MANCHESTER — After just missing out on the PIAA Class 5-A playoffs a season ago, it's no secret that the Northeastern softball team has big goals this year.
There’s no lack of confidence about it either.
Bobcat senior Haley Updegraff, who was the York-Adams Division II Player of the Year last season, left no wiggle room about where she thinks her team will end the 2019 campaign.
“We are going to make states,” Updegraff said definitively after her team claimed a 9-5 victory over Y-A Division I rival Central York Monday. “Districts is not even our goal, it’s states.”
Updegraff's standout play is only part of the reason that the Bobcats are optimistic this year. The shortstop, who finished with two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored from the leadoff spot in the victory over the defending Division I champion Panthers, can point to players such as Jiselle “Jiji” Castano and Belle Bortner as pivotal playmakers for the squad.
Castano, the team’s center fielder, drove in two runs while collecting two hits, while Bortner was terrific, except for a rough spot in the seventh, on the mound Monday.
“I think that we’re really honing in together as a team quickly this year,” said Castano, who is a sophomore. “(Last year) we kind of took a couple of losses when we should have won, but today we won.”
Breaking through vs. Panthers: Monday’s win was another bucket list item for Updegraff and her teammates. In her three previous years at Northeastern, Updegraff and the Bobcats had never beaten the Panthers, who are a traditional Y-A softball power.
“We haven’t beaten them at all,” she said. “Last year it was 3-0 against (former CY standout pitcher) Courtney (Coppersmith). I’m just so happy now that we finally beat them.”
Giving credit to coach: Castano and Updegraff give their coach, Dave Marsh, a lot of credit for getting the team to where it is now. Marsh, who used to coach field hockey at Central years ago, has been big with the psychological aspect of competing in sports.
“He really helps us a lot,” Updegraff said. “Just his pep talks and keeping our head in the game when we can tend to all go everywhere.”
Sometimes the normally laid-back Marsh will have to raise his voice to get an important point across to his team. The good news for the Northeastern girls is that Marsh hasn’t had to resort to that so far.
“He hasn’t yelled at us yet,” Updegraff said with a laugh. “Not yet, but we’ll see.”
Unbeaten in early going: If the Bobcats stay on their current course, that may not happen. Northeastern improved to 3-0 overall, including a 2-0 mark in the program’s first season in D-I. The team’s other divisional victory came against New Oxford, who is now in Division II. The Bobcats won D-II last season.
“The girls are excited,” Marsh said. “I know last year the girls asked me how I thought we would do if we were in Division I. Well, now we’ll find out. To start out (our Division I schedule) against Central and come away with a victory is a really good feeling.”
Bortner, who was the Division II Pitcher of the Year, allowed an early run in the first, but surrendered just five hits against a potent CY lineup. Only two of them came through the first six innings, with the Bobcats rallying to take a 3-1 lead in the third inning. The advantage grew to 9-1 heading into the seventh before the Panthers were able to plate four runs on three hits off the Bobcat right-hander.
Brynn Weigle collected two hits for the Panthers from the leadoff spot while scoring twice, including the first run of the contest. Kelcie Stonebraker also tallied a pair of hits while scoring a run for Central, which fell to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in D-I.
Susquehannock 20, York Suburban 0 (3 innings): At Suburban, Caroline Folfas pitched a three-inning one-hitter to get the win, striking out five without a walk. Anna Bryan (four RBIs, two hits, two runs), Folfas (two hits, four runs), Kelsey Gemmill (two hits, double, two RBIs, two runs) and Allyson Koller (two hits, double, three runs, RBI) paced the Warriors' 16-hit attack.
Kennard-Dale 15, West York 1 (5 innings): At West York, Lexie Kopko pitched a five-inning one-hitter, striking out five and walking four. At the plate she also had two hits, including a homer, with five RBIs and two runs scored. Alex Smith (three hits, three runs, two RBIs) and Alexis Hurley (three hits, two RBIs, run) also excelled for K-D's 15-hit attack.
Dallastown 8, South Western 6 (8 innings): At Dallastown, Elaina Winemiller belted a walkoff, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Wildcats the win. Winemiller finished with three hits (including two triples), four RBIs and two runs scored. Shauna Stotler (two hits, double, RBI) and Tessa Thompson (two hits, RBI) also excelled at the plate for the winners. Kelsie Merriman went the distance to get the win, allowing three earned runs and striking out 10.
Hanover 9, York Catholic 4: At York Catholic, Sierra Stevens led the Hawkettes by going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and one run scored. Also for Hanover, Haylee Mohan went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and two walks. For the Irish, Rebecca Baum went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored, while Grace Gardini had a solo homer.
Delone Catholic 15, York Tech 4 (5 innings): At McSherrystown, Lauren Little (four hits, triple, three RBIs, four runs), Kylie Funkhouser (three hits, double, three RBIs, four runs) and Katie Ernst (homer, double, four RBIs, two runs) powered Delone. Ze'Yone Hawkins (homer, two RBIs, two runs) paced Tech.
Spring Grove 5, Red Lion 1: At Red Lion, Hailey Kessinger pitched a complete-game six-hitter, striking out six, to get the win. Hannah Gartrell (two hits, triple, run) and Bailey Rapson (two RBIs) powered Spring Grove’s offense. The Rockets improved to 4-0 overall land 3-0 in York-Adams Division I.
Dallastown 2, South Western 1: At Dallastown, Cam Urey's one-out RBI bunt single in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Wildcats to the win. Alex Weakland got the win with 1 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout relief. Morgan Smith went the first 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and one run, while striking out five. Robby Brown had two hits for Dallastown (5-0 overall, 3-0 in York-Adams Division I) while Chase Hoecke doubled. Ethan Stalnecker took the loss, despite not giving up an earned run in 6 1/3 innings and allowing six hits. Zach Reed had two of South Western's five hits, while Aaron Fry doubled. The Mustangs dropped to 2-1 and 1-1.
Eastern York 2, Hanover 1: At Wrightsville, Justin Ranker's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth carried the Golden Knights to the win. Ranker had two hits on the day. Evan Rishell got the win with 1 1/3 innings of hitless, shutout relief. Eastern's Owen Shimmel started and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and zero earned runs, while striking out 10. Devin Peart started for Littlestown and went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on four hits.
West York 3, Kennard-Dale 2 (9 innings): At West York, Christian Futcher and Corey Wise hit sacrifice flies to spark a two-run bottom of the ninth and give the Bulldogs the win. Blaise Tanner (two hits, two runs), Justin Wetzel (two hits) and Trent Ketterman (two hits) led West York's 10-hit attack. Wetzel pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run, while striking out eight. Wise went 2 2/3 innings in relief, allowing one run, to get the win. K-D's Cole Sinnott pitched seven innings and gave up one run, striking out eight. Garrett Lowe (three hits, RBI) paced the Rams' offense.
Red Lion 6, Spring Grove 5: At Red Lion, Ben Price's RBI single capped a three-run bottom of the seventh to lift Red Lion to the win. Price also tripled and doubled and finished with two RBIs. Nathan Hodgkinson (two hits, triple, two runs, RBI) and C.J. Czerwinski (two hits, two runs) also excelled at the plate for Red Lion. Owen Sporer led Spring Grove with two hits, three RBIs and a run scored.
Susquehannock 8, York Suburban 4: At Suburban, Austin Ruth (3 2/3 innings) and Sam Gardner (two innings) combined for 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief. Ruth got the win. Ruth and Gardner each drove in two runs, as did Cole Weigard. Owen Bortner added two hits and one RBI, while CJ Munch had two hits and two runs scored. Weigard and Munch each doubled.
Central York 17, Northeastern 7 (6 innings): At Manchester, Ryan Pepler led the Panthers by going 3 for 3, including a triple and a double, with four runs scored, three RBIs and two walks. Also for Central, Landon Hess went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, Grant Smeltzer homered with five RBIs and two runs scored, Reid Hershner went 2 for 4 with one RBI and Josh Marquard and Michael Livingston each doubled. For the Bobcats, Spencer Rhoads had two doubles and two runs scored, Jacob Cederberg doubled with three RBIs and Jaden Hennel had two RBIs.
York Catholic 11, Hanover 0 (5 innings): At York, Nick Demarco (four RBIs, two hits, run) powered the Irish. Anthony Catterall (two hits, double, two runs, RBI) and Bryan Bullen (two RBIs) also excelled for York Catholic. Catterall started and pitched three three-hit shutout innings, striking out six. Chance Petteys added two one-hit shutout innings.
York Tech 17, Delone Catholic 9: At McSherrystown, Juan Lopez led the Spartans by going 4 for 4, including two doubles, with four runs scored and two RBIs. Also for Tech, Zadin Zorbaugh homered and doubled with five RBIs and three runs scored, Cam Schanberger went 2 for 4 (including a double) with three RBIs, Hunter Thomas tripled with three RBIs and two runs scored and Craig Summers doubled with two RBIs. For the Squires, Josh Sherdel went 3 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI.
Bermudian Springs 13, York High 11: At Small Field, the Eagles plated two runs in the top of the seventh to break the 11-11 tie. Tyler Reinert led the Eagles by going 3 for 4, including two doubles, with five RBIs and two runs scored. For the Bearcats, Bryan Seda Ramos went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and one RBI; Jose Alejandro Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with a double, one run scored and one RBI; Joseph Garabito Torres had a double, two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks; Dylan Rodriguez Ramos went 2 for 4 with one run scored and one RBI; and Erick Polanco Hernandez tripled with two RBIs and one run scored.
West York 4, Delone Catholic 1: At McSherrystown, the Bulldogs received singles victories from Augie Citrone, Jack Citrone and Jacob Landis. In doubles, Matt Fuentes and Griffin Conway combined to win a doubles match. West York improved to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in York-Adams Division II. Delone fell to 4-1 and 1-1.
Hanover 3, York Catholic 2: At Hanover, the Nighthawks received a singles victory from Jonny Martinez, while Owen Smith and Ben Newman won the No. 1 doubles match and Nick Shaw and John Ramirez won the No. 2 doubles match. For the Irish, Ethan Underwood and Nate Gingerich each captured a singles match.
Red Lion 5, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, the Lions received singles victories from Cameron Wheeler, Luke Zeidman and Luc Nadeau. Alex Schor and Chance Riddle captured the No. 1 doubles match, while Shreeji Patel and Alex Baldwin won the No. 2 doubles match.
Dallastown 5, New Oxford 0: At New Oxford, the Wildcats received straight-set singles victories from Holden Koons, Jonathan Burns and Sabastian May. Noah May and Hryan Saharan combined to win the No. 1 doubles match, while Jack Lynan and Cameron Koons combined to win the No. 2 doubles match. Dallastown improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Y-A D-I. New Oxford fell to 3-2 and 3-1.
Susquehannock 5, Littlestown 0: At Glen Rock, Andy Snyder, Marin Thomas and Billy Lochte earned straight-set singles wins.
Cumberland Valley 5, Central York 0: At Central York, the Panthers were unable to come up with a victory and dropped the non-league match.
South Western 5, Dover 0: At Dover, the Mustangs received straight-set singles victories from Derek Cracium, Alex Guy and Ryan Hanson.
Dallastown 3, Penn Manor 2: At Millersville, the Wildcats captured a 14-25, 25-20, 25-18, 16-25, 16-14 nonleague triumph. Jacob Horning (10 kills), Dylan Lawson (16 assists) and Cade Fry (nine assists) paced the Wildcats.
New Oxford 12, York Suburban 5: Kamille Wasilewski scored four goals in a losing cause, while Tara Vo made 10 saves. Eryn Little’s five goals paced New Oxford.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.