WRIGHTSVILLE — Eastern York softball coach Brad Rohrbaugh has been around the sport a long time.
Twenty-nine years, to be exact.
Over the course of that time, the Golden Knights skipper never really gave much thought about leading the program to the state playoffs.
When Rohrbaugh and his team finally found their way to the PIAA postseason back in the spring of 2017, however, the veteran coach couldn’t believe how much fun it was.
Now, just two years removed from that experience, Rohrbaugh is hopeful that his 2019 squad has what it takes to give the Eastern boss a chance to have a little more fun.
With more than half of that team still around for their senior seasons in 2019, Rohrbaugh knows that his squad is capable of getting to states. His players only need one thing — belief in themselves.
After dropping a sloppy regular-season opener Tuesday against reigning York-Adams League Division I champion Central York, the Knights rebounded with an inspired effort against another Y-A Division I contender in Dallastown on Wednesday. Behind a strong effort from starter Maelynn Leber and big night at the plate by Morgan Dobbeck, the Knights earned a 3-2 triumph.
“This group of kids is really special for me,” Rohrbaugh said, noting that seven of his starters Wednesday were part of that team two years ago. “One of your highest (goals) is to get to states and the ultimate goal is to win states. And they took this coaching staff along with them (to states), and I never even thought about the possibility of making it states. And that was fun. It’s every coach’s dream.”
Good first step: While it is much too early to make any predictions about where the Knights will be two months from now, the victory over Dallastown was certainly a good first step. Leber held the Wildcats to two runs over six innings, while Dobbeck collected two hits and scored two runs.
Just as important, however, was the work of Morgan Estes. Just a freshman, Estes relieved Leber to pitch the final inning and retired the top of the Wildcats lineup in order.
“She’s just a ninth-grader and new to program,” Rohrbaugh said. “She actually floats between varsity and JV, and we put her into a situation that I don’t know that many girls want to be in, but she came through huge.”
While Leber, Dobbeck and Estes all played key roles in Wednesday’s victory, what really brought a smile to the Eastern coach’s face is what he heard from his players after the game.
“They said, ‘we all contributed,'” Rohrbaugh said. “And they really did. Our defense tonight was absolutely unbelievable. That last ball that Amber Forry caught for us, which was the last out, really saved the game for us.”
The triumph is also something that Rohrbaugh hopes will propel his team to greater success as the season moves on.
“I just hope that they all take a minute and say to themselves, ‘hey, that was Dallastown over there,'” he said. “I sure am hoping that this helps them believe in themselves.”
Rohrbaugh’s sentiments were nearly identical to the ones that Dallastown coach Leanne Potts-Jones conveyed about her squad, which returns a solid battery in pitcher Kelsie Merriman and catcher Allison Hoffman.
“I honestly believe that they just need to believe in themselves,” she said of her team. “And then they’ll be good to go.”
Merriman struck out eight over six innings while scattering six hits, three of which came during a two-run first by the Knights.
Kennard-Dale 10, York Tech 0 (5 innings): At Fawn Grove, Lexie Kopko led the Rams, going 2 for 2 at the plate, including a triple, to go with three RBIs, four runs scored and two walks. Also for K-D, Crystal Mullins went 2 for 4 with a double and one RBI, Brooke Ashenfelter doubled and Alexis Hurley threw a five-inning shutout, striking out seven and walking one.
Central York 6, New Oxford 3: At New Oxford, Sarah White pitched a complete-game five-hitter to get the win, striking out three, while allowing two earned runs. Anna Saylor (three hits, three RBIs, two runs), Emma Keller (three hits, RBI), Natalie Craig (two hits, two runs) and Briana Smith (two hits, RBI, run) led the Central attack.
West York 10, York Catholic 5: At West York, Bre Harvey led the Bulldogs by going 3 for 4 with one run scored. Also for West York, Alexis Colon went 2 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored and one RBI, while Kourtney Hartzel went 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Hartzel also threw a complete game, striking out seven, walking one and allowing three earned runs. For the Irish, Rebecca Baum went 2 for 3, including a double, with one run scored and one RBI, while Kelleigh Pollock went 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored.
Spring Grove 16, Susquehannock 2 (5 innings): At Glen Rock, Hannah Gartrell powered the Rockets by going 3 for 4 at the plate, including a double, with three runs scored and one RBI. Also for the Rockets, River Schneeman homered with three RBIs and two runs scored, Krysten Moore had two doubles and two RBIs, Bailey Rapson had a double, two RBIs and two runs scored and Sarah Jones tripled, with one run scored and two RBIs. For the Warriors, Kendra Gemmill homered with two RBIs and one run scored.
South Western 15, York Suburban 1 (5 innings): At Suburban, Kendall Snyder led the Mustangs by going 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Teammate Ryleigh Sprague went 2 for 3 with three runs scored.
Dallastown 15, Gettysburg 3 (6 innings): At Gettysburg, the visitors rolled behind Julian Bailey (three hits, double, two RBIs), Cam Urey (two hits, three runs, RBI), Cole Bankert (two RBIs, hit, run), Chase Hoecke (double, two runs, RBI) and Peter Capobianco (three RBIs, run, hit). Morgan Smith got the complete-game win, allowing two earned runs, while striking out six and walking one.
Red Lion 13, Dover 1: At Dover, C.J. Czerwinski pitched a complete-game three-hitter to get the win, striking out 10 and walking one. Cole Daugherty (three hits, homer, three runs, two RBIs), Czerwinski (two hits, homer, four RBIs, run), Ben Price (two hits, three runs, RBI) and Nate Hodgkinson (three hits, double, two RBIs) led the Lions' attack. Andrew Chronister doubled and drove in Dover's run.
Central York 3, New Oxford 2: At New Oxford, Grant Smeltzer started the game on the mound, throwing 5 2/3 innings while allowing three hits and two runs, striking out two and walking two, to pick up the win. Smeltzer also helped himself at the plate by going 1 for 2 with one RBI and one walk. Teammate Landon Ness threw the final 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief to record the save.
West York 6, York Catholic 3: At West York, Justin Wetzel allowed one earned run over six innings to get the win, striking out six, while allowing two hits and four walks. Corey Wise (hit, two RBIs, run), Jeff Minot (hit, two RBIs), Trent Ketterman (two hits) and Christian Fletcher (hit, two runs) led the Bulldogs' offense. Luke Kordaz had two hits and an RBI for the Irish.
Biglerville 2, Eastern York 1: At Wrightsville, Evan Rishell pitched well for Eastern, allowing just two hits and no earned runs over six innings, striking out 10 and walking four. Emmit Silar had three hits (including a homer) with an RBI and run scored for the Golden Knights. Ben Bretzman pitched a complete game for Biglerville, striking out eight and walking one while allowing seven hits.
Delone Catholic 6, York High 2: At York, Kyle Denisch pitched four innings and allowed two runs to get the win. Jake Sherdel pitched three innings of shutout relief to get the save. Denisch struck out seven and Sherdel struck out four. Avery Kuntz (two hits, two runs, RBI), Josh Sherdel (double, two RBIs, run) and Jake Sherdel (double, run) led Delone's offense.
South Western 4, York Suburban 2 (9 innings): At Suburban, the Mustangs plated two runs in the top of the ninth. Ty Cromer led the Mustangs, going 1 for 2 with two RBIs and one run scored. Teammate Zach Reed threw three innings of relief, striking out seven, walking one and allowing no hits or runs to pick up the win. For the Trojans, pitchers Spencer Butz and Dawson Wood combined for three strikeouts and four walks, while allowing one earned run. Teammate Max Reinecker went 2 for 4.
Kennard-Dale 12, York Tech 0 (5 innings): At Fawn Grove, Jason Williams led the Rams by going 3 for 3, including a homer and a double, to go with two RBIs and two runs scored. Also for K-D, Garrett Lowe went 2 for 3, with a double, two runs scored and one RBI; Collin Griffin went 2 for 3 with one RBI and one run scored; and Cole Sinnott threw a five-inning no-hitter, striking out nine and walking none.
Susquehannock 6, Spring Grove 3: At Glen Rock, Sam Gardner led the Warriors by throwing five innings, striking out seven and walking two. He allowed four hits and no-earned runs to pick up the win. Also for the Warriors, Josh Schmidt went 2 for 2 with one RBI and one stolen base, Ben Moronic went 2 for 3 with one run scored and two stolen bases and Joe Gusherowski doubled. For the Rockets, Kevin Cruz and Dylan Shaffer each doubled.
Central York 5, Dover 0: At Dover, the Panthers received singles victories from Jacob Stewart, Alex Arrow and Michael Gilliland. In doubles, Ian Jones and Jadon Nardo combined to win the No. 1 match, while Thomas Elder and Grant Sommer combined to win the No. 2 match.
New Oxford 5, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, the Colonials received singles victories from Justin Gruver, Brian Klunk and Michael Pagnanelli.
Gettysburg 4, Susquehannock 1: At Glen Rock, the visitors received singles victories from Drew Heinzelmann, Kwaku Berry, and Noe Oberholtzer-Hess. Josh Amara and Lucas Reck combined to win the No. 2 doubles match for the home team.
Biglerville 4, York Catholic 1: At Springettsbury Township, the Canners received straight-set singles victories from Noah Mattson and Aaron Orndorff. For the Irish, Joe Zelis won a singles match.
York Suburban 25, West Shore Christian 1: At Suburban, Kamille Wasilewski led the Trojans with 11 goals and one assist. Also for Suburban, Lulu Mooney had five goals and one assist, Regan Good had three goals, Julia Stell had two goals and two assists and Sofia Corto had one goal and two assists.