MOUNT JOY — Greencastle-Antrim out-hit Donegal 8-7.
However, while the Blue Devils spread those hits out over five innings, the Indians bunched five of them into the fourth inning and scored five runs on their way to a 6-2 victory in a District 3 Class 5A first-round softball playoff game Tuesday afternoon in Mount Joy.
“We hit the ball hard and they made the plays,” Greencastle coach Mark DeCarli said. “We just weren’t able to get that hit into the gap at the right time to bring in some runs.”
Donegal pitcher Cara Biesecker was not overpowering, but she caused the Blue Devils to swing at too many pitches out of the strike zone.
DeCarli said, “We went for a lot of first pitches, which is not normal for us. We could have been a lot more patient, especially late in the game. And we swung at a lot more high pitches than usual.”
Case in point: In the first inning, Biesecker threw just three pitches total — a single by Sydra Royer, a line drive to left by Sydney Orndorff that the Indians turned into a double play, and a fly ball to right by Bailee Martin-Irving.
Other than a solo home run to dead centerfield by Donegal’s Kara Heidlauf in the second, Martin-Irving had a good start on the mound for G-A. Until the fourth, that is, just after G-A took a 2-1 lead with two runs in the top of third.
Emma Garber led off the fourth in a double to left, After an out, Emma Miller bunted for a hit and Esther Myers walked to load the bases. Biesecker then grounded a single to left-center to score two runs and give the Indians a 3-2 lead.
A bloop single to right by Aysha Gibbs loaded the bases again. The third run of the inning scored when Bella Mackison hit a foul pop fly to right that was snagged by second baseman Abby Stouffer, but her throw to the plate was high and it was now 4-2. Madeline Gohn then smacked a hard grounder through the infield to score the final two runs.
In the third, when Greencastle scored its two runs, two runners were thrown out on the bases, or perhaps more runs could have scored.
Amanda Grosh led off with a walk and Royer ripped a double to left that would have scored Grosh, but it left the field, so it was a ground-rule double. Orndorff hit a grounder to short, and Donegal’s Natalie Colwell threw out Grosh trying to score.
“We’re always going to be aggressive on the bases,” DeCarli said.
Then came a wild play. Martin-Irving hit a hot shot to short and the ball hit Colwell’s leg and bounded toward second base. Gibbs picked the ball up and stepped on the base for a force out, but her wild throw to first allowed Royer to cross the plate. Adrianna Beeler then singled to plate G-A’s final run.
DeCarli said, “I’m kind of disappointed in the amount of hits we had. I think we helped her out too much. But we did have our opportunities.”
Beeler was 3-for-3 and also tossed two perfect innings of relief, and Royer was 3-for-4 for Greencastle, which finished with a 13-8 record. Donegal (16-3) will play in the quarterfinals on Thursday against the winner of Lampeter-Strasburg vs. New Oxford.
“We’ll just reload and come back next year in the playoffs,” DeCarli said.