LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County starting pitcher Shelby Lyter stranded seven Chambersburg runners in scoring position, struck out seven and breezed through the final three innings en route to a 3-1 win Monday afternoon at Highland Park Elementary School.
“It’s tremendous,” Mifflin County coach Jack McCurdy said of his ace’s approach with runners in scoring position. “You know you always have a chance to get out of an inning. Those are high pressure situations. When there are runners on base that puts a lot of pressure on her and the defense. There’s been several times this season when we’ve been able to get out of second and third and no outs.”
Lyter (5-0) started the game on a rocky note, committing the cardinal sin for a pitcher to open the game when she walked Chambersburg’s leadoff hitter, Alyia Kauffman.
Kauffman came around to score on a bases-loaded walk but that was the only run the Trojans could muster against the Huskies starter.
Lyter stranded bases full of runners in the first on a strikeout of Lily Nolan and set the tone for the day.
After three walks in the first inning, the Huskies’ starter didn’t walk another Chambersburg batter the rest of the day.
Mifflin County answered Chambersburg’s first-inning run with one of its own.
Allessa Morrison walked to lead off the inning and stole second with two outs.
Kale Hunter ripped a double down the third base to score Morrison and even the game at 1-1.
After a quiet second inning for both teams, Chambersburg got its first two batters on board to start the third inning.
Following Mandy Bell’s steal of second base, the Trojans had runners on second and third with no outs.
Lyter got Tara Harmon, who had two doubles on the day, to hit a shallow fly to center field.
Mara Rhodes fired home on the fly and Chelsea Sommerville stopped in her tracks a few steps off of third base.
“We made some great plays,” McCurdy said. “Mara Rhodes made that catch in center field with second and third (occupied) and being able to make that throw to hold that runner – that’s key. I really like the way we’re playing.”
Lyter got the next two batters on a strikeout and another fly out to center to end another threat.
Mifflin County came right back to start the third in the same manner as the first.
Morrison singled and was sacrificed to second by Tara Kibe before Rhodes doubled to center to knock her in.
Two straight fly outs with Rhodes on second ended the Huskies’ half of the third, leaving the score at 2-1 Mifflin County.
Lyter turned the same trick in the fourth as she did the previous inning.
Kauffman doubled to the gap and the lead runner, Lindsay DeBross fell down rounding third and another great Huskies relay kept the runners at bay.
Sommerville struck out looking to end the inning.
Harmon launched the Trojans third double of the day with one out in the fifth, but Chambersburg’s last runner of the day advanced no further.
As the day wore on, Lyter started winning the battle against an unusual but consistent strike zone.
The home plate umpire favor the lower strike on the outside part of the plate, something Lyter adjusted to.
“I definitely had to adjust today,” Lyter said. “He wasn’t giving me my rise ball which I’m not used to. I had to change it up.”
Lyter helped herself out in the home half of the sixth.
Hannah Ruby hit a one-out single to right and pinch-runner Taylor McKay stole second.
Lyter doubled to deep center to knock in McKay and add an insurance run to make it 3-1 Mifflin County.
“I definitely needed that to boost my confidence,” Lyter said of her RBI double.
Chambersburg went down quietly on three straight fly outs to give her 13 on the day to end the game and keep the Huskies unbeaten on the season.
“They were definitely attacking the ball,” Lyter said. “When we needed an out, (fly outs) were an easy way to go.”
Mifflin County (6-0, 6-0 Mid-Penn) will visit Cumberland Valley on Thursday at 4:15 p.m.