For the State College softball team, Wednesday’s rematch with Mifflin County proved to be deja vu all over again.
Two weeks ago, the Lady Huskies used two big innings late in the game to pull away for a 7-2 victory. That win gave the Lady Huskies a sweep of the regular season series on the heels of a 9-1 victory between the two teams the previous day.
In Thursday’s semifinal round of the District 6 Class AAAA softball championships, the result was much the same as Mifflin County advanced to the title game with a 9-1 victory over the Lady Little Lions.
In all three losses the scenario was much the same for the Lady Little Lions. Play tough in the early innings, struggle through the middle, and come up short at the end.
“That seems to be the formula of what they did to us this year,” said State College coach Mike Harper. “Again, they are a really good hitting team. That is a good team over there and their pitcher (Shelby Lyter) made it tough on us. We didn’t do much offensively and that is what a good team does. When it gets on a run they just keep running and again, they are very good.”
As she did in the other two losses to the Lady Huskies, State College pitcher Karli Nolan kept their hitters off balance the first time through the lineup, only to see Mifflin County catch up to her offerings through the middle to pull away.
“That is her game,” said Harper of Nolan’s changing speeds. “Keeping them off balance is her game. She is a tough kid who hangs in there and she doesn’t give up either. It is kind of nice when things aren’t going your way and they start hitting the pitches for her to keep her head up. That is all you can ask for from any kid.”
After holding the Lady Huskies to one hit through the first two innings, Mifflin County put on its hitting shoes as they strung together five hits in the third inning good for four runs before adding a pair of runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth for a 9-0 lead.
Carrying the big stick for Mifflin County was Kali Hunter, who was perfect at the plate (4-for-4) while driving in a run and scoring a pair.
Trailing 9-0 and facing a possible Mercy Rule situation, the Lady Little Lions scored their only run of the game in the sixth when Corey Marfitt led off with a double to right and with one out, scored on an RBI single to center by Sharyah Simco who had two of State College’s seven hits.
With the loss, the Lady Little Lions finished the season at 11-9 while bidding farewell to seven seniors — a group that included Sarah Bastian, Laura Harris, Lexi Mattivi, Lauren Weiss, Megan Robert, Simco and Michaela Rittenhouse.
“They are a positive bunch,” said Harper about his seniors. “I am pleased with how they hung in there when some things didn’t go our way, both on and off the field. We had a couple of issues along the way, but I am very happy with the way they kept working hard and the way they kept the team together. They always tried to get better and they didn’t make excuses for the situation we were in.”