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Huskies punch ticket to States

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Mifflin County’s Gianna Hoppel high-fives Mifflin County coach Craig Weston after hitting a home run in the fifth inning, in the Huskies 10-2 win against Erie McDowell, at Mount Aloysius, on Tuesday.

CRESSON–Mifflin County rode the right arm of Devanie Condrack and the power bats of Gianna Hoppel and Josie Kibe to earn their way into the PIAA 6A Softball Championship playoffs after defeating Erie McDowell, 10-2, in Tuesday afternoon’s play-in game at Mount Aloysius.

Condrack pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on seven hits, while striking out 11 Trojans’ batters. Hoppel hit a three-run blast in the fifth inning, finishing the day with 4 RBIs and Kibe knocked in three runs on a 2-for-4 performance.

“From the get-go, we were hitting the ball hard and Devanie was throwing strikes,” Huskies’ coach Craig Weston said. “From the first pitch, it seemed like we were dialed in and ready to go.”

Condrack made quick work of the Trojans in the top of the first and Mifflin County came to the plate in the bottom of the frame, looking to jump out to an early lead.

Hoppel drew a walk on a full count and Alyssa Souders singled down the left field line to set the table for Kibe, who delivered an early blow. The Huskies’ clean-up hitter roped a double off of the right-center field wall, plating both runners to give Mifflin County a 2-0 lead, which they would not relinquish.

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Mifflin County’s Pitcher Devanie Condrack hugs her catcher Alyssa Souders after completing the final out sealing the Mifflin County victory.

“It was a good feeling to get that little bit of an early lead and the momentum stayed with us,” Weston explained.

The opportunistic Trojans plated a run on an RBI single by Maggie Hoover, after Hannah Powierza reached second on an error in the Huskies’ outfield.

From there, Condrack set the pace on the mound and worked her way in and out of minimal trouble for the remainder of the game. McDowell threatened in the fourth and fifth innings, putting a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Condrack squashed the scoring chances with clutch strikeouts.

Mifflin County blew the game open in the fourth, scoring five runs while sending nine batters to the plate.

Leesha Shilling and Arika Henry began the inning with singles, before Caitlyn Kick advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Lead-off hitter Madison Myers drove in a run on a single to left-center field to open the flood gates.

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Mifflin County’s shortstop Madison Myers catches a pop-fly in the sixth inning.

The next three batters, Hoppel, Souders and Kibe, all singled, with Hoppel and Kibe picking up an RBI. A run on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Mackenzie Burdge concluded the five-run explosion and gave the Huskies a comfortable 7-1 lead.

Condrack continued to mow batters down and just for good measure, Hoppel gave Mifflin County a little extra insurance. Henry singled and Kick walked to set the table for Hoppel who jumped on a 1-1 fastball and hit it high into the left-center field gap. The ball came down and bounced off the top of the fence and over for a three-run home run.

“For a kid that’s battled and played well for us all year, that’s huge,” Weston said. “She’s had quite a career and we want to keep it going (for the seniors) as long as we can.”

Erie McDowell was able to scratch across another run in the top of the seventh before Condrack slammed the door shut and secured the win for Mifflin County.

With the win, the Huskies will advance to the first round of the PIAA 6A Softball Championship playoffs and will play the District 7 runner-up on June 7.

Weston and his team are thrilled to be in the state tournament but are ready to put in the work necessary to make a deep run at the state championship.

“Like we’ve always said, let’s make a run and see how long we can keep playing ball,” Weston said. “We got the W… All around, I’m happy with everything, but saying that, we still have to prepare for what’s ahead of us.”

Mifflin County 10, Erie McDowell 2

EM: 010 000 1–2-7-0

MC: 200 530 X–10-14-1

WP: Devanie Condrack. LP: Alivia Soule. SO: Condrack 11 (MC); Soule 4 (EM). BB: Condrack (MC); Soule 3 (EM). HR: Gianna Hoppel (MC). 2B: Josie Kibe (MC), Hilary Sissom (EM). MH: Alyssa Souders 3-4, Hoppel 2-3, Kibe 2-4, Leesha Shilling 2-4, Arika Henry 2-2 (MC); Maggie Hoover 3-3. RBI: Hoppel 4, Kibe 3, Madison Myers, Mackenzie Burdge (MC); Taytum Iavarone, Hoover (EM).

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