Central York's Taylor Rohrbaugh said she felt for Dallastown freshman Jaelynn Harbold, who made her varsity pitching debut on Thursday when the two teams played.
The Wildcats entered the YAIAA Division I match-up in the midst of a three-game losing streak and without ace pitcher Kelsey Collins, who suffered a season-ending injury. That alone brought back memories for Rohrbaugh, who was forced into duty as a freshman when star Lauren Walker got hurt.
"We went through the four-game losing streak when Lauren (Walker) got hurt my freshman year. I totally understand, I was that girl," Rohrbaugh said, drawing a comparison to Harbold. "I knew what it feels like to be in those shoes. It's a hard thing to do."
Harbold was solid in the middle innings against the Panthers. Unfortunately for her, Central had its bats going in the first and seventh innings and went on to an impressive 11-1 win.
Rohrbaugh led the way on the mound and at the plate, going 5-for-5 on the day, helping the Panthers improve to 10-2 league and 16-2 overall, wrapping up their second straight Division I championship.
Kayla Resh got Central started, leading off the game with a double to right-center. Resh scored on a Kyla Caruso single. Rohrbaugh singled and as did Jordyn Miller, driving in Caruso. After a fielder's choice got the first out, Kelsey Wisner and Ally Dziwis notched RBI singles for a 4-0 lead before Dallastown got to bat.
"We always want to jump up on front because you want momentum. I think momentum is huge in a game and hits are contagious," Rohrbaugh said. "The bats are coming more alive than they did at the beginning of the year, which is great because we have playoffs coming up.
"It's a good feeling. It definitely was one of my goals to win the division. We just have to redo what we did last year and get farther into districts to make states."
"We've been hitting the ball hard. We try to go out and hit line drives every time we come up," Central coach Barry Brenneman said. "Sometimes it takes more times than others, tonight we were fortunate we got four runs in the first."
While only striking out three, Rohrbaugh was hitting her spots on the mound. Keeping the ball low, she induced 16 ground ball outs, a far cry from three weeks ago when Dallastown scored 10 against her.
"We came and watched other games and I took a lot of notes on how other pitchers were throwing to them," Rohrbaugh said. "We tried to move north, south, east, west against them. We tried to mix it around. Hard ground balls is what we want. I've got all the confidence in the world in this team."
"That is something she has been working on," Brenneman said. "The first time we played Dallastown and Red Lion they hit the ball hard in the air, so from those games we started working on throwing the ball down in the strike zone. You are not going to strike these batters out ... But if you are throwing the ball down and they hit ground balls, we can field ground balls."
The Wildcats got on the board with two outs in the fifth when Kayla Merriman reached on an error and Sam Hartman and Amanda Jones singled. Jones was 2-for-3 and the shortstop made the play of the day when her relay throw from left field nailed Rohrbaugh trying to stretch a triple into a home run in the Panthers' fifth.
Resh (3-for-5) had two hits in the seventh inning when Central sent 13 to the plate, scoring seven times. The big blow was a three-run double by Dziwis, who finished with four RBI.
CENTRAL YORK 11, DALLASTOWN 1
Central York 400 000 7 -- 11 17 1
Dallastown 000 010 0 -- 1 4 1
CY, Taylor Rohrbaugh and Ally Dziwis; St, Jaelynn Harbold and Sam Hartman. SO-BB -- Rohrbaugh 3-3, Harbold 1-2. W -- Rohrbaugh. L -- Harbold. 2B -- CY, Katelyn Resh, Dziwis; Dt, Amanda Jones. 3B -- CY, Rohrbaugh.