Littlestown needed all the offense it could muster in Monday’s non-division game against visiting New Oxford.
Luckily, Destiny Henderson was up to the challenge.
The Thunderbolts senior came to the plate three times and reached base all three, knocking in four runs along the way to help the hosts to a 7-6 victory.
“We got down a few times and it got quiet (in the dugout),” she said after the game. “But we picked each other up and we kept fighting and it was a good team effort.”
Chelsey Stonesifer got the start in the circle for Littlestown (3-0) and worked out of a jam to set the Colonials (1-2) down without any runs scored in the top of the first.
She then led off the bottom half of the inning with a single and later scored on an error before a Henderson single made it 2-0 after the first inning.
Stonesifer appeared to be settling in the second time around, setting the visitors down in order. But in the third inning, New Oxford’s bats came alive.
Mallory Topper and starting pitcher Courtney Smith both recorded RBI doubles in the frame and suddenly the Colonials found themselves on top, 3-2.
“Chelsey made some good pitches that they just did a good job with,” Littlestown coach James Loveless said. “We made some mistakes in the field and they also did a good job of hitting there, and we got ourselves in a bit of trouble.”
Smith shut down the Bolts’ bats in the bottom half of the inning, while Stonesifer responded in kind in the top of the fourth, keeping her team in it.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Littlestown came firing back in resounding fashion. First, it was centerfielder Carli Thayer with a seeing-eye single to plate two and put the Bolts on top, 4-3.
Then, with the bases loaded and two strikes against her, Henderson drove the ball the opposite way down the right field line for a bases-clearing triple to break open the game and put her team up 7-3.
“I was so nervous,” she said of the at-bat. “I knew she was going to throw it outside. I heard my teammates cheering me on and I just knew I had to crush it.”
The Colonials didn’t lie down, however. In the top of fifth, New Oxford loaded the bases with no outs. Stonesifer appeared to be out of the jam with only one run allowed, but after a ground ball back to the circle, she air-mailed a throw past first baseman Wendi Snyder, allowing two more runs to score and making it 7-6 after five innings.
That, however, would be the last mistake she would make in the contest. Stonesifer came back out for both the sixth and seventh, retiring the Colonials in order, including five strikeouts, to seal the 7-6 victory and keep her team undefeated early in the season.
“When she got herself in a little trouble with that throw to first, I saw that look and I’m like ‘okay, she’s got this,’” Loveless said of his ace after the game. “She’s always positive, always upbeat. She’s her toughest critic and you don’t have to talk to her about it. She made the adjustment and came back working 10 times harder.”
When all was said and done, Stonesifer picked up the victory and recorded 15 strikeouts and one walk to go along with six hits and six runs, though just two of which were earned.
“She knows what she can do and is confident in herself and we’re confident in her,” Henderson said of her pitcher. “That’s what makes us a good team, that we have that belief in one another.”
The Bolts return to action on Thursday with a big matchup at fellow unbeaten Kennard-Dale.
“We’ve got a young group and right now I’m not sure they know enough to be nervous,” Loveless said. “We’ve got continue to go out and be aggressive and make teams make mistakes. We’re going to make mistakes, so we need to capitalize on their mistakes as well.”
The Colonials are back in action on Thursday as well and will travel to 0-1 Red Lion in hopes of returning to the win column.
New Oxford 003 030 0 — 6 6 2
Littlestown 200 500 x — 7 8 3
Courtney Smith, Paige Dill (4). WP: Chelsey Stonesifer. LP: Smith. SO-BB: Smith 1-4, Dill 4-1, Stonesifer 15-1. 2B: NO-Smith, Mallory Topper. L-Bailey Rucker. 3B: 3B-Destiny Henderson.