McKee whiffs 21 in MC’s first two wins Softball

By on April 3, 2013

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

As the Manheim Central softball team began to prepare for the new season, one of its concerns was filling some big shoes in the middle of the batting order.

In Brittiny Griffith, Ali Morton and Katie VanBlargan, the Lady Barons lost a lot of run production from their lineup.

Following their first two games of the season, however, the Manheim Central girls are feeling better about themselves.

The Lady Barons improved to 2-0 overall (1-0 L-L) on Monday after putting up a pair of crooked numbers against ELCO in a 10-1 victory in their league opener in Myerstown. They scored three in the second and six more in the sixth inning in support of pitcher Sara McKee, who recorded 10 K’s for her second straight double-digit strikeout game.

Last Friday, the senior hurler struck out 11 while outdueling Warwick’s Lacey Lefever in a 1-0 win in their non-league opener in Manheim.

"(Sara) looks like she’s in mid-season form already," Central coach Steve Ginder said. "Her control is there even in the bad weather, which is good. And certainly we’re very proud of the performance she’s had so far."

McKee also helped her own cause while belting two extra-base hits — a double and triple — out of the number-eight spot off of Lady Raiders’ pitcher Claire Shaak. Senior Abi Weaver also had a pair of hits.

"(Griffith, Morton and VanBlargan) were big bats to replace," Ginder said. "We haven’t replaced our middle of the lineup yet, but we’re certainly feeling a little more confident after the last two games. Last year, one through nine, anybody could hit the ball and anybody could get on base any time. This year, certainly the middle of the lineup (has) some question marks."

Sophomore right fielder Sara Fink scored the first run in the Lady Barons’ three-run third inning, stroking a leadoff single and later scoring on Abby Hahn’s sacrifice bunt.

ELCO threatened in the first and third innings, but MC shortstop Aerika High turned a pair of web gems, frustrating Cheyenne Crist both times on line drives. High started a double play in the first and a triple play in the third.

Aerika had three or four nice — just absolutely gorgeous — plays there," Ginder said. "She’s the anchor out there this year."

In the sixth, McKee’s RBI double helped the Lady Barons break things open.

Last Thursday, McKee allowed just three singles while striking out 11 in a 1-0 victory over back-yard rival Warwick. Scoreless through six, Manheim Central finally pushed across the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Lady Barons outhit Warwick 7-3 in the game. The Lady Warriors’ only hits off of McKee were Victoria Byler’s single in the second, Jenny George’s single in the third, and Madi Derr’s single in the sixth inning. More MC GIRLS, page B-3