---- — By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG -- It's the last time Warrior Run's Taylor Parker and Mifflinburg's Ali Lloyd would face off against each other since the Wildcats moved into the HAC-I this year, and it was as if both pitchers not only knew that, but wanted to give fans one last great showing.
And they both sure delivered.
Parker and Lloyd routinely kept the others' team at bay and through 10 innings, it looked like the game may go on until sundown if they both kept throwing as they were.
Then in the top of the 11th inning, things finally started going Warrior Run's way.
After being held to just one hit -- a single by Jackie Clemens in the top of the second -- through 10 by Lloyd, the Defenders strung together three straight this in the top of the 11th inning en route to a 6-2 win over the Wildcats in a nonleague game on Saturday afternoon in Mifflinburg.
It was the 11th inning where things started to snowball out of control for the Wildcats (6-1, 6-0 HAC-I), who held the potent lineup of Warrior Run (9-0, 7-0 HAC-II) in check the rest of the game.
Carra Rishel laid down a bunt to start the 11th to move Lynn Vermilya to third -- due to the international rule where after 10 innings, whoever recorded the last out in the previous inning automatically starts on second base to start the next inning-- but the routine grounder which should have resulted in an easy out resulted in a throwing error from Lloyd which allowed Rishel to safely reach.
That was followed two batters later by an error on the first basemen, which allowed Vermilya and Rishel both to score. Taylor Parker came through with a big single into right field to bring Courtney Stahl home on a fielding error before Jackie Clemens had a 2-RBI single into left field to score Devin Nicholas and Parker.
By the time Katy Swartz flew out into center field for the third out, the Defenders had scored five runs on three hits and three errors and jumped out to a 6-1 lead and took all the momentum with them.
"Usually when something happens like that, it just keeps following after it," Lloyd said of the first error. "You can't really think about it. You have to kind of erase it out of your head and bounce back and pitch and try to get out of the inning, but I was a little bit upset with myself because I started the whole chain of bad reactions there."
The Wildcats scored one in the bottom of the 11th when Kayla Kline had a sacrifice fly into left field that allowed McKenzie Noll to score.
Lloyd ended the game with 13 strikeouts and gave up only four hits -- three in the final inning -- all of which ended up being singles. Parker recorded 13 strikeouts as well, including the final out of the game, giving up just four singles too.
"We expected it. It was a good game," Warrior Run coach Garth Watson said. "They have a heck of a team and both teams played (well). It was a great game defensively and (with those) two pitchers, you can expect that. Two real good pitchers. They both had real good command of their pitches today and it was just one of those things (where) you had to be patient and see what ended up after the smoke cleared."
Between the third and ninth innings, Warrior Run could do nothing against Lloyd and the Wildcats as the Defenders went three up, three down for seven straight innings. Conversely, the Wildcats also had five innings where the side was retired in order.
Warrior Run scored in the 10th inning to break the scoreless game after Lloyd intentionally walked both Parker and Clemens to load the bases with just one out. Swartz got a hold of the first pitch she saw and had a sacrifice fly into center field that brought in a run.
"When Parker came up in the 10th inning, I'm thinking 'well I'm putting her on, keep a base open,'" Mifflinburg coach Steve Ross said. "Then that's when I called the conference and went out there and said (to Lloyd) 'you feel confident with putting Clemens on too?' (and she said) 'sure' so that's why we did it. Thought it was going to work there for awhile but hey, it was a well played game for 10 innings. The last inning the wheels fell off and we collapsed."
Mifflinburg tied it in the 10th thanks to a single into center field by Mackenzie Kyler. The Wildcats looked to end the game with a runner on, but Kyler was thrown out at third from left field on a Noll single.