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D6 champs Lady Huskies fall in PIAA State opener to very tough Erie McDowell team


CRESSON – The Erie McDowell softball team are big and strong with a potent lineup one through nine and a first-rate pitcher.

All their imposing characteristics where on display as the senior-laden Trojans defeated a youthful Mifflin County squad 11-1 in five innings of the District 6/10 Class 6A Sub-Regional state play-in game Friday afternoon at Mount Aloysius College.

The game ended after five because of the 10-run rule. The Trojans (17-5) advance to the first round of states on Monday. The District 6 champion Huskies end their season at 10-9.

“That’s the best team we’ve seen all year. Coming in, I knew they were going to be really tough and we would have to play our best game of the season,” Mifflin County coach Jack McCurdy said. “They are a senior laden team; they’ve played together for four years. I would be surprised if they don’t win states.”

Erie McDowell blistered the Husky pitchers with 12 hits, included in the barrage was two homers and three doubles. The Trojans hit the ball hard and with authority.

“Our team definitely has solid hitters one through nine. We spend a lot of time in the gym doing intensive workouts, physically and mentally,” McDowell coach Maureen Wolfe said. “The reason we can do that is because the girls are so sound offensively and defensively we don’t have to work so much on the basic fundamentals in the off-season, so we can work on the conditioning. We have girls who are going to play at the next level and they know they have to be in peak shape for the college game.”

Standout pitcher Rachel Marsden picked up her 16th win of the season for the Trojans. The senior allowed only one run on two hits with four strikeouts and a walk. At the plate, she was 2-for-3 with a home run, her 10th of the year to go along with 32 RBIs. Devanie Condrack suffered the loss for Mifflin County.

“Rachel has been my girl for four years and that’s something I don’t take for granted. I’m going to miss her,” Wolfe said.

The Trojans opened a 2-0 lead in the first when Olivia Kruszewski reached on a one-out error, Marsden singled and Kira Hillhouse brought them both home with an RBI double in the right-center gap.

McDowell made it 3-0 when Lauryn Rougeux led off the third with a screamer to deep left field for the solo shot.

The Huskies lone bright spot on offense came in the top of the fourth when Carolus Award winner Olivia Ahern took a change-up down and in over the center-field fence to make it 3-1. It was the junior’s fifth home run of the season. The only other hit by Mifflin County came in the first when Maddie Myers started things off with a single to left.

“That was on a change-up and she’s usually pretty aggressive with that pitch. Olivia did a great job of keeping her hands back and lifting it out of here.” McCurdy said. “We see it from her all the time. She’s one of the kids Iám pleased to say is coming back next year. Most of the girls will be back. We’re only losing two, Alyssa Schnell and Cassidy Wilson. We have a strong nucleus coming back next year for sure.”

McDowell crushed any hopes of a Husky comeback with six runs in the fourth to make it 9-1. Marsden had a two-run jack to left, Kruszewski plated two with a double, Corrine Bechtold had an RBI single and Kacie Irwin came home on a passed ball.

“We have a bunch of four-year starters, so they are very confident in themselves. They’ve been here before and built confidence and I’m hoping they can keep the confidence,” Wolfe said. “We are confident for states. Our focus is one pitch and a time and one day at a time. Monday is the most important day because itás win or go home, so we’ll focus on Monday.”

The Trojans added two more runs in the fifth to end the game. Irwin and Rougeux came through with RBI singles, scoring Erika Enzbrenner and Faith Renwick.

Marsden, Rougeux and Enzbrenner had two hits each for McDowell with Marsden, Rougeux, Enzbrenner and Kruszewski collecting two RBIs apiece.

Despite the setback, McCurdy likes the way his young team played this season. The girls had a never-say-die attitude all year.

“Without a doubt the girls matured and grew up this season. We said to them use that team (McDowell) as a measuring stick of who you want to become,” McCurdy said. “You can tell, they’re working out, they’re lifting and their pitcher did a heck of a job. Our kids did okay early on. We were in there whacking away at it. Marsden didn’t have too many strikeouts, particularly early on. Our kids were fighting and that’s what I like about them. They never quit.”

Erie McDowell 11, Mifflin County 1 (5 inn.)
Mifflin County 000 10 1-2-1
Erie McDowell 201 62 11-12-2
WP: Rachel Marsden. LP: Devanie Condrack. SO: Condrack 3 (MC); Marsden 4 (EM). BB: Maddie Ream (MC); Marsden (EM). HR: Olivia Ahern (MC); Marsden, Lauryn Rougeux (EM). 2B: Kira Hillhouse, Erika Enzbrenner, Faith Renwick (EM). MH: Marsden 2-3, Enzbrenner 2-3, Rougeux 2-4 (EM). RBI: Ahern (MC); Marsden 2, Rougeux 2, Hillhouse 2, Olivia Kruszewski 2, Corrine Bechtold, Kacie Irwin (EM).

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