Another rematch on deck for Chambersburg softball
So many coaches have uttered the words: "It's hard to beat a team three times."
That theory holds often true, but Chambersburg softball coach Chris Skultety isn't buying it.
"I think it gives them extra motivation, but it can also creep into their minds if we get a lead and it's, 'Here we go again,'" Skultety said. "You can look at that both ways, but our team knows it's going to be a dogfight."
The first two games with Mid Penn Commonwealth Division foe Mifflin County were certainly battles, and Skultety expects more of the same when the teams meet in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Carlisle H.S. Chambersburg won both regular season meetings - a 5-2 victory in eight innings and a 3-1 win later in the year.
"We can use it to our benefit because we know their team, but they also know us, so there's not a whole lot of surprises," Skultety said. "We know what to expect with (pitcher) Hannah Ruby. We got a lot of hits off her the first time, but we had a lot of (strikeouts) the second time. We gotta just put the ball in play - hit hard line drives and ground balls."
Once again, Chambersburg (23-4) remains focused on itself and working to its strengths.
Laken Myers will get the nod to start in the circle. Starting catcher Caeley Etter will likely be playing at first base after recovering from a recent injury, meaning Sam Bender will once again work from the catcher's position.
"The important thing is health; that comes before anything," Skultety said about his decision to play Etter. "As long as she's healthy, we'll maybe put her at first again and have her hit, but we probably won't put her at catcher unless I need to use Sam (to pitch)."
Offense will be hard to come by for the Trojans if Ruby does start for Mifflin County (18-5), which won the District 6 championship. Ruby boasts a 1.56 ERA in 85 1/3 innings pitched in the regular season. Her offense also backs her quite well - the Huskies are led by Maddie Arnspacker (.410 batting average), Darcy Wilson (.379) and Taylor McKay (.350).
But Myers should be able to combat at least some of that. In 92 innings pitched, Myers has allowed just 37 runs - only 26 earned - and has struck out 64 batters, and her defense has been nearly unstoppable lately.
"We're continuing to pound the defense and put the bat on the ball," Skultety said. "We've also been focusing on smart, aggressive baserunning - that can really rattle people when you get everyone running around. If we stick to our game, we should be tough to beat."
Chambersburg's top hitters are Leah Hunt (.556) and Dori Loukopoulos (.439).
Trojans-Huskies at a glance
Game data: Chambersburg Trojans vs. Mifflin County Huskies ... Thursday, 4:30 at Carlisle H.S. ... PIAA Class AAAA softball quarterfinal.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast on Twitter ... A webcast will be available on midpennbroadcasting.com.
Teams: Chambersburg is 23-4 after beating Upper Darby, 7-2, in the first round ... Mifflin County (18-5) is coming off a 6-4 defeat of Lower Dauphin.
Series: The Trojans won both regular season meetings.
Implications: The winner will face the victor of 7-1 Hempfield vs. 10-1 McDowell in the PIAA semifinals.
P.O. pick: Trojans by 2.