The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 21, 2014

Softball: Milton downs Mifflinburg in HAC-I showdown

MIFFLINBURG — Staring at a full count, Milton’s Taylor Batman took the next pitch and crushed it well beyond the outfield fence in left field. As she rounded the bases, you could see the senior crack a smile as she high-fived Milton coach Bill Keefer at third and was embraced by teammates at home.

The senior had a good reason to smile, as her home run tacked three runs on and essentially blew the game wide open as the Black Panthers got a 7-2 win over Mifflinburg on Monday afternoon in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division I contest.

“It felt great. As soon as it went off the bat I was like ‘this feels good’ because I struggled at the beginning (of game), but then I came back and it felt really good,” Batman said.

Batman’s towering home run may have been her lone hit of the night, but her pitching helped Milton (8-0, 8-0 HAC-I) stymie a Mifflinburg (9-2, 6-2) offense that collected 106 hits on the year, and was averaging close to 11 hits a game entering Monday. By day’s end, the Wildcats were held to just three hits, all singles. Tori Hackenberg had two of them.

“She got ahead today. When you get ahead, it makes your job a whole lot easier,” Keefer said. “I guarantee you there’s professional catchers that don’t call a game as good as Mackenna (Miller) did today. Everything she called had them off balance (and Batman) threw the right pitches at the right time. She did a great job.”

The top of Mifflinburg’s lineup struggled against the Black Panthers, collectively going 0-for-14 with just two batters reaching on a walk and error.

“The top of their lineup is tough, but I struck them out and I did what I needed to do,” Batman said.

A big part of Milton’s defensive effort came from Kiah Brink, who was like a vacuum at shortstop, grabbing everything that came to her. She was single-handedly responsible for nine outs, including a span of five straight in the fourth and fifth.

“She did great. I can always count on Kiah, she’s always there,” Batman said. “A love for the game, she loves it, so she doesn’t let us down.”

Milton sent the first run of the day across the plate in the top of the second inning when Bethany Brennan (two singles) scored on a passed ball to put the Black Panthers up 1-0.

Milton would add three more runs in the third inning, nearly batting through the lineup. After Miller reached on a hard shot to third, Dani Lincoln drove her home on a shallow single into left. Four batters later, Leighton Chappell came through with a huge single into left to drive two runs in and make it a 4-0 game.

Mifflinburg broke up the shutout up in the bottom of the third when Kylie Kuhns scored off an error.

Hackenberg would score Mifflinburg’s only other run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning off an error.

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