By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- By conventional wisdom, the third hitter in a lineup is the strongest overall hitter a team has.
McKayla Schrock proved that right for Milton, helping her team defeat Lewisburg, 9-4, in the District 13 Major Division Softball tournament on Thursday. Schrock swung a hot stick for Milton, finishing a double short of the cycle while having a hand in each large inning Milton was able to put together.
"McKayla Schrock has a great attitude," Milton manager Tim East said. "She's definitely one of our leaders. I'll take McKayla (on my team) any day."
Using a locked-in Schrock in the heart of a solid lineup, Milton was able to get to Lewisburg ace hurler Sydney Hoffman early and often, not allowing her to settle into a rhythm in the circle. While the score suggests a somewhat-comfortable win, the game was anything but a breeze for Milton. Lewisburg held a 4-3 lead heading into the fifth inning before Milton jumped on top for good.
"When we needed it, (the players) came through," East said. "They did well tonight."
East was quick to praise Hoffman in the circle.
"(Hoffman's) a really good pitcher," East said.
After a lead-off single for Emily Snyder in the top of the fifth, it became apparent just how much this tournament means to the players on a groundball by Schrock into the hole between first and second. Lewisburg second baseman Kendall Murphy gathered the ball and dove for Snyder heading to second base but narrowly missed the tag and potential double play, leaving both runners safe.
An RBI single by Amanda Arnold into short-right field tied the game at 4 before Jillian East decided to give herself a lead on the mound with a two-RBI single to put Milton ahead, 6-4. Hoffman escaped the inning without allowing another run, retiring three of the next four hitters but the damage had been done.