WRIGHTSVILLE — The majority of dominant softball pitchers throw hard.
But not all of them.
Some pitchers can confuse hitters by changing speeds and hitting their marks.
Susquehannock senior Maddie Staub fits perfectly into the latter category. While it always looks as if she is gearing up to throw every pitch at 100 mph, her best pitch isn’t her fastball.
The Eastern York softball team can attest to that.
Using a change-up that she has perfected under the tutelage of former Warrior star Megan Sheaf, Staub kept the Golden Knights off balance throughout Monday afternoon’s clash between playoff contenders.
The home team managed just two hits — both off the bat of Emily Smith — against Staub. The Susquehannock offense, conversely, pounded out 12 hits and took advantage of four Eastern errors that propelled them to a 13-0 triumph.
The Warriors improved to 6-0 on the season while the Knights fell to 4-2 overall.
“I’ve really, really practiced (the change-up) a lot to try to perfect it,” said Staub, who struck out seven to pick up the victory. “It can be deadly.”
Very few balls were hit hard against Staub, which is clearly the reason her catcher, Lily Yoakum, loves to catch her classmate.
“It’s my favorite one to call,” said Yoakum, who led the Warriors with three hits, three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. “I love it. We’ve been together since we were swinging in diapers.”
Staub’s work with Sheaf hasn’t been nearly as long, but the time has certainly paid off. Sheaf, a former two-time state champion at Susquehannock a decade ago, worked with Staub for her first couple of seasons with the varsity team before moving on from coaching.
The lessons Staub learned, however, will never be forgotten.
“She’s good,” Staub said. “She’s working now (elsewhere) this year so she doesn’t have a lot of time now.”
While Staub may arguably be the best pitcher in the York-Adams League, she hasn’t had to face a lot of adversity so far this year. Monday was no exception. Her team put up three runs in the first inning to set the tone. That’s comforting, considering that no opponent so far has managed to score more than three runs against Staub all season.
“That’s really nice,” Staub said. “I love having cushion runs. It just takes all of the stress out of pitching.”
Despite the final score, the contest wasn’t nearly the laugher one would think. After falling behind 3-0 before recording a single out, the Knights trailed just 4-0 after five frames. But then miscues, walks and hard-hit balls piled up in the final two frames, when the visitors scored a combined nine runs.
“They came out with a purpose,” said Eastern coach Brad Rohrbaugh, whose team started the season 4-0 before suffering an 11-0 setback to Division I power Central York last week. “They have a bit of an older team and I have a lot of youth. We didn’t hit the ball well, but she (Staub) really spotted her ball well. But I’m not disappointed in the kids that I have.”
The Warriors received two-hit performances from five of their nine starters. Mallory Lebo, Staub, Megan Green and Kristi Langhans each tallied a pair of hits, with Staub driving in three runs and Lebo and Langhans driving in two.
Dover 13, Northeastern 3: At Manchester, Dover's Taylor Lamparter excelled on the mound and at the plate. The game was ended in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule. In five innings, Lamparter struck out seven, walked two and gave up three hits. She was also 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs. Cassandra Root (3 for 4, four RBIs, triple, double), Alyssa Lawton (3 for 4, RBI, stolen base), Jordan Baum (3 for 3, RBI, triple), Meghan Goodman (2 for 3) and Abby Diehl (two RBIs) also excelled at the plate for Dover. Northeastern's Peyton Eckenrode tripled. Dover improved to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in York-Adams Division II.
Kennard-Dale 12, Biglerville 1: At Biglerville, the Rams scored six times in the top of the fourth to pace themselves to the blowout win. Alexis Valentine picked up the win for K-D, striking out five and only allowing four hits in the complete game.
Big Spring 4, West York 0: At Big Spring, the Bulldogs were shut out by Big Spring in the non-league battle. West York fell victims to a three-run bottom of the fourth by Big Spring and was held to just three hits. Bulldogs pitcher Jossalyn Shipley suffered the loss, despite allowing just four hits in the complete game.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.