With just a little more than a week remaining in the YAIAA softball regular season, there are still a few things to be decided.
And although New Oxford isn't in the chase for a division title and has only the smallest chance for a playoff berth, the Colonials, playing their best softball of the year, are one team to avoid.
After knocking off Dallastown earlier in the week, the Colonials posted another impressive win Thursday, banging out 13 hits and getting a 10-strikeout performance from Nicole Ayers in a 10-1, six-inning victory against South Western at New Oxford High School.
"I just want us to finish strong," New Oxford coach Ken Shaffer said. "This part of our season is the best we have been playing all season. With three games remaining to be played, it looks like we will finish strong. We have been hitting the ball all year, it's just some of the other things that we have done like walking too many and errors."
Six seniors suited up for New Oxford's final home game. One of them, Sarah Groft, got the Colonials rolling in the first inning when she smashed a one-out triple to left field. After Lindsay Miller walked and stole second base, it looked like New Oxford had the beginning of a big inning.
But South Western starting pitcher Kylie Toomey kept Groft at third base while getting Ayers on a groundout for the second out. When Sarah Smith lofted a fly ball to center field, it looked like Toomey might escape any damage. But the center fielder dropped the ball, and two scored to give New Oxford a 2-0 lead.
The teams traded runs in the second inning. South Western's run came on an RBI double by Toomey, while Kendra Becker answered with an RBI single for New Oxford.
Toomey began losing her effectiveness in the third inning and New Oxford pounced, sending nine players to bat. The Colonials got RBI doubles from Smith and Cali Bailey, plus an RBI single from Brenna LaBreck. Taylor Bange drove in the other run on an RBI groundout.
Allie Fleming relieved Toomey in the fourth inning, but the Colonials (8-9, 6-5 Division I) put the game away with another three runs. Smith and Bange each picked up another RBI, while Ayers added an RBI triple. Every New Oxford starter had at least one hit.
Ayers, meanwhile, was in control the whole game. She allowed two hits in each of the first two innings but allowed only two hits after the second inning.
"I give Nicole all the credit in the world," Shaffer said. "She has turned her season around all by herself. She was at her best this past weekend at a tournament at Big Spring. She pitched three games for us and gave up only three runs. Everyone knows when your pitcher is on, you have a shot."
The Mustangs (8-10, 6-6) were shorthanded, as Kirsten Hertzog and Taylor Leonard didn't play because of injuries.
"We want to finish the season playing hard," South Western coach Megan Pilarcik said. "We have only one senior on the team, We are a young team so we want to get well and get better."
NEW OXFORD 10, SOUTH WESTERN 1 (6)
South Western 010 000 -- 1 5 3
New Oxford 21 4 2x -- 10 13 3
SW, Kylie Toomey, Allie Fleming (4) and Danni Savino; NO Nicole Ayers and Shawna Belcher. SO-BB -- SW, Toomey 1-3, Fleming 2-2; NO, Ayers 10-3. W -- Ayers. L -- Toomey. 2B -- SW, Kylie Toomey; NO, Sarah Smith, Brenna LaBreck. 3B -- Sarah Groft, Cali Bailey, Ayers.