Near-perfect pitching finally broken

REEDSVILLE – Mifflin County’s Taylor Ciccolini was dominant in a 9-10-year-old all-star game on Monday night at Steve Snyder Field in Reedsville.

The pitcher struck out 12 State College batters in the five innings of no-hit ball, but the visitors struck for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to earn the 3-2 win in the Little League District 5 softball opener.

Ciccolini didn’t allow a ball to be put in play until the first batter of the fifth inning, striking out the side in the first, third and fourth innings.

“She pitched an awesome game, hands down,” Mifflin County coach Jenn Ruble said. “There’s nothing I can say. All six innings, she was strong.”

Mifflin County scored a run to take a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Ali Wagner singled for her third hit of the day and stole second and third before a wild pitch scored her.

Mifflin County got two more base runners on back-to-back walks to Caitlyn Penebaker and Rylee Boyer. Penebaker’s pinch runner tried to score on a wild pitch for an insurance run, but was thrown out at the plate.

Olivia Herncane came on in relief of Paige Alexander and got two groundouts to end the threat and keep the game at 2-1.

After being late getting around on Ciccolini all night, it finally benefited State College to start the sixth.

Meredith Meengs singled on a ball just over Penebaker’s head for State College’s first hit of the night. Meengs advanced to third on the single by Herncane and scored on a wild pitch. Herncane moved over to third on a wild pitch and scored the game-winning run in the same manner.

“I think being the sixth inning; she just slowed down a little bit,” Mifflin County coach Jenn Ruble said of the final inning. “She got tired and (probably) hot.”

State College was able to scratch across a run in the top of the first when Herncane walked to start the game and stole second and third base before scoring on a wild pitch with two outs.

Ciccolini struck out Riley Kracaw to end the inning and keep the deficit at 1-0.

Ciccolini struck out Paige Alexander and Anna Witmer to start the second inning before issuing a walk to Kylie Ehrensberger, who advanced on two wild pitches.

Molly LaMotte then drew a walk, but was ruled to have left the base early while Ciccolini was in the circle and was ruled out for the third out of the inning.

Mifflin County used that momentum to get on the scoreboard in the top half of the third and knot the game 1-1.

The ninth-place hitter, Julie Diven, started the third by drawing a lead-off walk. She stole second and third and came home on Alexander’s wild pitch.

Wagner tried to start a two-out rally with a single and moved up to second on Penebaker’s single.

Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but were stranded there when Boyer grounded out to third to end the inning.

Neither Mifflin County nor State College got anyone on base in the fourth or fifth innings.

Alexander went 5 1/3 innings and struck out nine Mifflin County hitters.