Morton, McKee lead MC girls over L-SSoftball

By on April 11, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Ali Morton is an ideal number two hitter for the Manheim Central softball team.

In addition to being able to handle the bat well in bunting situations, the Lady Barons’ senior also hits for some power.

On Monday night, in a key early season showdown against perennial Section Three contender Lampeter-Strasburg, Morton gave the Central girls a big boost by popping two home runs, driving in three and finishing 3-for-4 at the plate to help lead her squad to a 6-1 win over the Lady Pioneers in Manheim.

"(Ali) scored three of the six runs, so she had an outstanding game," MC coach Steve Ginder said. "Ali does a nice job as the second batter."

Senior Katie VanBlargan also chipped in with three base hits in support of pitcher Sara McKee, who struck out 12, walked just one, and spun a three-hit gem for the win.

"She did an outstanding job," Ginder said of McKee, who has been rotating on the mound with senior Erika Campbell. "She was hitting her spots. Her changeup was really working for her and she used it effectively."

Ginder acknowledged that Monday’s game was probably their best all-around effort of the season, as the Lady Barons improved to 4-0 atop the Section Three standings (5-3 overall). MC also defeated Donegal 6-5 last Wednesday, April 4, but committed several errors in the game.

"They came in (against L-S) very focused, understanding the importance of the big game early in the season," Ginder said. "They came out and fielded excellent and the hitting came around."

Morton, of course, set the tone for the Lady Barons’ offense. The left-handed hitting senior took a pitch from L-S hurler Courtney Martin to the opposite field and circled the bases to give MC a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

"She hit a nice outside pitch over the left fielder’s head," Ginder said. "That started off the game well for us."

Morton was again in the middle of things in the third, smacking a triple and scoring on Aerika High’s sac fly to double the lead to 2-0.

L-S got one back in the fourth, but Central answered in the fifth on Rachel Clippinger’s single and Katelyn Grazan’s RBI double.

From there, while McKee ended the game with three perfect innings, the Lady Barons put it away with a three-run rally in the sixth. Kaitlin Fair singled, Morton followed with a two-run blast, and then McKee reached base and completed the scoring.

Last Thursday, the Lady Barons erupted for 13 runs on 11 hits, three errors and four walks from Norlebco pitcher Yorty on their way to a 13-0 whitewashing of the Lady Vikings in a Section Three game in Manheim.

Campbell not only slugged a home run, but tossed a one-hit shutout for the win. More MC GIRLS, page B-6

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