EAST YORK — There have been several items that were less than ideal for Kennard-Dale softball coach Gregg Coulton this spring.
His biggest gripe, however, has little to do with the thing that many other coaches have been most frustrated with.
Namely, the miserable weather.
The multiple postponements early in the season haven't bothered Coulton all that much.
Instead, the K-D coach has been a little more upset with the schedule his team is stuck with this season. Playing in York-Adams Division III, the Rams and Coulton have not regularly seen the type of competition that the coach would prefer as his team prepares for the York-Adams League, District 3 and, hopefully, PIAA state playoffs.
Fortunately for Coulton, that gripe did not apply Wednesday afternoon when his Rams took on York Suburban. The Trojans gave his team all it could handle through the first six innings. The teams entered the seventh in a scoreless deadlock. The visitors, however, broke out of their offensive funk by scoring five times in the final inning to earn a hard-fought 5-0 triumph over Suburban.
K-D, which clinched the D-III title, improved to 12-0 overall and in the division, while the Trojans fell to 8-4 overall and in the division.
Much-needed outburst: The eruption of runs in the seventh was a sight for sore eyes for Coulton, whose team has found piling up runs a difficult task over the last week or so.
“We’re just not scoring runs,” he said. “I don’t know what the explanation is, but we work on it and work on it and work on it. The last time we played them it was 5-2.”
Much of the credit for keeping the K-D bats silent was the pitching of YS standout Sarah Hartinger. Hartinger limited the Rams to three hits over the first six innings before the visitors struck for four hits while being aided by a couple of errors in the seventh.
“I know that my confidence was down a lot,” said K-D sophomore Lexie Kopko. “In the seventh inning I knew that I had to get a big hit because we had a runner on second. I just kept telling myself in the batter’s box, ‘you can do this.’ And I hit a double, so it was a relief.”
Kopko and Jaedyn McKeon both drove in runs during the five-run seventh. Alexis Hurley, who threw a shutout for the visitors, also helped her own cause with a RBI single in the last inning.
Too many routs: While the lack of hitting has been frustrating for Coulton, a bigger issue for the coach has been the lack of competitive games earlier in the season. The Rams have won by at least 10 runs in more than half of their victories. Competitive games against Delone, Fairfield and Littlestown recently have given Coulton a better feel for his young, yet very talented club, which he considers a good thing.
“A district title, a state title … everything has to line up,” Coulton said. “Even in districts, a lot of those games come down to one play. Somebody boots a ground ball and it costs you a run and that’s it. You lost 3-2. So you don’t really learn anything by just rolling over teams. We have a good team this year, but we’re getting to that stagnant point, which worries me a little.”
Rams have tasted success: While Coulton is a little worried, the players don’t sound too concerned. Kopko and McKeon, along with Megan Thomas, all played together this winter on the highly successful K-D girls’ basketball team, so they know how to win. All three were part of last year’s softball squad that made it the state playoffs, so they have some experience in that regard, as well.
Throw in Hurley, who surrendered three hits while fanning nine in the victory, and the Rams are a formidable opponent.
“We’ve been playing together since we were like 8 years old,” McKeon said of her and Kopko. “So I know how she (Kopko) plays and I know how Alexis pitches. It’s easy to play behind (Alexis) because she gives us strong pitching and she just gives us confidence to play behind her.”
Zoe Prats was the only player on either side with multiple hits. The Suburban standout finished with two singles.
Central York 4, Spring Grove 3: At Central, on Senior Day, Erin Cabry collected two hits and now has 100 for her Central career. Cabry finished with two runs scored and an RBI. Emily Smith drove in two runs for the winners. Courtney Coppersmith got the complete-game win, striking out 11 while allowing three hits and three walks. Bailey Rapson pitched a complete game for Spring Grove, allowing two earned runs. Bryn Sporer doubled and drove in two Rockets' runs, while scoring once. Central improved to 15-0 overall and 12-0 in York-Adams Division I. The Panthers have clinched at least a tie for the division title. Spring Grove fell to 9-5 and 7-3.
West York 16, Gettysburg 0 (3 innings): At West York, the Bulldogs pounded 17 hits led by Bre Harvey (three hits, triple, two RBIs, three runs), Nat Hirn (three hits, two RBIs, two runs), Paige Weekly (three hits, homer, two RBIs, two runs), Kourtney Hartzel (two triples, four RBIs, two runs), Savannah Bortner (two hits, double, one RBI, one run) and Dorian Ileyes (triple, three RBIs, two runs). Ileyes pitched a complete-game two-hitter to get the win, striking out five.
Delone Catholic 9, York Catholic 0: At McSherrystown, the Squirettes rolled in a battle of York-Adams Division IV leaders. Delone improved to 10-4 overall and 10-3 in D-IV. YC fell to 9-4 and 9-3. Maggie Rickrode pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out nine. She also homered, drove in two runs and scored two runs. Katie Ernst (three hits, three RBIs, run) and Lauren Little (two hits, three RBIs, two runs) were Delone's other leaders. Rebecca Baum pitched a complete game for the Irish, allowing five earned runs and striking out 14.
Susquehannock 12, Littlestown 5: At Littlestown, Kendra Gemmill had four hits (including a homer and a double), to go with four RBIs and a run scored to lead the Warriors. Gemmill also got the win on the mound, allowing two earned runs over five innings. Susquehannock's other hitting leaders were: Brooke Bosley (two hits, three runs, two RBIs), Anna Bryan (two hits, homer, two RBIs, run), Gabi Almiroudis (two hits, RBI), Caroline Folfas (two hits, RBI, run) and Kari Cox (two hits, double, RBI, run).
Northeastern 9, Dover 0: At Dover, the Bobcats solidified their hold on first place in York-Adams Division II. Northeastern improved to 9-4 overall and 9-3 in D-II. Belle Bortner pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out seven against two walks. Megan Switzer (two hits, double, RBI) and Amber Weirich (double, two RBIs, run) led the Bobcats' attack.
Eastern York 18, Bermudian Springs 3 (5 innings): At Wrightsville, Haidyn Shaffer powered Eastern with a triple, a double, four RBIs, two walks and three runs scored. The other Eastern hitting leaders were McKenzie Buchmyer (two hits, three runs, RBI) and Morgan Winter (two RBIs, two runs, two walks). Eastern improved to 10-4 overall and 8-3 in York-Adams Division III.
New Oxford 5, Dallastown 0: At Dallastown, Alanna Molz blanked the Wildcats on two hits, striking out eight without a walk. Kelsie Merriman pitched a complete game for Dallastown, allowing three earned runs. Shauna Stotler tripled for the Wildcats (12-4 overall, 9-4 in York-Adams Division I).
South Western 11, Red Lion 3: At Hanover, Gabby Newman pitched a six-hit complete game for the Mustangs. Hailey Inguanti doubled for Red Lion.
Fairfield 15, York Tech 0 (3 innings): At Fairfield, the Green Knights scored 10 in the first inning and never looked back.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.