Warwick upsets Central York Softball
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
The second time through the batting order was the charm for Warwick’s softball team on Tuesday night.
More specifically, Cassidy Godber’s 12-pitch at-bat in the fourth inning was a crucial turning point.
With Central York pitcher Taylor Rohrbaugh mowing down Warwick’s batters in the early going, the Lady Warriors’ senior center fielder fouled off six pitches before lacing a leadoff base hit to right field.
"(Rohrbaugh) was throwing strikes the whole time and I knew it was right there," Godber said, "so I was waiting for a hit. I didn’t think it would be that, but I was waiting for it."
It turned out that Godber’s base hit – the first for either team – ignited a two-run rally and pitcher Tessa Eckman did the rest, as the 14th-seeded Lady Warriors upset 3rd-seeded Central York 3-0 in a District Three Quad-A first-round playoff game at Memorial Park in York.
Eckman, mixing her pitches masterfully, threw an efficient 73 pitches in the complete-game gem, allowing just three hits while striking out four and walking one.
"Tessa is a real competitor and she’s got a lot of movement on her pitches," Warwick skipper Don Miller said. "I think when people watch her, they’re not really impressed when they see her because she’s not throwing hard, but she does mix her speeds up well, she throws in and out, she hits her spots, and her ball has a lot of movement on it. And because she doesn’t throw as hard as a lot of pitchers, I think sometimes that helps because kids are used to seeing a certain speed. She just has a change of pace and I think that works for her. She is a super competitor."
The Lady Warriors (13-8) needed that in a game where they were the underdogs against the Lady Panthers (20-3). Following a disappointing regular season, in which they missed the L-L playoffs for the first time in years, the Warwick girls were ready to go after a two-week layoff.
"This is the first time we’ve sat and not played in the League playoffs and waited for Districts, so this was a whole new experience for us," Miller said. "We played a couple of good Triple-A teams in scrimmages and we did some nice things there and I think the girls got some confidence. I just think coming in with no pressure on was the big key for us. It’s usually the opposite way. Usually we’re the higher ranked team, we’re playing close to home and this is kind of a nice refreshing change of pace. I would have liked better league success, but to come in here with no pressure on is kinda nice."
Both pitchers were certainly having early success on Monday, with each allowing just one base runner through three innings. Rohrbaugh, behind a dominant fastball, registered six of her 13 K’s in that stretch.
But Godber led off in the fourth and gave her team a boost, stroking a sharply-hit single to right field to cap a quality at-bat.
"That’s what you hope for from a senior … you hope she shows how to battle and persevere and make it happen and that was a key at-bat," Miller remarked.
"Once I got to probably a 2-2 count, I was getting really nervous," Godber said. "I started fouling more (pitches) off and I said, ‘When am I going to hit it?’ And then I got the liner to right field and that’s what got things started."
Indeed. Victoria Byler followed with a successful sacrifice bunt, and then following a flyout, Godber took third on a wild pitch. The next batter, Ashley Royer, hit a spinning ground ball to second, and when Central York’s Kyla Caruso booted it, Godber crossed the plate to give Warwick a 1-0 lead.
August Mason then smashed an RBI double, as Royer circled the bases to make it 2-0.
"We haven’t seen anyone who throws that hard for awhile, so I thought it might take us a little while," Miller said. "But I told them early, ‘If we can put a run or two on the board before they do, then all the pressure is on them,’ and that’s what happened. It just happened to work out for us."
Third baseman August Mason deserved an assist as well, snagging a line drive off the bat of Central York cleanup hitter Jordyn Miller and firing to first base to nail courtesy runner Alyssa Stonebraker off the bag for an inning-ending double play, helping Warwick preserve the two-run lead.
"August fired a bullet to first and doubled that girl off … I mean, (Stonebraker) wasn’t off very far, but August’s got a cannon, so that helped a lot too," Miller said.
Overall, Godber scored two of Warwick’s three runs, and her leadoff six-pitch free pass in the sixth inning got another rally started. Byler got on base on a throwing error, and then Royer’s RBI single up the middle gave the Lady Warriors an insurance run, pushing the lead to 3-0.
That was all Eckman needed. In the bottom of the seventh inning, she allowed a leadoff base hit to the Lady Panthers’ Angie Delise, who had two her team’s three hits. But Central York went down quietly after that, and the Warwick girls’ upset victory was in the books.
"We had a lot of practice from Leagues until now and I think they’ve all been great defensively, we had a lot of good hitting practices and I think we were ready for today," Godber said.
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-10