech 5: Lauren Smith nailed two home runs and Desiree McKinsey went 3-for-3 to lead Hanover.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.