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Central York softball pitcher Courtney Coppersmith struck out 18 batters Wednesday as the Panthers defeated Spring Grove, 3-1. After the game, Coppersmith and head coach James Miller discussed the team's victory. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch

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Central York softball coach James Miller issued a challenge to his team before Wednesday’s battle with Spring Grove.

He didn't like what he had seen in the minutes leading up to the battle of York-Adams Division I contenders.

The first-year Panthers boss implored his captains to set the tone mentally and physically. The message was aimed at getting his team to play up to the standards of the three-time reigning York-Adams League champs.

Perhaps no player rose to the challenge more than Courtney Coppersmith.

The standout senior hurler dominated the Rockets for seven solid innings, racking up 18 strikeouts while leading the Panthers to a 3-1 victory. She has 48 strikeouts over her last three games.

“I think the team responded very well today,” Miller said. “We started out rough, it was a rough day coming in, and the team got together and they just kept battling. They never give up. They take it one at-bat at a time. Win the at-bat, win the inning, that’s their attitude.”

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The win keeps Central perfect on the season at 4-0 and moves its Y-A D-I mark to 3-0. The Rockets fell to 2-2 both for the season and in the division.

Both teams are chasing Dallastown, a squad that has found a way to overcome the early-season weather woes and complete nine games. The Wildcats sit atop the division at 9-0 overall and a 6-0 in the division.

After slight command issues early yielded the game’s first run in the third, Coppersmith clamped down and struck out the side in three of the next four innings.

Coppersmith’s offense picked her up immediately after Central got into the early hole. Panthers right fielder Allison Twigg delivered a two-out, two-run bloop single in the top of the fourth to put the visitors ahead to stay, 2-1.

Central senior shortstop Erin Cabry added an insurance run in the sixth when she launched her first career homer to left for a 3-1 lead.

“I guess my screwball and my rise ball,” Coppersmith said, when asked her most effective pitch Wednesday. “At the beginning, my rise ball was screwing and my screwball was rising. But it was working, so I can’t really complain about it. Toward the end, the screwball and rise ball were my go-to pitches.”

The Rockets initially took the lead in the bottom of the third when Brynn Sporer ripped a double down the left-field line that scored Bri DiCandeloro with one out.

The blemish only served to further lock in Coppersmith’s focus. The Maryland-Baltimore County commit would allow no hits and strike out 14 of the next 19 batters. Her day ended when she slid her 126th pitch past the outstretched bat of the Rockets’ Sara Jones.

The game initially looked like it would be long duel between Coppersmith and Rockets standout hurler Haley Kessinger.

Kessinger recorded three of her five strikeouts over the first two innings before being staked to the early lead. In total, Kessinger fired 103 pitches, allowing three runs on seven hits.

The Panthers host the Wildcats on Friday in another pivotal early-season showdown for Central.

“We had a little bit of a rough pre-game and everything was a little rough for us at the beginning, but we finally got back to how we play,” Coppersmith said. “When we play loose together, we do a lot better. So, I think we finally started to get back to ourselves and not count this game as big as we knew it was. When one person gets happy, we feed off each other; that’s the main issue.”

OTHER SOFTBALL

Kennard-Dale 5, York Suburban 2: At Fawn Grove, the Rams won a battle of unbeatens, moving to 4-0 both overall and in York-Adams Division II. Suburban fell to 3-1 both overall and in the division. Alexis Hurley pitched a complete game to get the win, striking out 10. Sarah Hartinger pitched a complete game for Suburban, allowing three earned runs while striking out nine. Amber Belt (three hits, double, five RBIs) and Jaedyn McKeon (three hits, triple, double, two runs) powered K-D's offense. Hartinger and Alexis Jury each had three hits for Suburban, while Emily Myers doubled with two RBIs and Madie Barshinger added two hits.

Northeastern 8, Dover 0: At Manchester, the Bobcats improved to 4-0 both overall and in York-Adams Division II. Belle Bortner hurled a three-hit shutout, striking out seven without a walk. Nikki Stone (two hits, homer, two RBIs, two runs) and Haley Updegraff (two doubles, two runs) led the Northeastern offense.

Dallastown 4, New Oxford 1: At New Oxford, the Wildcats moved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division I. Kelsie Merriman pitched a complete-game, two-hitter, striking out four and walking one. Briana Rufo (two hits, double, three RBIs, run), Delaney Kolb (two hits, RBI) and Shauna Stotler (two hits, triple, run) led Dallastown's attack.

West York 5, Gettysburg 2: At Gettysburg, Dorian Ileyes pitched a complete-game, four-hitter for the Bulldogs. She also doubled at the plate. Nat Hirn (two hits, two RBIs, two runs) and Breanna Harvey (two doubles, two runs) also excelled at the plate for the Bulldogs.

Eastern York 12, Bermudian Springs 5: At Wrightsville, Maelynn Leber pitched a complete game to get the win, striking out nine. Kelsey Felix (grand slam, two doubles, five RBIs) and Katherine Lehman (three hits, double, RBI) led Eastern's offense. 

Delone Catholic 8, York Catholic 2: At York, the Squirettes handed York Catholic its first York-Adams Division IV loss. Delone is 4-1 both overall and in the division. The Irish fell to 2-3 and 2-1. Maggie Rickrode pitched a complete-game, four-hitter for Delone, striking out 13, while also banging a double at the plate.  Katie Ernst, Emma Schneider and Mackenzie Buckley each had two hits for Delone. Rebecca Baum pitched a complete game for the Irish, allowing four earned runs while striking out nine.

Fairfield 25, York Tech 11 (5 innings): At Spry, the Spartans were plagued by walks allowed (14) and errors (four). Alissa Smith (two hits, two RBIs, two runs), K. Rajotte (two hits, RBI), Josilin Bond (two hits, two RBIs, three runs) and Ze'Yone Hawkins (two hits, three runs) paced Tech's attack.

South Western 10, Red Lion 2: At Red Lion, Bri Langford went the distance to get the win. Hailey Inguanti homered for Red Lion.

Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com.

 

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