SPRING GROVE — Both the Spring Grove and Dallastown softball teams were eager to have some fun Thursday in the York-Adams League Division I opener for both programs.
While there was plenty of fun in a game, in which the two sides combined for 28 hits, the coaches for both teams were left more frustrated than anything else after the game.
The Wildcats and Rockets were pegged as two of the top teams in the league in the preseason, and both sides showed that they can put the bat on the ball. The Wildcats smacked five home runs, including a pair from Shauna Stotler, en route to 18 runs in a wild contest played on a cold and somewhat windy afternoon at Spring Grove High School.
The Rockets, trailing by 11 runs entering the bottom of the seventh, managed to score eight times in their final at-bat before a called third strike ended a crazy 18-15 triumph by the visitors.
One would have expected a bit of joy, or maybe relief, from Dallastown coach Leanne Potts-Jones after pulling out the victory, but the Wildcat skipper was more frustrated than anything.
“I was a little upset with our lack of hustle both in the first inning and then here in this last inning,” Potts-Jones said. “I understand that it’s cold, but to make our pitcher practically pitch a whole extra inning if not two extra innings based on some errors, both physical and mental, is just not acceptable to me.“
Dallastown piled up four runs in the top of the sixth, but fell a run shy of activating the 10-run rule (16-7). That gave the Rockets two frames to mount an unlikely comeback that became more likely with every batter in the seventh.
A tight strike zone that both Potts-Jones and Spring Grove coach Mark Hull were equally frustrated by, in addition to a pair of errors, including a dropped third out that enabled three more runs to score, allowed the home team to actually bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh.
Wildcat pitcher Kelsie Merriman, who threw the entire seven innings, finally earned the win after getting a called third strike with runners on first and second.
“That’s when you really have to buckle down,” Potts-Jones said of her team entering the seventh with an 18-7 lead. “Especially against a team like this. You let them in the game and it's … well, dangerous, as we saw.”
While Potts-Jones was upset by her team’s play, Hull had his share of frustration as well, with the tight strike zone, his girls' play at times (five errors), but also with the weather, that has forced the team inside for almost the entire first month of the season.
“Us coaches have to stay positive,” Hull said. “I know it’s frustrating. The girls have kind of been stir crazy with practicing inside the whole time. And how can you get ready to play against a good team like (Dallastown)? It’s very difficult.”
The good news for both sides is that they will get another crack at each other later in the season, hopefully on a warmer day with better conditions than the ones on Thursday.
“I have a feeling that next time, if the conditions are better, that this will be a close game,” Potts-Jones said.
Each team collected 14 hits, with the Rockets drawing 11 walks to Dallastown’s nine. Delaney Kolb and Elaina Winebrenner tallied three each for Dallastown (5-0 overall) while Bailey Rapson collected five hits and five RBIs for Spring Grove.
Susquehannock 10, South Western 6: At Glen Rock, Kari Cox led the Warriors by going 3 for 4 at the plate, including a double and a homer, with two runs scored and five RBIs. Also for the Warriors, Brooke Bosley went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and one RBI; Caroline Folfas went 2 for 4 with one run scored and one RBI; Anna Bryan went 2 for 4 with a double, one run scored and one RBI; and Gabi Almiroudis doubled.
York Suburban 20, Delone Catholic 16: At McSherrystown, the Wildcats won a wild one behind big games from Maddie Barshinger (three hits, double, four RBIs, two runs), Aly Golden (hit, three RBIs, two runs), Zoe Prats (four hits, two doubles, four runs, RBI), Alexis Jury (two hits, double, three runs), Sarah Hartinger (two hits, double, five runs, RBI), Emily Myers (two hits, double, three RBIs, run), Taryn Stein (two hits, double, three RBIs, two runs) and Micah Avery (two hits, RBI, run).
Central York 2, Eastern York 0: At Wrightsville, Courtney Coppersmith led the Panthers by throwing a shutout, striking out 11. The Panthers plated one run in the sixth and plated the second run in the seventh. For the Golden Knights, Analise Fenwick went 2 for 3, while teammate Maelyn Weber threw a complete game, striking out four and allowing no earned runs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.