Huskies’ charge cut short by weather

LEWISTOWN – The Mifflin County softball team started its game early against Mid-Penn Commonwealth power Cumberland Valley Wednesday with hopes of avoiding the impending weather threat.

The attempt failed.

The sound of thunder cleared the field and spectators from Highland Park around 4:42 p.m. with the Huskies leading the Mid-Penn power, 3-0.

After being dominated by Cumberland Valley’s Kayla Sullenberger in a 9-1 loss earlier in the season, Mifflin County’s hitters demonstrated patience at the plate – making the righty work to find the zone. Sullenberger chucked more than 30 pitches in the opening frame while walking two Huskies and allowing two hits.

“We were taking a lot of pitches,” Mifflin County coach Jack McCurdy said. “She seemed to be a little up in the zone.”

The Huskies took advantage of the otherwise dominant pitcher’s inconsistency. Following a pop up to shorstop, Jordan Myers drew a walk to give the Huskies first and second with one out and Taylor Boyer coming to the plate. Boyer smashed a hard ground ball through the right side, plating Rhodes and sending Myers to third on the throw.

Macie Lucas plated the team’s second run with an infield single to the shortstop’s backhand. A hard ground ball hit by Jordan Shirey right at Cumberland Valley’s Zoe St. Cyr yielded the second out of the inning on the fielder’s choice when St. Cyr came up firing to cut down Boyer at the plate. Lucas smartly moved up to third on the play – setting the stage for a first-and-third play that scored the third run for the home team.

“That’s a play you’ll see frequently,” McCurdy said. “When you try to get that kid at first base hung up in a run down and try to score that run from third.”

The Huskies executed the plan to perfection. Shirey was turned back toward first after the catcher threw down to second and she stayed in the rundown just long enough for Lucas to cross home plate.

After shutting down the Eagles in the top of the first, starting pitcher Rachel Zimmerman went back to work from the circle. Locating her fastball and utilizing a changeup effectively in the first stanza yielded two strikeouts and she turned in one K in the second, overcoming a misplayed groundball and stranding an Eagle base runner at second base.

“The changeup was working fantastically,” McCurdy said of Zimmerman. “We knew that they were aggressive hitters – that’s one of the reasons we decided to go with (Zimmerman) – because of her changeup.”

Zimmerman effectively kept the Eagles off balance in her 49-pitch outing. She threw 32 strikes and struck out four Eagles in three innings of work.

“For three innings she threw very well,” McCurdy said. “The first inning was her best inning and she had good command of her pitches in the second inning.”

The Huskies are hoping that the momentum they were able to grab will carry over to when the two teams meet again. Mifflin County was in a similar situation three weeks ago when its game with Central Dauphin was suspended after an inning and a half. The Huskies hit the ball well and were down 2-1 at the time of the delay and eventual postponement.

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” McCurdy said of the weather. “It’s hard when you have momentum going – unfortunately we have to put it on pause and hope the (girls) come back with the same energy.”

The squad will need to maintain its energy if it hopes to pull off the upset against the division’s top team.

Mifflin County (6-2, 5-2) will resume Wednesday’s game with Cumberland Valley at 1 p.m. today. The Huskies will take the field in the top of the fourth inning, leading 3-0.