MC girls beat Donegal; remain in Section Three driver’s seat

By on May 2, 2012

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



Photo by Preston Whitcraft
Manheim Central second baseman Erika Campbell (center) takes a strike from Rachel Clippinger as she covers the first base bag on a bunt play by Donegal's Hayley Bollinger on Monday night.

With Erika Campbell making better contact at the plate lately, the Manheim Central senior was moved into the fifth spot Monday night in the Lady Barons’ lineup.

And she didn’t disappoint.

Campbell’s RBI triple in the bottom of the second inning got her team on the scoreboard and the Section Three-leading Manheim Central girls went on to defeat second-place Donegal 5-3 in a key showdown under the lights in Manheim.

The victory improved MC’s unbeaten league record to 12-0 (13-3 overall), putting them one and a half games in front of the Indians with four games left in the regular season.

"(I feel) a whole lot better (Tuesday) morning than yesterday," Central coach Steve Ginder said. "We still have some tough games to go. L-S will give us a battle, Norlebco usually does, so we’ll see what happens."

Senior Brittany Griffith also had a big night with a pivotal two-run triple in the bottom of the fourth, senior catcher Katie VanBlargan added two hits and junior pitcher Sara McKee earned the complete-game victory.

"They were very happy to be playing (Monday) night," Ginder said. "They came out very focused and didn’t leave up any intensity."

That intensity was evident in the bottom of the second as VanBlargan singled and courtesy runner Shelby Smith rounded the bases on Campbell’s RBI triple to center field off of Donegal pitcher Sophie Leaman.

"(Erika) had a nice fly ball to center field and the center fielder kinda got her legs tripped up," Ginder said. "It was unfortunate for them, but it brought the first run in."

Rachel Clippinger’s RBI ground out drove in Campbell to make it 2-0.

Donegal, though, took the lead in the top of the fourth with one swing of the bat, as junior catcher Madi Emenheiser ripped a three-run inside-the-park homer to put her team up 3-2.

But that was all the Indians could muster off of McKee, who struck out seven, walked three and scattered four hits.

"There weren’t a whole lot of base runners other (than the fourth)," Ginder said. "She was placing the ball well. Her changeup can be effective when she’s on."

The Lady Barons’ offense was effective in the bottom of the fourth, quickly regaining the lead — this time for keeps. After VanBlargan singled, courtesy runner Smith advanced to third on Clippinger’s two-out single. Next, Griffith stroked a two-run triple to right field to put Central up 4-3.

"(Brittany)’s been playing well in the field all season. Her hitting has just finally come around, but that’s to be expected not playing before," Ginder said.

In pre-season voluntary workouts, however, Griffith opened a lot of eyes.

"She just has a lot of natural athletic talent and goes up there and swings at the ball and is making some contact," Ginder said.

Senior Ali Morton added an insurance run in the fifth and that was all McKee needed, as the Lady Barons held on for the win.

Last Friday, Manheim Central outhit ELCO 10-3 and invoked the 10-run rule with a six-run sixth inning, as the Lady Barons cruised to an 11-0 shutout in Myerstown.

McKee started and got the win, striking out six and walking none, and the Central girls took advantage of six Raiders errors.

In other action, Aerika High smashed a home run and the Lady Barons scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning, leading them to a 5-3 win over Pequea Valley. More MC GIRLS, page B-3

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