EMIGSVILLE — There was a lot riding on Monday’s clash between York-Adams League softball unbeatens Central York and Susquehannock at Central York High School.
In addition to being a battle of division leaders (Central in Division I and Susquehannock in Division II), the contest was also a showdown between the top Class AAA team in the District 3 power ratings (Susquehannock) and the No. 2 squad in Class AAAA (Central).
It could also very well be a preview of the York-Adams League championship game.
However, what figured to be a close game turned out to be a bit lopsided by the end. Thanks to a combined four hits and three RBIs from the top two hitters (Erin Cabry and Cheyenne Miller) in the Panthers lineup, the home team used a couple of big innings to claim a 7-2 triumph.
Central improved to 14-0 on the season and 8-0 in D-I. The Warriors fell to 11-1 and 8-1 in D-II.
“This was certainly a big game for us with division implications,” Central York coach Shane Walker said. “But our girls have the mantra that when we’re at bat, to win the inning. And that’s the same whether we’re playing Susquehannock or anybody else.”
The Warriors have dominated the opposition so far this year. A stacked lineup, particularly at the top of the order, combined with a steady defense and the pitching of Maddie Staub, has proven to be a tough chore for opponents thus far.
The Panthers, however, were able to limit the damage that the Susquehannock offense could inflict on Monday behind their own defense and the pitching of Rachel Butler. The visitors tagged Butler with nine hits, but the left-hander was able to get key outs when she needed them.
“I knew this was going to be a really tough game,” said Butler, who walked three and struck out five to earn the complete-game victory. “But I was really proud of my team. Our fielding was awesome.”
The Warriors left nine runners on base, including the bases loaded three times. A strikeout to end the first, a grounder to end the third and a runner picked off first to end the game all left Susquehannock coach Jeff Deardorff wondering "what if?"
“We couldn’t get hits at the key times,” he said.
While the Warriors had trouble coming up with big hits, the Panthers had no such problem. Miller smoked a two-run single with two out in the fourth to put her team ahead 4-1. In the sixth, it was Cabry who drove in a run with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt.
“I’m really pleased with how these girls are jelling,” Walker said. “They really understand the game and do their responsibilities well.”
The game seemed to turn a bit in the fourth when Butler was on third with teammate Briannah Dobson at first. With Cameryn Rothrock at the plate, Dobson stole second, drawing a throw. Butler then broke for home and slid into the plate at the same time the ball arrived to Warrior catcher Lily Yoakum.
Yoakum made a play for the ball while Butler slid into her back. The ball trickled away from Yoakum, who remained face down on the ground for a while.
“I didn’t see the plate so I thought I was already touching it,” Butler said of her run, which tied the game at 1-1. “But Cameryn was like ‘touch the plate’ so I got up and touched it. I think I got (Yoakum) in the back, because she was going for the ball when I slid.”
Yoakum came out of the game, which allowed the Panthers to gain momentum. An error and back-to-back singles, the final of which was from Miller, turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead after four innings.
“Everything comes in there, but I hate to see a player get hurt like that,” Walker said. “It was at least fortunate that she was able to come back in later.”
Perhaps one of the toughest girls in the league, Yoakum took her turn at-bat the following inning. She singled but was later erased on a fielder’s choice grounder.
“Lily is definitely the leader of this team,” Deardorff said. “There may have been a little letdown for us at that time. But she’s a gamer. She did not want to come out of the game. She begged me to put her back into the game.”
The Panthers were fortunate to avoid damage despite the fact that the top four batters in the Susquehannock lineup — Mallory Lebo, Yoakum, Staub and Ally Kerr — reached base safely during 12 of 16 plate appearances. But only Lebo (third inning) and Staub (fifth inning) managed to score.
“Their first part of the lineup there is probably as good as we’re going to see all year,” Walker said.
Yoakum, Staub and Kerry each collected two hits for the Warriors, who committed three costly errors that helped fuel both of Central’s big innings. Staub struck out six and walked none while allowing eight singles.
Dallastown 14, Northeastern 2 (5 innings): At Dallastown, Krista Flemmens led the Wildcats with a grand slam. Also for Dallastown, Maggie Noll tripled, while Jaelynn Harbold and Delaney Kolb combined to strike out six and walk none. Dallastown improved to 8-2 in York-Adams Division I and 10-2 overall.
West York 10, Red Lion 0: At Red Lion, Jossalin Shipley pitched a three-hit shutout, striking out one and walking one. Paige Weekly homered in the Bulldogs' 12-hit attack. Katelyn Dellinger and Breanna Harvey doubled for West York.
Eastern York 15, Biglerville 2 (5 innings): At Biglerville, Katie Lehman and Karlee Livelsberger led the Golden Knights, by each connecting for three hits, including two doubles apiece. Teammate Morgan Winter also had three hits.
Dover 17, Spring Grove 9: At Spring Grove, Natalie Cutright’s pair of doubles were two of the Eagles’ 16 hits. Taylor Lamparter struck out seven and walked three to collect the win in the circle for Dover. Julia Wivell struck out three and walked four in taking the loss. She also recorded a triple for Spring Grove.
Kennard-Dale 19, Hanover 1 (4 innings): At Hanover, Brittany Orwig had an easy time on the mound for the Rams, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three.
York Suburban 20, York Catholic 0 (4 innings): At York Catholic, Olivia Eytcheson earned the win for Suburban, striking out two in the contest.
York Tech 7, Milton Hershey 5: At Hershey, the Spartans rallied from a 4-1 hole to earn the win. A three-run fifth inning gave Tech the lead for good. No other details were reported.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.