MILESBURG - Three weeks ago when the Mifflin County and Bald Eagle Area softball teams met for the first time this season, the issue wasn't decided until the ninth inning when the Lady Eagles scored a run for a 3-2 win.
However, in the rematch Wednesday afternoon, it was a totally different story as the Lady Huskies scored early and often en route to a 9-0 shutout over the Lady Eagles.
"This might be the best game we played all season," MC head coach Jack McCurdy said. "We played well in all aspects of the game. We played great defense, the girls were seeing the ball well and hitting it hard and she (Mikala Britt) gave us a strong game pitching. We were just clicking on all cylinders today."
While McCurdy was happy with the outcome, the loss left BEA head coach Kayleen Sidisky scratching her head as to what just happened.
"They are a good club," Sidisky said. "They hit the ball pretty hard and I think the difference was that they caught up to (BEA pitcher Megan) Dudish. We didn't make all the plays we needed to make and we didn't battle back. Those were our biggest problems today. If we could have come out and scored a couple runs it might have lifted our spirit a little bit."
Although there were a lot of different players who played roles in the Mifflin County win, one stood above all the others as Mikala Britt was dominating in both the circle and at the plate.
In the circle, Britt held the Lady Eagles to just three singles in recording the shutout, while at the plate, she was a 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a neatly-executed safety squeeze bunt for a RBI.
"I had my fastball, change, curve and drop all working today," Britt said. "I usually don't play any other position when I am not pitching. The three of us (Britt along with Shelby Lyter and Rachel Zimmerman) usually alternate as pitchers. I am really glad that we were able to beat them because when I was at Indian Valley we never beat them until last year."
As for being involved in the game both as a pitcher and batter, Britt feels she does a better job in both areas as opposed to being in the flex position.
"I actually I think I do a lot better (pitching) when I am batting," Britt said. "It makes me feel like I am more in the game. If I strike out while battling, I take it out while pitching and if I do bad while pitching, I take it out when I am batting."
McCurdy also liked what he saw from Britt in the circle.
"She had all four of her pitches working well today," he said. "She threw them at different speeds and different locations and when you can do that, you are going to be able to handcuff your opponent. She just did a fantastic job today."
McCurdy also likes the progress his team has made since day one of the 2012 season.
"We have made some nice progress," he said. "We talked about that just a few minutes ago. We have had those times when the momentum was going up and then you might have to turn around and handle a tough loss. These kids have really responded well to those tough moments and when things don't go their way, they just come back fighting. Heading down the road toward the end of the season, I think we are probably in a very good place as we head toward the playoffs."
The Lady Huskies got off and running right out of the chute when Brandi Sherwood smacked the first pitch of the game offered by Megan Dudish off the left-field fence, stole third and scored on a BEA error. Jordan Myers worked Dudish for a free pass and later scored on a RBI groundout by Kali Hunter to make it 2-0 MC.
Dudish appeared to have settled down through the next two innings, striking out four MC batters. But in the fourth, the Lady Huskies added on as they played small ball to plate three more runs.
Jessica Lamberson doubled, Allessa Morrison singled and Emily Tomasello plated Lamberson with a safety squeeze bunt. Morrison later scored on another safety squeeze bunt by Britt, Tomasello raced home on a RBI single to center by Macie Lucas, and just like that the Lady Husky lead had grown to 5-0.
While most of the action centered around the Lady Huskies, the Lady Eagles weren't without a few chances to score, but just couldn't come up with the key hit.
"That has been the case with us all season," Sidisky said about the lack of situational hitting. "I don't know if they get nervous, but the bottom line is that we have to find ways to score runs. It is very frustrating."
With Britt very much in control of the game, the Lady Huskies blew the game wide open with four runs in the top of the seventh. Big blows for MC were a single by Myers, and RBI singles by Lamberson, Tomasello and Julia Stuck.
With a number of meaningful games left on their schedule, Sidisky feels that it is up to her players to step up and get the job done.
"It is going to be how much heart they have," she said. "I still want to win and make it to the postseason and I know a lot of the girls feel the same way. It just boils down to having everybody on the same page and as well as having the desire to win."
The Lady Eagles only had three hits in the loss, a pair of singles by Carrie Barnyak and one by Sonja Ross.
With the win, Mifflin County improves to 11-5, while the loss drops BEA to 7-4.