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Huskies come through once again when it matters most

LORETTO — Mifflin County softball won its third consecutive District 6 Class 6A title on Wednesday afternoon by staying true to itself.

The Huskies rode the hot hand of Devanie Condrack in the circle and received a big five RBI, two-homer night from Josie Kibe to defeat rival State College for the third time this season with an 8-2 victory.

The season series was one of dominance for Mifflin County, as the Huskies posted an 8-5 victory on April 16th in the first meeting with the Little Lions before Condrack’s no-hitter on April 27th resulted in a 10-0 victory for Mifflin County. The Huskies scored at least eight runs in each matchup and outscored the Little Lions 26-7 in three games.

The mindset of scrapping and clawing is one that first-year coach Craig Weston has instilled in his team from Day 1 and once again, it was that mantra that allowed the Huskies to overcome a lengthy weather delay that halted their momentum by delivering a knock-out punch in the seventh in the form of a three-run inning, two of which scored on a clutch RBI double to left field by Payton McClure.

“It’s all about this team,” Weston said. “Today it may not have been someone’s day but someone else was there to pick it up. That’s what we need. The kids are battling and coming to the field every day ready to go.”

Kibe came through in a big way early to ignite the offense and the hitting became contagious with the Huskies pounding out 12 hits on the afternoon. Clutch hitting throughout the lineup was enough to keep the Little Lions at bay and deliver the Huskies’ sixth District 6 title.

“Every time I’m up to bat I just think about getting that base hit and just doing whatever I can to get on base,” Kibe said. “I had two strikes on me both times and just wanted to hit the ball and happened to hit it out. I was really shocked. I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

In the circle, Condrack dominated by getting ahead with her fastball, keeping hitters off-balance with a curveball while also mixing in a screwball as a successful out pitch to toy with opposing hitters. Condrack allowed just four hits all game. Pair Condrack at her best with some run support and the Huskies have a strong recipe for success.

“It definitely helps me feel better when we get a jump start,” Condrack said. “It’s easier to pitch when you score runs and you’re ahead. When you get in the dugout and you’re just cheering and being a team, that helps as well. It gets everyone hyped up and they just wanted me there and they wanted to win.”

The Huskies’ lineup is strong throughout and the top five batters of the order present a murderer’s row of sorts, with Madison Myers, Gianna Hoppel, Alyssa Souders, Josie Kibe and Mackenzie Burdge all producing offensively throughout the season. Souders leads the team with a .480 batting average while Kibe leads the Huskies in both home runs (5) and RBIs (25).

Hoppel and Myers have been counted on to get on base and reach at a high clip. Hoppel currently sports a .305 batting average and a .354 on-base percentage while Myers is batting .338 with an on-base percentage of .392. Up and down the lineup, consistent production has allowed the Huskies to be a force to be reckoned with in District 6.

“Any win is big and getting a District 6 title is huge,” Weston said. “It’s all about those kids. It’s about them coming out, being prepared to go and they were. I’m proud of every single of them.”

The overwhelming feeling for the Huskies after the victory seemed to be a feeling of appreciation for a second chance to play after the 2020 season was taken away before it even got started. Another senior class for the Huskies will once again go out on top of District 6 — a stellar accomplishment that joins Mifflin County’s growing list of district titles in the school’s short history.

“Not having the year last year was disappointing because I had a good feeling about winning districts last year too,” Kibe said. “I’m really happy that we did it, especially for the girls last year that graduated and didn’t get to experience it. There was a few of them here and it made me really happy for them. We have nine seniors so they’re going to lose a lot next year. I’m really glad that we could do this with them because I’ve been with these nine seniors for so long.”

Condrack also reflected on the accomplishment, being a part of a class that has accounted for half of the school’s D6 titles.

“I’m really glad that I got to experience this in my last year with all of the other seniors,” Condrack said. “We are really glad that we won and excited to move forward. I’m really excited for our season to continue. It’s definitely a big deal to us and a big deal to the younger girls that are coming up and are experiencing this for the first time and getting to see how things go and how districts works.”

Mifflin County’s title was its third since the PIAA went to six classifications in 2017. The Huskies also won three District 6 titles in Class 4A, including a win over Central Mountain in 2013, a victory over DuBois in 2015 and a win over State College in 2016. The game also marked the fifth-straight year that the Huskies have met State College in the District 6 final.

The District 6 title was the 10th in county history dating back to 1976. Kishacoquillas won three titles (1983, 1986 and 1987) while Chief Logan won a championship in 1988.

For Mifflin County, the Huskies hope to get through the brutal District 6-10 play-in matchup to get into the PIAA tournament.

The Huskies have advanced to the PIAA field four times, most recently in 2018 when the Huskies dropped a first-round matchup to Baldwin, 9-6. The farthest the Huskies have made it is the quarterfinal round in 2016, when the Huskies fell to Chambersburg, 11-4.

Mifflin County has a 1-4 all-time record in the PIAA tournament, but Weston and the Huskies are embracing the underdog mentality entering the District 6-10 play-in game.

“We just take it from here,” Weston said. “I told the kids why not us? Let’s make a run. Let’s go and play until we can’t play anymore and keep battling. That’s all we can do.”

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