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Rams quiet Huskies’ bats in victory

Mifflin County shows signs of rust in return

LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County High School baseball team had finally found its rhythm in its last stretch of games, winning three of four before two weeks of rain and a COVID shutdown threw its schedule off the rails.

The Huskies played their first game in two weeks on Tuesday night and bad luck — combined with some rust — continued to thwart Mifflin County as a red-hot Central Dauphin offense and a slow night at the plate spelled the end for the Huskies in a 9-4 loss in a Mid-Penn Commonwealth baseball contest in Lewistown.

Mifflin County (5-6) had one day of practice before facing a stout opponent in Central Dauphin (10-5). The Rams greeted the Huskies with a four-run first inning, as six hits put the Huskies behind early.

“They put up 15 hits and they hit the ball really well,” Mifflin County coach John McGonigle said. “You can’t take anything away from them there. They put up four runs and they were all earned in the first. Their pitcher threw well, and we just didn’t have the hits today. The long layoff doesn’t help, but we’ve got to get back to it.”

A pair of two-run doubles by David Shroyer and Christian Foltz did the damage in the first as the Huskies fell behind 4-0. Marshall Maidens led off the bottom of the inning with a single to short before Colby Bodtorf drove him in on a single to left-center field to get Mifflin County on the board.

Reilly Shafer settled into the ball game from there, working around a lead-off walk in the second and limiting damage in the third inning. Luke Lyter reached on an error to drive in Rylan Bailey, while Tyler Hunter grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Bryce Dobson to make it 4-3, Central Dauphin.

Lyter was tagged out trying to advance to third on the play, but hung himself up long enough to allow Dobson to score, to give Mifflin County it’s best chance to get back into it.

Overall, Shafer went five innings, striking out five hitters while allowing three hits and three walks. Shafer surrendered three runs, only one of which was earned in the victory.

Central Dauphin refused to go away in the middle innings, adding a run on an RBI single by Nicholas Keane to center field in the fourth and another run in the fifth on a long home run to left off the bat of Braden Mosby. Central Dauphin led 6-3 after five.

Central Dauphin iced things in the sixth inning, scratching across three runs on five hits — all singles. Shafer had an RBI single in the inning while Andrew Wenrich drove in two on a single to left field. Wenrich later was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Shroyer single to center field. Mifflin County plated a final run in the seventh on another RBI single to left by Bodtorf.

While the loss was disappointing, McGonigle was encouraged by the way the team played defensively. Despite giving up 15 hits, the Mifflin County pitching only surrendered one walk on the afternoon. Ian Hartzler threw a scoreless seventh inning in relief.

“We’re just trying to keep getting better,” McGonigle said. “There are a lot of things that we are looking at and things to work on. We’ve got some guys that are struggling, and we’ve got to work on getting them out of some slumps and get things moving in the right direction. We’re playing much better defensively; they were just the better team offensively.”

The season has been a rollercoaster for the Huskies as ups and downs have been a common theme. The biggest factor has been the weather and last week’s shutdown, as the team’s inability to practice or play while other teams continue to do so is an incredibly difficult circumstance to overcome.

“I thought that we played some really good baseball leading up to that layoff,” McGonigle said. “We got our defense back where we wanted it, we had the hits and Connor threw a great game against State College. He settled in and threw well today after the first inning. He didn’t leave the ball up as much like he did in the first. He gave us a chance to win. I like our pitching and we can keep our defense rolling. We just have to get the bats going.”

The Huskies will hit the road for the long bus ride to Chambersburg on Thursday before playing four games in four days next week with rescheduled games the team missed for weather and COVID postponements. Mifflin County’s regular season home finale is scheduled for Monday against Hollidaysburg.

“That’s just the circumstances for this year,” McGonigle said. “The good news is that we get to get back out there on Thursday and head down to Chambersburg and see if we can win a ball game down there.”

Central Dauphin 9, Mifflin County 4

MC 102 000 1 — 4 5 0

CD 400 113 0 — 9 15 3

WP: Reilly Shafer. LP: Connor Cherry. SO: Shafer 6, Braden Mosby 2, Kyle Belmont 1 (CD); Cherry 2, Dobson 2, Ian Hartzler 1 (MC). BB: Shafer 3, Mosby 1 (CD); Hartzler 1 (MC). HR: Mosby (CD). 2B: Christian Foltz 2, David Shroyer (CD). MH: Shafer 3-4, David Shroyer 3-4, Christian Foltz 3-4, Nicholas Keane 2-4, Andrew Wenrich 2-4, Braden Mosby 2-3 (CD); Colby Bodtorf 2-3 (MC). RBI: Shroyer 2, Foltz 2, Shafer 1, Keane 1, Mosby 1 (CD); Bodtorf 2, Luke Lyter 1, Tyler Hunter 1 (MC).

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