Surging Central York Panthers storm to York-Adams softball tournament championship

The Central York softball team celebrates after its 12-2 victory over South Western on Wednesday in the York-Adams Tournament title game.

The mercy rule was invented to prevent games from getting out of hand.

Typically, however, you don’t expect the rule to be invoked in championship games. In those contests, the teams are usually closely matched.

Wednesday, however, in the York-Adams Softball Tournament title game, the surging Central York Panthers showed the South Western Mustangs little mercy.

The Panthers scored in every inning except the fifth and had at least two hits in each frame in a contest at Spring Grove High School that was ended in the bottom of the sixth because of the 10-run rule.

On this day, Central was clearly the better team in a 12-2 victory, controlling the contest in every facet.

Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Ava Beamedesfer was incredible on the mound, pitching the entire game and only allowing five hits, while striking out five and permitting two earned runs — both in the top of the first.

The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead on a two-run homer from Emalee Reed, but the Panthers dominated from there.

“Win the at-bat, win the inning. Aggressive is how we play,” Panthers’ head coach Shane Walker said. “We are blessed to have some girls with some sick speed, and the idea is to get them in running position and the hitters to move them around. They did just that.”

It is the first York-Adams Tournament championship for Walker since 2016, when he left the Central program to take an assistant coaching job at York College. He returned this season. It was Central’s first league tournament crown since 2017.

Central responded to Reed’s homer by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. The Panthers were aggressive, swinging at almost every pitch and stealing bases whenever the opportunity arose.

The biggest hits of the game may have come from Keira Devor, who had two monster home runs and just missed out on a third. Her first longball gave the Panthers a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the first. She finished with five RBIs.

“We played well,” Devor said. “Our main motivator was to win the playoffs. Our energy was really high. I was just prepared to hit for this game.”

It was the second meeting of the year for the two teams, who met earlier this season in a much closer affair at South Western, that ended with Central York winning 12-8. This time, the Panthers just looked like the team that wanted to win more. The Panthers totaled 17 hits and never let up at any point in the game.

South Western, meanwhile, could get nothing going after Reed’s early blast. Even when the Mustangs hit the ball hard, it was normally right at a Panther. The Mustangs also committed four errors defensively and found themselves in several situations when they just couldn’t get the last out to end an inning. The errors mostly occurred with two outs, leading to six unearned runs that blew the game wide open.

Devor, Rylee Dreyer and Ellie Hsieh had three hits apiece for Central. Ella Heap and Jenna Stiffler each had two hits. Reed was the only player with two hits for the Mustangs.

Division I champion Central York improved to 20-1 overall and captured their 17th straight win. Division II champion South Western dropped to 16-4.

Both teams will compete in the District 3 playoffs next week. The Panthers are No. 1 in the latest District 3 Class 6-A power ratings. South Western is No. 5 in the district 5-A power ratings.

Reach Dante Green at or on Twitter at @TaySean14.