HYDE – One bad inning cost Mifflin County a 13-5 loss to Huntingdon Monday, but the Huskies who showed up at the Bison Sports Complex Wednesday reverted back to the formula they displayed in knocking off 2011 PIAA Class AA champion Philipsburg-Osceola 2-1 Friday and pinned a 10-0 defeat on the Clearfield Area High School softball team.
Winner Mikala Britt, who pitched five strong innings, and Rachel Zimmerman combined on the one-hit shutout, while the Huskies played solid defense, took advantage of Lady Bison miscues to score four unearned runs early and then made it a Mercy Rule win with five runs in the sixth inning.
Rachel Hoffman’s grounder that sneaked past second base in the second inning prevented Clearfield from being no-hit.
So far, the Lady Bisons have mustered only three safeties in their two Mercy Rule losses.
“I thought we’d be a lot better hitting team,” perplexed Clearfield coach Bob Dixon said.
The Lady Bisons were making contact, but the Huskies gobbled up almost everything.
In a portent of things to come, shortstop Brandi Sherwood ranged to her left to rob Clearfield leadoff batter Andrea Butler of a single in the bottom of the first.
“I thought Butler had a hit up the middle, and she came over, made a nice pick on it and threw her out,” Dixon said. “That was a nice play.
“Of course, I don’t think we hit too many hard ones that they had to make nice plays on.”
He added, “We’ve got to get straightened out,” and he could have said that about his team’s defensive play, too.
All four of the Lady Bison errors occurred in the first two innings and provided four gift runs for the Huskies, who had only two hits but were very aggressive on the basepaths.
Clearfield didn’t do a good job defensing three consecutive bunts in the three-run second, either.
“(Tuesday) night, we spent over the first half of practice working on that specifically,” Dixon stated. “And we came out and didn’t do anything right.
“You can’t give away runs, not in this sport, and not when you don’t score. That puts a lot of pressure on your pitcher to be perfect.”
Hoffman wasn’t, but Mifflin County didn’t get its first earned run until the fourth frame when Britt dropped a single into short center field, just in front of a diving B.J. Bowman. Courtesy runner Macie Lucas then came around to score via a stolen base and two groundouts.
“I thought Rachel threw good the early part of the game,” Dixon said. “It wasn’t like they were killing her.”
In the sixth, Hoffman issued all four of her walks and wild-pitched in two runs while surrendering a run-scoring double by Kale Hunter and a two-run homer to left field by Jordan Myers.
“I think she got tired,” Dixon said. “She couldn’t keep the ball down and she lost some off her fastball.”
Hoffman allowed only five hits while striking out seven in her first start.
Clearfield will take to the road Friday for a Mountain League cross-over game against Penns Valley.
Brandi Sherwood ss 4000, Jordan Myers 1b 4222, Emily Tomasello lf 3000, Jessica Lamberson 3000, Alyssa Morrison 3100, Kale Hunter 3b 3221, Mikala Britt p 1210, Maggie Lucas cr 0000, Julia Stuck ph-2b 1000, Alyssa Stackpole 2b 2201, Rachel Zimmerman p 0000, Tara Kibe rf 2102, Brooke Wilson rf 0000. TOTALS: 26 10 5 6.
Andrea Butler ss 2000, Melinda Owens 2b 3000, B.J. Bowman cf 3000, Rachel Hoffman p 3010, Mikayla Ebeling rf 2000, Tristan Lewis lf 2000, Lucy Kovalick 1b 2000, Robyn McBride pr 0000, Rebecca Byerly 1b 0000, Nellie Wallace c 2000, Megan Vanderburgh 3b 2000. TOTALS: 21 0 1 0.
Score by Innings
Mifflin County 130 105 – 10 5 2
Clearfield 000 000 – 0 1 4
Errors – Stackpole 2; Owens, Hoffman 2, Wallace. PB – Wallace 1. LOB – Mifflin County 4; Clearfield 4. 2B – Hunter. HR – Myers. SB – Myers, Lucas.
Mifflin County – Britt 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Zimmerman 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Clearfield – Hoffman 6 IP, 5 H, 10 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 7 K.
WP – Hoffman 5.
W – Britt. L – Hoffman (0-1).
Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (plate) and Norm Bender (bases).