WAYNESBORO – Sometimes you feel like you just can’t catch a break.
The Waynesboro and Chambersburg varsity softball teams both have experienced that gnawing feeling.
Just a few days ago, the Trojans no-hit Cumberland Valley, but lost the game, 1-0. The loss came amidst a downturn that included five losses in the last six games. Chambersburg (14-5) started the season with an unblemished 12-0 record.
Waynesboro, which has trademarked bunching up runs, hasn’t been able to buy one lately. The Maidens lost to Shippensburg on Tuesday, 4-1. On Thursday, Big Spring came to town and beat Waynesboro, 10-0.
On Friday, it looked like head coach Steven McElroy’s squad was going to return to normal – until the seventh inning. The Trojans pushed across three runs in that inning and held off a Waynesboro comeback in the bottom of the inning, winning their non-league game, 6-4.
“We played a lot better than yesterday,” McElroy said after the game. “We pitched well, the bats came around a little at the beginning of the game; they faded late. We just made a couple mistakes that cost us. It was a good game. We played much better.”
The game couldn’t have started any better for Waynesboro.
After a lead-off fly out, Riley Shetler reached first base on an error. She stole second and came around to score on a base hit by Abby McElroy, the starting pitcher who kept Chambersburg bats silent for four innings before being replaced by Shetler.
Cameron Witte then walked. Slaydon Fisher got aboard thanks to another Trojans fielding mistake. The big hit was off the bat of catcher Karsyn Moore. Moore hit a two-out single to score Witte and Fisher.
If only the story ended there.
Waynesboro’s offense went into a shell, as Chambersburg starting pitcher Kylee Miller pitched to contact and the defense took it from there. A pop out, fly out and line out was all the Maidens could muster in the bottom of the second. A line out, ground out and strike out bookended an infield single from Peyton Fitz, but still no runs.
So far, the Trojans didn’t mount any serious threat to put a dent into Waynesboro’s 4-0 lead. McElroy retired the side in order in the first and third and allowed only one base runner in each of the second and fourth frames – both on walks.
Chambersburg picked up a run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to draw to within 4-3.
Perhaps the turning point of the game – at least in retrospect – came in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Opportunity knocked, but no one answered. Shetler walked with an out in the books. McElroy also got a free pass to put runners on first and second. Witte came to the plate and belted a long fly ball that got past the Trojans’ centerfielder and rolled to the wall. However, the runners weren’t running full speed because they were waiting for the outcome of the play.
That cost Waynesboro a run, and a line out to center field on another hard hit, this one by Fisher, ended the inning.
“We had first and second and a deep fly ball off the outfield fence. I had the runner hold, because I thought she was going to track it down. She made a great play off the fence and a heck of a throw from shortstop,” McElroy said.
“Honestly, I turned and look to pick up the runner from second and thought she had already scored. I turned and saw that she was thrown out. It was a great defensive play. It was that close to being a three-run home run and ended getting thrown out at home. We’ll keep fighting. We have one more game.”
The loss was the third in a row for Waynesboro, which started the week ranked seventh in the District 3-5A power rating. The Maidens were ranked 12th in the updated ranking on mid-day Friday.
“I have a very intelligent group of girls who are working through AP tests this week, finals, just like all the other schools,” McElroy explained. “They’ve got prom (Saturday); they could have cashed it in. I’m very proud of them.”
Waynesboro (12-6) plays at Mechanicsburg on Monday in the regular-season finale.