LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County scored four runs in the first three innings and it was enough as the Huskies dropped Cumberland Valley 4-1 for a season-opening win Monday at Highland Park Elementary School.
“It’s a good start for our team,” Mifflin County coach Jack McCurdy said. “That’s a reputable program in the Mid-Penn. That’s a solid team, but so are we. It’s a big confidence boost for the kids.”
The Huskies got a complete game and nine strikeouts from pitcher Shelby Lyter with the only blemish on her day being a first-inning unearned run.
“Shelby has a lot of difference pitches that she’s able to throw,” McCurdy said. “I get a pretty good read on her and what she’s throwing well. Her curveball was working really well, she was getting a lot of kids to wave at that. Her drop ball looked good. That’s an aggressive team and her change was really effective with that team.”
When Cumberland Valley was able to get runners on base, Lyter bore down and stranded them, with the most important instance being in the sixth inning.
Taylor Krow and Rachael Mumma both singled in the top of the sixth and were standing on second and third base with the tying run at the plate in power-hitting clean-up hitter Alexa Erney.
Lyter beared down again and struck out Erney and got pinch-hitter Zoe St. Cyr to pop-up to second to escape the inning unscathed, keeping the score at 4-1 Mifflin County going to the bottom half of the sixth.
“I just know that I have to throw as hard as I can and work above them,” Lyter said of her approach with runners on base.
Cumberland Valley opened up the game when Krow singled down the third-base line to lead off the game.
Summer Keefer sacrificed her to second base before Mumma came up with one out.
Krow took off for third base and Huskies’ catcher Allessa Morrison threw wide to third and into left-field and Krow crossed the plate for the game’s first run – Cumberland Valley’s only run of the afternoon.
Lyter struck out the next two Cumberland Valley batters to end the inning.
“Usually when we have an error, it makes me buckle down,” Lyter said. “I know that I have to work harder to get the outs.”
Mifflin County answered right back in the bottom half of the first.
Morrison atoned for her error, walking to lead off the Huskies’ half and later scoring to knot the game 1-1 on Kale Hunter’s RBI single.
Lyter came back in the second inning and struck out the side to strand Jessica Moore, who singled and stole a base.
The Cumberland Valley left-handed starter, Moore helped out the Huskies in the home half of the frame.
Moore walked the bases loaded to in the second before Lauren Bitting’s RBI groundout plated the go-ahead run for the Huskies and moved the other two runners up.
“It’s definitely a little bit different,” Lyter said of the left-handed starter. “It sort of opens up your eyes and really gets you ready for the game.”
To her credit, Moore kept them there when she induced a harmless pop out to second and a hard hit grounder which she fielded and threw the runner out to end the threat with only one run for Mifflin County.
After a third Eagles stolen base on the day, Keefer took off for third when the ball got away from Morrison, but the Huskies’ catcher gunned down Keefer to end the inning.
The Huskies tacked on to their lead again in the third inning.
Mara Rhodes walked and stole second base before scoring on Hunter’s RBI single.
Lyter helped herself with an RBI single of her own, scoring Jordan Shirey to make it 4-1 Huskies in the bottom of the third.
Outside of Rhodes’ booming double to the right-center field gap, both teams were quiet in the fourth inning.
Lyter retired the side in order again for the third consecutive inning in the fifth, getting two groundouts and a pop out.
The Huskies pitcher got the Eagles in order in the seventh including a strikeout of her counterpart, Cumberland Valley relief pitcher Jennifer Hanshaw, to end the game.
The Huskies (1-0, 1-0) hit the road for the first time this season on Wednesday when they travel to Central Dauphin East.