---- — By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG -- When he was filling out the lineup for Mifflinburg, coach Steve Ross, for whatever reason, switched his order up by accident. Instead of Ali Lloyd hitting in the four hole as she usually does, she switched with Kelcie Crabb and was now batting third.
It finally dawned on Ross that he messed the order up.
Ironically, that inadvertent mistake worked out great for the Wildcats.
After Lloyd reached safely with a fielder's choice to the Danville third baseman, Crabb took a 1-1 pitch and drove it down the left field line to bring Margaret Wiand home for a 1-0 win over Danville on Wednesday afternoon at Mifflinburg High School in a Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I game.
"Kelcie's hitting very, very well this year and I'm very proud of her and I'm sure the team is too. I had all the confidence in the world with her coming up to bat. I had that feeling and I knew she could do it," Lloyd said. "We switched roles today (in the lineup) and she did very well."
Wiand got the inning started for Mifflinburg (3-0, 3-0 HAC-I) with a nice shot into right field before Nicole Brouse safely reached on a throwing error with one out to put runners at the corners. Lloyd then hit a dribbler down the third base line for a fielder's choice before Crabb's game-winning RBI single.
"I felt good the way we had it set up coming into the seventh inning. I knew I had my No. 9 (hitter) then top of the order coming up, so I felt confident there with that," Ross said. "It's nice if you get the right people in the right positions to come up in those situations. Kelcie's a clutch hitter to have in that situation."
Crabb was the only player to collect two hits off Tara Fritz -- both singles -- who did well for Danville (0-3, 0-2 HAC-I) against a talented and tough Wildcats team. Mifflinburg collected just six hits off Fritz (one double) who is in her first year as Danville's full-time starter after only a handful of games last year. The senior also recorded six strikeouts.
"Fritz pitched a very good game," Ross said. "She had our girls baffled there. It's just something that we have to deal with and have to move on."
The Ironmen struggled all game to hit the ball, as Lloyd was phenomenal in the circle. The senior struck out 16 en route to a one-hit complete game. The lone Danville hit came in the top of the third when Aurora Freedman swung low and popped it up right in front of the catcher. Crabb dove for it, but couldn't field it as Freedman reached to break up the no-hitter.
Danville's best chance at breaking up the scoreless game came in the sixth inning when Zina Knight and Alyssa Shaw each drew walks to put runners on the corners with two outs. Lloyd then struck out Fritz to prevent the Ironmen from putting any runs on the board.
After walking Knight to start the game, Lloyd struck out seven straight and a 11 of the next 13 batters. She also threw 12 straight strikes between the first two innings.
"Definitely (tough against Lloyd). You got to get a run or two if you want to have a chance," Dwayne Heeter said. "Our pitcher pitched well (and) they pitched well and they made plays at the end."