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Just like that, it was over.

What had been an outstanding pitching duel for nine innings ended with heartbreak for the Kennard-Dale Rams' softball team Thursday afternoon at York College when No. 6 seed Garden Spot strung together three consecutive singles to earn a 1-0 victory in District 3-AAA softball action. The victory ended the season for the No. 14 Rams, who had upset No. 3 West Perry in the opening round on Tuesday.

“We were loose,” Rams coach Gregg Coulton said. “On Tuesday, we were a 14 seed playing a three, so what do you have to lose? But we did what we had to do and we won, and we really thought we were going to win tonight. It was a great game. All year, the better the pitching the better we hit, but that girl (Taylor Martin) really had us baffled with her change of speed. We always preach to the girls we don’t mind getting beat, but don’t give it away, and we had a few of those this year, but this was just a tremendous game."

Martin and K-D pitcher Alexis Valentine were the standouts. Before Garden Spot’s ninth-inning burst, Valentine had retired 16 consecutive batters dating to the fourth inning and that was because of a walk and an error. She hadn’t allowed a hit since the third inning.

But after getting the first two outs in the ninth, Emily Shopf poked a bloop single to right, Sophia Charles ripped a line drive single that just ticked shortstop Megan Gereny’s glove and Camryn Focht grounded a single up the middle that scored Shopf. Just like that, the game and season were over.

“My starting pitcher (Valentine) is coming off ACL surgery from last year, so it was quite a rehab for her,” Coulton added. “And the first couple of games this year she struggled, but as the season wore on she got better and better and we were right where we wanted to be, but that girl baffled us with her change-up. I wish I would have known and had a little better scouting report on her. It might have helped us, but she reminded me a lot of the girl from Susquehannock. She mixed speeds, too, and we struggled with it.”

Martin allowed six hits and had four strikeouts. K-D advanced runners as far as second base just twice. Its best chance to score came in the fifth when Maddie Miller and Nicole McCleary got back-to-back singles. However, Martin got a strikeout and pop out to end the threat. After that she was in complete control.

“I wasn’t getting tired,” Martin said. “But I have to think ahead because they were getting familiar with me the more at-bats they got. But we knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew if they were good enough to beat West Perry, it was going to be tough."

OTHER SOFTBALL

Delone Catholic 5, Oley Valley 2: At McSherrystown, Mikayla McCleaf had two hits and drove in three runs to led the Squirettes to the District 3-AA quarterfinal victory. Also for Delone Allison Nowacki had three hits, while Cassie Rickrode threw a complete game on the mound, striking out eight and walking two. Second-seeded Delone (17-3), the defending District 3-AA champion, moves on to the semifinals. Tenth-seeded Oley Valley finished 11-10.

Lampeter-Strasburg 6, Littlestown 0: At Lampeter, the Lady Bolts got just one hit off L-S pitcher Jordan Weaver, who struck out 15 and walked two in the District 3-AAA quarterfinal. McKenzie Sommers pitched a complete game for eighth-seeded Littlestown, which finished 17-5. Top-seeded L-S moved to 22-1.

Reach George Hammond at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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