From staff reports

MOUNT UNION – If there’s an exciting way to begin the season, the Mount Union softball team found it.

The Trojans’ first two games were marked by double-digit scoring efforts for the win. Thursday, Mount Union only scored four runs, but one was earned on a solo walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth by Katie Smith that gave Mount Union a 4-3 extra-innings win over Inter-County Conference opponent Claysburg-Kimmel.

Mount Union was behind 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, but Liza Feagley and Brittany Brumbaugh found a way on base. Feagley scored on a Claysburg-Kimmel error after teammate Lauren Shugarts put the ball in play, then a Marissa Dimoff sacrifice bunt brought Brumbaugh home to set the stage for Smith.

From there, with two outs and two strikes, Smith stroked one over the right-center field fence to propel Mount Union to its third-straight victory.

“She has a real nice swing, and if she catches it it goes. It couldn’t happen to a nicer girl. She works hard and is great to be around,” Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said of Smith.

Smith’s co-hero was rookie pitcher Marissa Aurand, who went all nine innings to earn the win.

With injuries keeping the Trojans’ other pitchers out of the game, Aurand came through in a big way.

“Marissa Aurand played one heck of a game. She pitched all nine innings and kept them off balance,” Fiscus said.

Mount Union (3-0, 3-0) hosts Juniata Valley on Tuesday.


Millersburg 9, Greenwood 2

MILLERSTOWN – The Wildcats were hanging right with Millersburg to open their season on the softball diamond Thursday, but in the top of the seventh Millersburg’s Kelsey Snyder ripped a grand slam to put her team way up for the 9-2 Tri-Valley League win.

“We made a couple changes, and then we strung a couple walks together, and they had a timely hit there that cleared the bases,” Greenwood coach Troy Gantt said.

Katie Osborne and Jess Heichel – who was also the starting pitcher for Greenwood – both recorded RBIs for the Wildcats, which came in the fourth and sixth innings.

Gantt said some young players stepped up and did well for the Wildcats, and a few others played in new positions, so there were some definite positives in the loss.

“I thought overall we did a good job, we just need to string some hits together,” Gantt said.

Greenwood (0-1, 0-1) travels to Line Mountain Tuesday.

Jersey Shore 10, Midd-West 0

JERSEY SHORE – The Midd-West softball team hoped for a positive start to the 2013 season as the squad traveled to Jersey Shore but the Mustangs committed four errors in the first inning that plated five Bulldogs and the Heartland Conference foe cruised to a 10-0 victory.

“The biggest thing was the four errors in the first inning, giving them five runs,” Midd-West coach Pete Voss said.

There were a few bright spots for the Mustangs as starting pitcher Adrianne Gesselman fanned four Bulldog hitters in her first outing of the season. Brii Zeigler paced the Mustangs at the plate, going 2-3 with two singles.

“We didn’t play bad ball and we had a couple of hard hits,” Voss said.

The Mustangs (0-1) look to notch their first win of the season Monday when the team hosts Milton.

Upper Dauphin 14, East Juniata 3

ELIZABETHVILLE – East Juniata held a lead briefly against Upper Dauphin, but surrendered 12 runs in the bottom of the third to see that erased.

The Trojans, behind 13 hits and aided by a pair of Tiger errors, got their first win in the five-inning game, 14-3.


East Juniata 5, Upper Dauphin 2

ELIZABETHVILLE – Ryan Stuck pitched 5 2/3 innings and blasted a second-inning leadoff home run to propel East Juniata to a 5-2 victory over Tri-Valley League foe Upper Dauphin in the season opener.

“He (Stuck) led the way for us tonight,” East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker said. “He got us going in the second inning with a leadoff home run and that got us pumped up.”

The home run, a no doubter to left field, gave the Tigers a lead that they would not relinquish. The team plated two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to seal the deal.

Despite committing two errors on the afternoon, the Tigers defense made key plays when it mattered most.

“We had some good defensive plays,” Brubaker said. “We were able to get out of the couple jams that Stucky got in.”

The Tigers drew nine walks on the day and had five hits. Nick Stahr and Dalton Rowe each collected two RBIs in the season-opening victory.

East Juniata (1-0) hosts Juniata April 5.

Claysburg-Kimmel 4, Mount Union 2

MOUNT UNION – Mount Union’s Klayton Heffner fanned seven Claysburg-Kimmel hitters and allowed just one run Thursday but an error in the top of the seventh opened the flood gates and the Bulldogs plated three to take a 4-2 Inter County Conference victory.

With the score standing at 1-0 heading to the sixth, the Trojans took the field hoping for a three-up three-down inning, but the Bulldogs loaded the bases. Cole Boozel battled though and struck out the side to keep visitors at bay and the score to within striking distance.

With the momentum heading to the bottom of the frame, the Trojans capitalized on the Bulldogs’ pitching change and plated two runs to take the lead, 2-1. Mount Union had the opportunity to tack on some insurance runs but the effort was thwarted.

“It was a tough game to lose,” Coach Nick Imperioli said. “What really hurt us was when we scored two runs in the sixth and left the bases loaded.”

Claysburg-Kimmel’s leadoff man reached base on an error to start the final frame, which proved to be costly as the next two hitters wrapped singles. Boozel settled back in and retired the next two batters. The next Bulldog hitter worked the count to 3-2 then hit a flare down the right field line for a three-run triple.

Mount Union was able to get a man on second in the final half of the seventh but was unsuccessful in driving him in.

Heffner tossed five innings, surrendering one run on three hits and striking out seven Bulldog hitters. Boozel worked two innings of relief, allowing four hits while striking out five hitters.

Mount Union (1-1) is back in action at home Tuesday against Juniata Valley.


LEWISBERRY – Seth Wagner surrendered only one hit in Mifflin County’s baseball opener.

Unfortunately for his record, it was a big one – Red Land’s Kyle Searfoss belted a three-run homer early in the game, and that stood up for the Patriots after seven. The defending Commonwealth Division champions had a 3-0 shutout as the Huskies entered Mid-Penn Conference play.

Wagner wrapped a pair of hit batters around the first out in the opening frame, setting up Searfoss, the cleanup batter, for the only hit his team recorded.

Mifflin County coach Travis Zook said Wagner was dominant; he just had a rough start.

“He had a little bit of nerves there,” Zook said. “He settled in as soon as that home run was hit and struck out the next two guys,” going on to retire 12 straight.

“We out hit them. Seth was very dominant out there,” he said. “We were definitely in control of their offense – we just had trouble getting bats on the ball.”

The Huskies totaled four hits in the game; Isaac Strohecker had two of those, including a double.

Mifflin County (0-1, 0-1) hosts Cumberland Valley Tuesday.


Line Mountain 12, Greenwood 1

MILLERSTOWN – The Greenwood pitchers went pace-for-pace with Line Mountain’s pitching staff in its season opener Wednesday, but inexperience in the field was too much for Greenwood to overcome and the Wildcats dropped the Tri-Valley League contest, 12-1.

“He threw well pitching, the defense we just didn’t make the routine plays,” Greenwood coach Mark Sherman said of starting pitcher Brady Stover, who combined with Adam Harrison’s one strikeout to match Line Mountain’s nine total Ks.

Greenwood scored its sole run on a passed ball, but left runners stranded on other occasions as the Line Mountain pitching staff gave up seven walks to put the Wildcats on base numerous times.

Sherman said his inexperienced team missed many opportunities on routine plays to staunch Line Mountain’s offensive flow, and that as the season progresses the team just needs to gain more experience.

This chance to get experience will come in abundance next week, as the Wildcats (0-1, 0-1) are scheduled to play three regular season games throughout the week in addition to competing in the Perry County tournament Saturday. The first game of the week is Monday at Millersburg.


Juniata 11, Upper Dauphin 5

ELIZABETHVILLE – Juniata softball started the season the right way, accomplishing what coach Brian Sheaffer says the softball team has been able to do only three times in school history – defeat Upper Dauphin.

In the 11-5 contest, the Trojans went up early by posting two runs in the bottom of the first, but Juniata combined for 11 in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings to hand Upper Dauphin the loss.

As Sheaffer put it, “Upper Dauphin scored first, but we scored a bunch after that and just kept adding to it.”

Juniata’s greatest offensive effort came from pitcher Brinley Irvin, who not only struck out seven, but went 3-4 from the plate to put together three hits and an RBI.

Irvin was joined by teammate Megan Shoop, who hit a triple and collected one RBI and Hali Weiand, who had a double and RBI.

Upper Dauphin is traditionally a powerhouse in the Tri-Valley League, and after a hiatus in the Mountain League, Sheaffer was glad to see his team take the win over the Trojans in its first game back in the TVL.

“That was good coming down and beating them on their home field,” he said.

Juniata (1-0, 1-0) gets back in action Wednesday at Greenwood.

Millersburg 12, East Juniata 0 (5 inn.)

MILLERSBURG – Ashlyn Erhard surrendered nine runs in three innings and the home team added three more in the fourth for the mercy-rule win. Millersburg outhit the Tigers (0-1, 0-1) by a 12-1 margin.

Mount Union 10, Williamsburg 2

MOUNT UNION – The Mount Union softball team might not have defeated Williamsburg by the 15-0 margin it had on Moshannon Valley in its season opener, but four home runs and seven RBIs later on Wednesday, the Trojans got pretty close in their 10-2 win over the Blue Pirates.

In two different innings the Trojans got in trouble when line drives directly to Williamsburg’s first baseman resulted in double plays, but they recovered well as Kristen Miles, Ashlyn Drake, Liza Feagley and Brittany Brumbaugh all homered and pitchers Chapin Guiliante and Feagley combined for five strikeouts to hand Mount Union the decisive victory.

“She went 3-3, kind of setting the table for everyone else,” Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said of Kristen Miles, who was also responsible for collecting two of the Trojans’ seven RBIs.

Fiscus also said he thought Drake’s home run was the first in the senior’s high school career.

Mount Union (2-0, 2-0 Inter-County Conference) hosts Claysburg-Kimmel today at 4 p.m.


Lower Dauphin 3, Mifflin County 2

LEWISTOWN – The Huskies fought through rain and snow when they hosted Mid-Penn opponent Lower Dauphin Wednesday, and despite their effort, the Huskies weren’t able to pull out the win, dropping to the Falcons, 3-2.

Of the Huskies’ two wins, doubles team Ben Hugendubler and Ben Renninger had the most decisive victory, taking Tim Fulton and Reed Morris in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.

Teammate Matt DeBenedetto also came through for Mifflin County, topping Beck Wiles, 6-4, 6-2.

Mifflin County’s Connor Saltzer was able to take the first set in his No. 1 match against Nathan Carl, but faltered in the next two sets for the loss.

Mifflin County (3-3) hosts Susquehanna Township Tuesday.

Scholastic sports

From staff reports

CARLISLE – Mifflin County athletes scored in several events in the boys and girls first Mid-Penn Conference track meet Tuesday, but Carlisle flew by the Huskies on the scoreboard, topping the girls 99-50 and the boys 82-68.

Nathan Baumgardner led the Huskies, finishing first in three events: 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and the long jump. He outlasted his opponents by at least one second in each of the running events and out jumped his opponents by nearly a foot in the long jump. The boys also took the 4×100 relay, beating the Thundering Herd by three-tenths of a second.

Other first place performers included Ian McGinnis, Jon Colwell, Timmy Beck, Zack Long and George Danahey. McGinnis topped his opponents in the 100m dash and 200m dash while Colwell placed first in the 1600m run and second in the 800m run. Beck took first in the 400m dash with a time of 53.3, Long finished first in the Javelin with a mark of 151-9 and Danahey’s 11-0 on the pole vault also placed him on top.

Erica Shawver led the girls squad on the day, finishing first in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and second in the 200m dash. Makayla Rearick took first in the shot put, out chucking the competition by nearly two feet with a mark of 34-3 1/4.

Following two losses in the previous relays, the girls team salvaged the 4×400, beating the Thundering Herd by more than two seconds.

Ellee Harpster also blew the competition away in the discus with a 79-8 mark which landed her in the top spot.

Mifflin County (Boys: 0-1, 0-1; Girls: 0-1, 0-1) hosts Harrisburg April 2 at 4 p.m.


CHAMBERSBURG – Mifflin County’s Jon Colwell ran to another first place finish in the 1600 meter at the Tim Cook Invitational Saturday, but he wasn’t the only Husky who had coach Scott Gantz smiling as the track and field team opened the season with several high finishes.

“It was a great day to get the season started and we walked away from the meet with feelings of pride and of optimism,” Gantz said. “We were proud of the way the kids performed but also optimistic for what the season ahead holds for many of them.”

The meet was comprised mostly of teams from the Mid-Penn Conference, so it was a good opportunity for the Huskies to see where they size up against the competition, but Gantz explained that it was also an excellent opportunity to see how the team’s younger athletes would handle the pressure of competition.

And in this regard, the young Huskies did not disappoint.

From the freshmen and sophomores, Mifflin County saw strong performances from Zachary Long (javelin), Alexis Kibe (800 meter), Makala Rearick (shot put), Kelsey Spicher and Amanda Hassinger (4×800 relay), and Keenan Walker, Trenton Yoder, Jason Ciccolini and Caleb Neff (relay teams).

But it wasn’t just the younger athletes who worked hard for Mifflin County. The Huskies’ more experience athletes also placed well, highlighted after Colwell by Nathan Baumgardner (110 hurdles); Russler Cullen, Tim Beck and Michael Kline (relay teams); and Samantha Peters, Megan Becker, Elisabeth Eddy and Erika Shawver (relay teams) all finishing within the top three places of their individual events.

“We know that we have a group of kids that are competitors, they do not like to underachieve and will absolutely give you everything that they have when they step on the track,” Gantz said.

The Huskies will get back in action Tuesday when they travel to Carlisle.


HARRISBURG – The Huskies notched their second win of the season on the tennis court when they edged Commonwealth Division opponent Central Dauphin, 3-2, on Wednesday.

Connor Saltzer and Matt DeBenedetto both won their singles matches in two straight sets to set the tone for the Huskies. Saltzer took his win over Aiden Henken 6-4, 6-1. DeBenedetto then followed suit, going 6-3, 6-4 over Sreeram Ravi.

Nate Koller and Cody Donaldson then took over in the doubles when they topped Ryan Plesco and Aaron Gold to seal the win for the Huskies. In the first set, Koller and Donaldson won 6-4, then the second set went into a tie breaker, which Koller and Donaldson won, 7-3.

Mifflin County (2-1, 2-1) hosts Central Dauphin East today at 3:30 p.m.