Huskies top State College, win 6th D6 title
LORETTO — Mifflin County entered Wednesday’s District 6 Class 6A championship game with two victories on the season over State College, but it was no secret that beating the Little Lions a third time was going to present the biggest challenge.
The Huskies offense got rolling early and Josie Kibe’s monster game at the plate was more than enough for Devanie Condrack in the circle as the Huskies never trailed on the way to an 8-2 victory over the Little Lions at Saint Francis University to give Mifflin County its sixth District 6 title and the senior class its third consecutive title. Mifflin County defeated State College by one run in 2018 and 2019 before last season was canceled by the pandemic.
Kibe drove in five runs in her first two at-bats, launching a solo homer to get the Huskies started in the second before she delivered a grand slam in the third inning — her fifth home run of the season — to give Mifflin County (10-8) a sizable 5-0 edge.
“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.”
Condrack overcame a lengthy weather delay in the fifth inning to cap off a gutsy performance, throwing a complete game in which she allowed two runs, struck out five batters and walked just one.
“I didn’t do very good (at first after the delay) but my teammates and my coaches told me that I could do it and that I needed to have confidence in myself when I went back out,” Condrack said. “I was really nervous, but I ended up being OK because of my teammates and coaches.”
The Little Lions (11-9) added a run in the fourth and sixth innings but were held in check otherwise. Mifflin County coach Craig Weston was pleased with how the Huskies responded after leading 5-2 as the weather delay hit. Three big insurance runs gave Condrack a little extra cushion and confidence to carve through the last three hitters in the final inning.
“You never know what to expect. You get going and you’re hitting the ball and your pitchers are throwing well,” Weston said. “We sat Devanie down and told her that we wanted to see her warmup and see how she felt. We also have Madison Wolfgang and we have confidence in both of them. Devanie was throwing a whale of a game and she’s a senior leader on this team, so we wanted her to keep the ball.”
Kibe’s first home run to center field gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead through two before her grand slam made it 5-0 through three as Caitlyn Kick, Madison Myers and Alyssa Souders also scored on the second bomb down the left-field line.
“We got the momentum,” Weston said. “We kept telling them to go out and score a run to get us on the board and take the pressure off. When (Josie) poked that first one — both of them were just shots — you could just feel the energy. That was huge.”
Kibe never thought she was going to get the chance to hit the second home run, although she was elated with the result. The Little Lions intentionally walked Kibe in the fifth before she added an infield single to shortstop to finish the day 3-for-3.
“I thought that they were going to walk me honestly,” Kibe said. “I’m really happy that they didn’t. It feels good. I didn’t think I’d do this well today. It really is a shock, and I don’t know how to describe it honestly. It shocked me that I did that.”
The big lead allowed Condrack to throw her best stuff throughout the afternoon and was cruising through the first few innings. She didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning.
“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.”
State College scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tori Kroboth in the fourth and then added a second run in the sixth following the weather delay on Ava Bierly’s RBI single to center.
From there, Condrack caught her second wind, retiring the last six batters she faced in order. Condrack looked every bit like herself against State College. The senior threw a six-inning no-hitter against the Little Lions the last time the two teams met during the regular season.
“There’s a history there, but 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.”
The familiarity with State College also aided Condrack in the circle.
“I think it would be different if it was my first time (facing State College), but it wasn’t,” she said. “Then going through the delays and everything I just started to get nervous slowly as it kept going on.”
The Huskies pounded out 12 hits on the day with Mackenzie Burdge going 2-for-4, Leesha Shilling going 2-for-3 and Payton McClure going 2-for-3. McClure drove in two on a double in the seventh while Burdge had an RBI single in the inning. McClure had a pair of doubles, while Burdge and Gianna Hoppel also doubled in the victory.
For Mifflin County’s seniors, the victory marked the third District 6 title that members of the class of 2021 have played a part in. Mifflin County’s nine seniors this season include Kibe, Condrack, Souders, Kick, Myers, Hoppel, Shilling, Allison Gahagan and Jaylyn Moore.
“It’s really great for the whole team but especially for that senior group after losing the season last year,” Weston said. “They’re leaders. They don’t have to be starters. They are the ones that set the tone at practice, and I couldn’t ask for any more out of these kids.”
The win is one that Weston hopes can carry the team forward as it will face the District 10 champion to vie for a spot in the PIAA Class 6A tournament, which begins on June 7th.
“We just take it from here,” Weston said of the team’s approach moving forward. “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.”
Mifflin County 8, State College 2
MC 014 000 3 — 8 12 2
SC 000 101 0 — 2 4 2
WP: Devanie Condrack. LP: Zia Bodnar. SO: Condrack 5 (MC); Bodnar 5 (SC). BB: Condrack 1 (MC); Bodnar 3 (SC). HR: Kibe 2 (MC). 2B: Payton McClure 2, Mackenzie Burdge, Gianna Hoppel (MC); Olivia Herncane 2 (SC). MH: Kibe 3-3, Burdge 2-4, Leesha Shilling 2-3, McClure 2-3 (MC); Herncane 2-3 (SC). RBI: Kibe 5, McClure 2, Burdge (MC); Ava Bierly, Tori Kroboth (SC).