Altoona hangs tough before faltering late
By Kyle Brady
For the Mirror
LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County Huskies faced off against the Altoona Lady Lions in the District 6 6A softball semifinals on Thursday.
Mifflin County’s Devanie Condrack and Altoona’s Madison Zimmerer were locked in a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings, but the Huskies’ bats came alive late to score a 13-3 win in six innings.
“Once again, we had a slow start… Coming off two bad games, I think everyone could feel the pressure,” Mifflin County coach Craig Weston said. “Finally, it was like letting the air of the balloon. Once is started to go, it just went.”
The Lady Lions struck first, scratching a run across in the top of the first to give themselves an early lead. Madison Pinch walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Abby Smearman then delivered an RBI single.
Condrack settled in after the quick strike and kept the Altoona lineup off-balanced the rest of the game. She finished with 10 strikeouts in six innings.
Zimmerer ran into trouble in the third after a double by Madison Myers sparked the Huskies’ offense. Gianna Hoppel tied the game at 1 with an RBI single.
Alyssa Souders hit a sacrifice fly to center that was deep enough to drive home Hoppel for a 2-1 lead.
The score held until the bottom of the fifth when MC made it 6-1 on an Altoona error, and a two-run single by Mackenzie Burdge, plus a run-scoring groundout by Peyton McClure.
Despite the loss, Altoona coach John Benson — whose team finished 0-17 — was happy to see his team’s effort.
“We’re happy to compete. That’s what I tell them all the time: ‘Let’s come out and compete,'” Benson said. “The chips are going to fall where they are going to fall. Competing is the number one process.”
Altoona cut the lead to 6-3 in the sixth.
Gracie Wilt and Smearman singled. Wilt and Smearman pulled off a double steal to set the table for Riley Steinbugl, who delivered a two-run single.
“They never quit. This groups never quits,” Benson said. “They’re in the game to play the game until the end.”
Mifflin County (9-8) won it with seven runs in its half of the sixth. The Huskies got a two-run single from both Burdge and McClure as part of the outburst.
For Benson and his team, allowing a big inning is something that has plagued this team all season.
“We seem to fall into an inning that we can’t get ourselves out of,” Benson said. “We work on that, but sometimes, it happens. We threw a junior and a freshman at them today, so we’ve got promise coming on the mound.”
ALTOONA (3): Pincin 2b 210, Feathers 3b 301, Wilt cf 311, Smearman lf 312, Cunningham rf 200, A. Steinbugl rf 100, R. Steinbugl 301, Strawmire c 300, Shaw 1b 201, Glasgow 1b 000, Zimmerer p 201, Delozier p 000, Houp cr 000. Totals — 24-3-7.
MIFFLIN COUNTY (13): Myers ss 523, Hoppel 2b 433, Souders c 321, Kibe cf 411, Burdge 3b 422, Moore dh 200, McClure dh 211, Shilling 1b 313, Gahagan rf 300, Brumbaugh ph 101, Kick lf 311. Totals — 34-13-16.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Altoona 100 002 X– 3 7 4
Mifflin County 002 047 X–13 16 1
2B–Souders, Burdge, Shilling, Myers. 3B–Hoppel. RBI–R. Steinbugl 2, Smearman, Burdge 4, McClure 3, Myers, Hoppel, Souders, Kibe, Brumbaugh. WP–Condrack. LP–Zimmerer. SO–Condrack 10. BB–Condrack 2, Delozier 2.
Records: Altoona (0-17); Mifflin County (9-8).