WAYNESBORO – It was Senior Day for the Waynesboro varsity softball team, and what a day it was.
Eight senior players received a nice sendoff from parents, family and friends: Savannah Brosius, Slaydon Fisher, Bella Donaldson, Trysta Bricker, Karsyn Moore, Sierra Mankins and Michelle Baker.
Baker especially must have felt elated once the game against James Buchanan was in the books. The senior right-handed pitcher had one of her finest outings of the 2023 season. Baker scattered five hits, struck out eight and walked two in the complete-game win.
The Maidens committed an error in the third inning, but the Lady Rockets left a runner on board and had another forced out at second base thanks to a throw by Slaydon (third base) to Mankins (the centerfielder), who came in to back up a throw and covered second base.
“With eight seniors on the field, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy for them to start thinking about the end of the season,” said Waynesboro coach Steven McElroy, who is about to complete his fourth season at that position (a full cycle of players from freshman to senior). “Prom’s next weekend, graduation. But they stayed focused and stayed together.
“After the (Shippensburg) game, which was a big win for us, the team has come together and got another big win.”
McElroy started eight seniors in the game, and they played the entire game.
Meanwhile, the Maidens (10-9), who play Friday at Spring Grove in the regular-season finale, scored all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning. Bricker led off with a walk. Following a pop out, Abby McElroy drew a base on balls. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, and after another out, Zoie Singray delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single to give Waynesboro a 2-0 lead.
The Maidens tallied two more runs in the fourth inning when Singray hit a lead-off double and scored on a base hit by Baker. Courtesy runner Riley Shetler was ruled out due to runner’s interference with Mankins at bat. Mankins stole second, advanced to third base on a ground out and scored on a passed ball to up the ante to 4-0.
Baker was purring away like a new engine. She struck out two of three batters in the first inning, put down the side in order in the second frame and allowed two batters in the third, both of which didn’t get past first base.
Baker induced two weak popups in the fourth inning and struck out a batter to end the inning, leaving runners on first and second bases with the game still in reach.
JB’s lone run came in the sixth inning on a triple and an infield single.
Waynesboro actually had one less hit than James Buchanan but strung them together and took advantage of some walks to advance runners.
“She pitched a gem against Ship, but did again (Thursday),” McElroy said of his starting pitcher. “She hit the strike zone and spun the ball really well. She’s been solid for us all year.”