CM tops Mifflinburg softball in close contest
MILL HALL — Senior day is always a special occasion for student-athletes and their families. Central Mountain seniors Alyssa Fisher, Riley Houser, Jessalyn Myers, Maggie Saar and Alexis Strouse were all honored Thursday afternoon prior to Central Mountain’s game against Mifflinburg.
Additionally, Mifflinburg seniors Montgomery Wetzel, Chloe Hanselman, Jaden Kiester, Brook Karchner, and Camryn Murrey were honored.
As far as the game, it was tight-knitted throughout the competition. It was a pitching duel between Mifflinburg junior Paige Stewart and Central Mountain sophomore Alison Lininger. In the end, Lininger earned the win, 4-2.
Stewart gave up only one walk, and Lininger surrendered zero. Lininger’s ability to not concede any walks was one of the difference-makers in the game.
“It’s certainly an advantage for us when she doesn’t give up any walks, any free passes,” said Central Mountain coach Fred Caldwell. “Both of our pitchers have done a great job this year doing that. I don’t know the number off hand, but we don’t have a lot of walks. Our walk-to-strikeout ratio is really good right now.”
Lininger was also methodical with her strikeout count, highlighted by a three-strikeout second inning, as she totaled six throughout the game.
As far as Mifflinburg they were able to handle Lininger’s pitching early in the first inning as leadoff hitter Karchner generated a quick start, hitting a single to start the game. She later converted that hit to a run as Kiester’s single brought her home to hand Mifflinburg an early 1-0 lead.
During the bottom of the first inning, Central Mountain had three quick outs as two groundballs and a flyball turned into a quick retirement for the Wildcats to end the inning.
The top of the second inning was Lininger’s big inning as she struck out all three batters.
Her teammates rewarded her hard efforts in the bottom of the second inning as senior Maggie Saar’s single lead sophomore Kelsey Burrows home to tie up the close game 1-1.
The tie was short-lived, however as an RBI single by Mifflinburg’s Hanselman brought Karchner home to hand Mifflinburg a 2-1 lead.
Despite the run given up by Central Mountain during the inning, their defense had a remarkable moment as junior catcher Caitlyn Watson dove into the ground to catch a flyball bunt.
Both pitchers started to get in a rhythm during the bottom of the third inning and top of the fourth inning as no runs were yielded by Lininger and Stewart.
The bottom of the fourth inning was Central Mountain’s high-powering moment. Watson and Houser both hit lead-off doubles to set the tone for the Wildcats. The fast start to the inning was all they needed as a sacrifice groundball by freshman Madison Hardy that brought Watson home to score and a single by Lininger to that brought Houser home changed the scoreboard 3-2 to Central Mountain’s advantage.
Another fifth inning score by Central Mountain gave the Wildcats more breathing room as a sacrifice fly by Fisher that brought freshman Harley Kunes home gave the Wildcats a 4-2 lead.
It was all on Lininger’s hands to keep Mifflinburg from earning any more runs and that’s exactly what she did. Lininger had an effective last three innings, sacrificing no runs and only one hit.
Being able to win on senior day was bonus in Caldwell’s eyes.
“It’s always nice to win your Senior Day games,” said Caldwell. “I am really proud of all the seniors and all the underclassmen.”
Mifflinburg 101 000 0 — 2 5 1
Central Mountain 010 210 x — 4 7 1
W–Alison Lininger. L–Paige Stewart
Top Mifflinburg hitters: Brook Karchner 2-3, SB; Evelyn Osborne 1-3, RBI; Jaden Kiester 1-2, RBI. Top Central Mountain hitters: Alyssa Fisher, RBI; Caitlyn Watson 2-3, 2B, SB; Riley Houser 1-3, 2B; Madison Hardy, RBI; Alison Lininger 2-3, RBI; Maggie Saar 1-3, RBI; Madisyn Wian 1-2, 2B, SB; Kelsey Burrows, SB.
Records: Central Mountain (10-2), Mifflinburg (5-12).