York, PA - Ally Dziwis was quick to say that she and her Central York softball teammates are peaking at the right time of the season.
Of course, when you have someone like batterymate and fellow sophomore Taylor Rohrbaugh, as well as the Panthers' hitting attack, it is easy to understand the optimism, especially after Tuesday's opening-round game of the District 3 Class AAAA tournament.
Rohrbaugh no-hit Exeter for the first five innings, plus had three hits to go along with three runs batted in. Dziwis had two singles while backstopping Central to an impressive 7-0 victory at York's Memorial Park.
Dziwis said she knew Rohrbaugh was ready when the team took the field.
"First pitch, second pitch ... You can always tell that day in warmups if she is on," the catcher said. "I love (catching Rohrbaugh). She listens, she hits her spots really well. We rarely disagree."
"I feel like this game meant so much to me because last year we lost in the first round if districts," Rohrbaugh said.
The Panthers improved to 20-3 and will face Elizabethtown, a 6-3 winner against Cumberland Valley. That second-round game is slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Millersville University.
"It's great for me. I told them that is my first district win as a head coach, so I am happy," Central coach Barry Brenneman said. "I would've taken 1-0, it wouldn't have mattered. Seven to nothing, I was breathing the last inning."
Central got all the runs it would need three batters into the game when freshmen Kayla Resh led off the home first with an infield single, was bunted to second by senior Courtney Hastings and scored on a single by Rohrbaugh.
From there, Rohrbaugh let her right arm do the talking, mowing down each Eagles hitter until Ashley Klein reached on an error with two outs in the top of the fifth.
Exeter finally got a hit when Rachel Bautsch led off the sixth with a routine grounder that took a bad hop past first baseman Darrian Schade.
"I knew," Rohrbaugh said of her potential no-hitter. "We expected with this field to kind of be like that. It's not something I get down on myself, or my teammates about. It was a fluky, weird hop. It almost bounced over her head."
However, Central's defense did its part after pinch runner Tearah Burden was bunted to second with the potential tying run.
Morgan Sandritter dropped a single, but the left fielder Resh noticed the bad jump by Burden and threw her out at third. Four pitches later, Dziwis nailed Sandritter attempting to steal second, ending the threat.
"We knew they were going to be aggressive. We knew what their style was like," Brenneman said. "We knew what she was coming up to do, and we executed. Everybody did their job."
After the Eagles had their chance, Central put the game away in the bottom of the inning. Angela Delise singled and one out later advanced to second on a Dziwis hit. Kyla Caruso followed with a come-backer that Exeter pitcher Livi Rocco threw wildly to third, allowing Delise to score and the other runners to move up.
Kelsey Wisner, one of three freshmen starting for the Panthers, singled in a run. Two batters later, Rohrbaugh singled in two runs, and Jordyn Miller followed with a two-run triple for the final score.
"I feel like our team started out hitting the ball this season, and we are getting better and better," Rohrbaugh said. "We are a young team. These freshmen are really stepping up. I am very proud of them."
Exeter 000 000 0 -- 0 3 1
Central 100 006 x -- 7 10 1
Ex, Livi Rocco and Gabby Milian; CY, Taylor Rohrbaugh and Ally Dziwis. SO-BB -- Ex, Rocco 1-2, CY, Rohrbaugh 7-0. W -- Rohrbaugh. L -- Rocco. 3B -- CY, Jordyn Miller.