Hunter’s bat stings Panthers in rout

LEWISTOWN – Shelby Lyter wasted no time rebounding from a tough loss in a pitcher’s duel against DuBois on Saturday.

Lyter struck out the side in the first inning and 11 Central Dauphin East batters for the day as Mifflin County dropped the Panthers 10-0 in six innings on Monday in a Commonwealth Division contest at Highland Park Elementary School.

“I think we had all aspects of the game going today,” Mifflin County coach Jack McCurdy said. “Good defense, good pitching and we really hit the ball well today.”

Lyter’s teammates complemented her effort on the mound with a great display from the get-go in the batter’s box against Central Dauphin East starter Alyssia Brown.

Allessa Morrison was hit by a pitch to start the first and Mara Rhodes followed with a single to center. Kale Hunter, who knocked in five of the Huskies’ 10 runs, singled to right to score Morrison before the Panthers could record their first out.

After that, Maggie Wray blasted a one-out single to center to score Rhodes and Hunter and make it 3-0 Huskies.

“We took it step-by-step (at the plate),” Morrison said. “We’ve been working on a lot of different pitches to hit. We saw about everything to hit today.”

After Lyter struck out the last two batters in the top half of the second to strand a Central Dauphin East runner on base, the Huskies attacked the Panthers’ starter again in the second.

Sage Heckendorn singled to start the second and advanced on Morrison’s bunt single. Morrison took second uncontested with the runner on third to give the Huskies two runners in scoring position.

Rhodes’ RBI-groundout and a Hunter single brought the two runners home and Mifflin County grabbed a 5-0 lead after two innings.

“I think she was throwing a bit of a screwball low and inside,” McCurdy said. “Our kids just laid off it. I think they were waiting for her to come back outside and they were just hitting it on the button. That’s the best that we’ve hit all year. Sometimes you don’t know how the kids are going to come out. Today they obviously were ready.”

Lyter breezed through another inning in the third, striking out the first two she faced and inducing a harmless inning-ending flyout to left.

Mifflin County picked up two more runs in the bottom of the third.

Wray led off with a double and scored on Lauren Bitting’s RBI single. Jordan Shirey scored on a double steal to make it 7-0 Mifflin County.

With the added support, Lyter continued her great work in the circle, stranding a two-out double in the fourth and retiring the Panthers in order in the fifth and sixth to end her complete game shutout.

Many of the Panthers’ swings those two innings seemed hopeless against Lyter and her curveball.

“Toward the end, it looked like they kind of gave up,” Morrison said. “We used that to our advantage.”

Following Lyter’s two dominant innings, Mifflin County took advantage and ended the game via the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth.

Taylor McKay walked to start the inning and advanced on Bitting’s groundout.

Morrison walked and Rhodes singled to load the bases.

Hunter stepped up to the plate and singled to left and the ball short-hopped the Panther leftfielder and got away from her.

“She did amazing.” Morrison said of Hunter. “Her hitting has come around so much. That last hit really brought everything home. She’s been hitting like that the last couple of games. She’s really bringing it. I’m really proud of her.”

All three runs scored to end the game and Hunter took second on the error.

The Huskies played a nearly flawless game aside from the two Panther hits.

“I think so,” Morrison said on whether it was her team’s best effort. “We hit the ball, we did good fielding. We did everything.”

Lyter didn’t walk a batter all day and her teammates played mistake-free defense behind her in by all accounts, Mifflin County’s best game of the season.

“When we lost Thursday and came right back and played well against Jersey Shore, to follow that up (was nice),” McCurdy said. “This is where I really want to see this team going.”

Mifflin County (8-2, 7-1 Mid-Penn) will host State College today.