LEWISTOWN - A message might have been sent Monday at the Mifflin County high school softball field: The Huskies may be a strong force to be reckoned with this season.
Not only did they show that their defense has sharply improved from early in the season but their hitting has come around as well.
Mifflin County gave it a total team effort, knocking off Chambersburg 8-0 in front of the home fans in a Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division showdown.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Macie Lucas tags out Chambersburg’s Tara Harmon as she slides into third base Monday in Lewistown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Pitcher Shelby Lyter went six innings - allowing just three hits in the process - while her defense came up with some heads-up plays to keep Chambersburg off the scoreboard.
"Defensively I think we only had one error in that was in the first inning. The defense picked up after that," Mifflin County manager Jack McCurdy said. "We were in a tough situation that first inning and Shelby did a good job pitching out of it and the defense did a good job of backing her up. From then on Shelby was pitching well. She was keeping their hitters off balanced and offensively we were manufacturing some runs."
Chambersburg had its best chance to pick up some runs in the top of the first as Alexis Shearer, the Trojans' pitcher, roped a single into left field. Teammate Tara Harmon moved Shearer over to third as she reached on an error by the Huskies.
However, the momentum would end there as Lyter forced two consecutive fly outs to end the threat.
Mifflin County rallied in its part of the first as well but also found nothing to show for it after singles by Tara Kibe and Jordan Myers.
After holding the Trojans in check in the second, the Huskies got their bats going starting with sixth and seventh batters Allessa Morrison and Kali Hunter, who both singled to put the pressure on Shearer.
After Morrison's single and stolen base, Hunter smacked an RBI single to center, putting the home team on the board.
With one out, Maggie Wray kept the inning going with a walk, putting her on base with Hunter. After a sacrifice bunt by Kibe, both scored on a two-out single by Rhodes, upping the lead to 3-0.
With the momentum going into the third inning, Lyter and company shut down the Chambersburg bats one more time 1-2-3.
Trailing by three, the Trojans saw their game slip away in the third with one swing of the bat by Macie Lucas.
As Taylor Boyer stood on first after a blooper to right field, Lucas teed off on a Shearer offering and sent it blazing through the air deep into the hallows of left field. When the outfielder was able to get to the ball Boyer and Lucas had crossed the plate and put a wide gap between their team and Chambersburg.
"I think that built it from 3-0 to 5-0 and it certainly five runs is its more difficult to come back from that," McCurdy said. "I put myself in that situation as a coach and three runs the kids still believe. We can comeback here we can still do it but five runs I think you have a tendency to press. So it was a big momentum moment for us."
Lyter sailed through from there forcing pop up after pop up, striking out two without walking a single batter.
In the fifth, the bats continued to hamper Shearer as the Huskies extended the lead once again, plating three more.
Myers started off the rally with a simple walk while Boyer reached as well via a single to left field. With one out, Morrison laid down a picture-perfect suicide squeeze bunt that plated both runners and allowed her to move up to second.
Hunter, once again, came up big for the purple and black attack, singling in Morrison, giving Mifflin County an 8-0 lead going into the final two innings.
After six innings of strong pitching Lyter was relieved by Rachel Zimmerman, who after allowing an early single, shut the Trojans down for three quick out and gave the Huskies the victory.
Mifflin County (2-1, 2-1) hosts Central Dauphin Wednesday.