FAWN GROVE — For the better part of this spring, the Kennard-Dale softball team has had a firm grip on the York-Adams League Division III race.
The Rams entered Monday's action unbeaten in the league, and with just one loss to their name overall. Facing its nearest Division III foe in the standings on Senior Day, it was a prime chance for K-D to all but sew up the division crown and book a spot in the league tournament.
The Eastern York Golden Knights, however, had other plans, and have now made the last couple weeks of the regular season interesting. Eastern pulled off a 6-5 upset over the Rams to pull to within two games of K-D in the standings, but only a game back in the loss column.
"It's great for us," Knights head coach Brad Rohrbaugh said. "We have a young group of girls here ... so for us, it's a sweet thing. Mistakes come back and bite you, but tonight we were able to take a good team and put them in a losing situation."
It looked like Eastern (8-5 overall, 7-2 D-III) was going to shock everyone and blow out the Rams (10-2, 10-1) after it struck for three runs in each of the first and third innings to grab a 6-0 lead. But, K-D slowly chipped away at the deficit until it pulled to within a run heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Rams seemed poised to at least force extra innings, if not walk off with a win, after loading the bases with nobody out in the frame. However, the Knights caught a break when Megan Gereny flew out to center field for the first out. It looked like it would be a sacrifice fly when Marguerite DeFranco tagged up from third and just beat the throw home, but after an appeal by the Eastern coaching staff, the home plate umpire ruled DeFranco left third base early, causing her to be out as well, keeping the Knights up by one.
After intentionally walking Maddie Miller, Maelynn Leber induced a game-ending pop-up to close out the win for Eastern.
"I coach it as, if the ball is in the green, you don't even look at it," K-D coach Greg Coulton said. "I tell them that I'll say 'go,' and they leave. I didn't think she left early. I'm not going to be able to reverse it with (the umpire), so there's nothing I can do."
Eastern's 3-0 lead after the first inning was fueled by a two-run single by Kierstin Grove, while the three-run third was aided by a two-run single by Amber Forry.
"We finally got the bats going tonight," Rohrbaugh said. "Our bats have been silent the last couple of games and tonight, through the order, we had hits. It was a nice thing to see that the bats came alive in those innings."
After the third, however, Eastern struggled to produce any more runs off of Rams' starter Brittany Orwig. Even when the Knights got runners into scoring position, Orwig worked herself out of the jams and allowed her offense a chance to get back into the game.
"I could've made a change, but I stayed with her as long as I could," Coulton said about Orwig. "I know this team is resilient. We come back, so I stuck with her."
As soon as Orwig settled in, the K-D offense came to life. A run in the fourth got the Rams on the board and then two more runs in the fifth cut the Knights' lead in half. Crystal Mullins led off the fifth with a solo homer. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Mullins drove in two more runs on a two-run double to make it a one-run game.
Leber earned the win in the circle, recording the first 5 2/3 outs of the game, giving way to Kenny Buchmyer to finish off the sixth and then Leber came back in to get all three outs in the seventh after the bases got loaded. At the plate, Leber was impressive as well, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and finishing a home run short of the cycle.
Mullins was the big hitter for K-D, going 3 for 4, falling a triple short of the cycle, while driving in three of her team's five runs.
West York 17, Hershey 1 (4 innings): At West York, Paige Weekly went 4 for 4, including two homers and a triple, to go with six RBIs and four runs scored to power the Bulldogs to the non-league win. Breanna Harvey (three hits, double, two RBIs, two runs), Leah Jameson (two hits, double, two RBIs, run), Gabrielle Illyes (two hits, RBI, run), Skylar Sweitzer (two hits, double, four runs), Katelyn Dellinger (two hits, two RBIs, two runs) and Emily Dellinger (two hits, RBI, run) also excelled at the plate for West York. Illyes got the win in the circle, giving up three hits and no earned runs over four innings, striking out three and walking two.
Spring Grove 13, Red Lion 4: At Red Lion, Julia Wivell slugged a grand slam to spark Spring Grove’s 14-hit attack. Wivell finished with six RBIs and two runs scored. Spring Grove also got big offensive nights from Bryn Sporer (five hits, two triples, four runs, RBI), Briana Dicandeloro (three hits, three runs, RBI) and Bailey Rapson (three hits, RBI, run). The Rockets improved to 12-4 overall and 10-1 in York-Adams Division I. The Rockets are tied for first with Central York. Hailey Kessinger got the win, allowing one earned run over four innings. Wivell pitched the final three innings, also allowing just one earned run.
Dover 1, Susquehannock 0 (9 innings): At Glen Rock, Taylor Lamparter pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Dover. She struck out 15 and walked two. Susquehannock's Kendra Gemmill took a no-hitter into the ninth before surrendering a ninth-inning run on four hits. Gemmill struck out six and walked three.
York Catholic 11, York Tech 0 (5 innings): At Spry, Rebecca Baum pitched a five-inning, one-hit shutout for the Irish, striking out 12 and walking four. At the plate, she was 3 for 3, including a homer, with three RBIs and two runs scored. Katelyn Danczyk added three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored for the Irish. Mariah Hilbert went the distance for Tech, giving up just four earned runs.
Central York 4, New Oxford 3: At Central, Courtney Coppersmith pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run, to go with nine strikeouts and a walk. Central improved to 15-1 overall and 10-1 in York-Adams Division I. Erin Cabry (two hits, run), Briannah Dobson (hit, two RBIs) and Karli Fink (two hits, run, RBI) led Central's offense.
Dallastown 8, South Western 7: At Dallastown, after giving up four runs in the top of the seventh, Dallastown rebounded with four runs in the bottom of the seventh to get the walk-off win. Lyndee Anders collected her 100th career varsity hit with a sixth-inning single. Dallastown scored eight runs in its final two at bats for the win. Krista Flemmens had a two-run homer in the sixth for Dallastown, while Olivia Spahr had a two-run triple in the seventh. Kelsie Merriman, Sarah Deller and Spahr each had two hits for Dallastown. One of Merriman's hits was an RBI triple in the sixth. Dallastown improved to 9-7 overall and 9-3 in York-Adams Division I.
Northeastern 3, Gettysburg 0: At Manchester, Belle Bortner pitched a four-hit shutout to lead the Bobcats.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.