If the members of the Fairfield softball team weren’t familiar with Murphy’s Law prior to Tuesday’s game against Upper Dauphin, they likely are now.
Anything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong for the Lady Knights in a 15-0 loss to the Trojans in just five innings in the District 3 Class 2A title game at Millersville University.
Fairfield had just one hit in the contest, a single that could well have been ruled an error, and committed five errors in addition to a number of mental miscues in the loss.
“I don’t know. It looked like we didn’t come to play,” a perplexed Terry Weikert said of his team after the game. “We didn’t attack anything in the box today. We had a pretty good scouting report on them. We just actually didn’t do anything well. We made too many mistakes right off the start.”
Weikert wasn’t being hyperbolic about the Lady Knights (15-5), either. On the first play of the ball game, Trojans’ leadoff hitter and pitcher Maddin Grow reached base on a hard-hit ball that shortstop Alyssa Wiles struggled to corral. Three batters later, Upper Dauphin (14-8) took a 1-0 lead on another single that Wiles would probably like to have back. Kelsey Henninger then lined a two-run single to put the Lady Knights in an early 3-0 hole.
The three runs would’ve been enough for Grow, who delivered a sterling performance in a complete-game shutout and asserted her dominance early with a 1-2-3 first inning.
“I had no doubt Maddin could go the whole game,” Trojans’ coach Bob Ligon said of his starter, who preserved through 97-degree heat. “She’s a multi-sport athlete. She runs cross country. She spends time in the weight room. I had no doubt she would carry us through the game.”
Things didn’t get any better for Fairfield in the second inning. After a leadoff walk, a bunt that just eluded starter Kira Weikert went for a single to put two on with no outs. Grow then singled to make it 4-0 before a Shelby Klinger double and an error in center field made it 6-0.
Fayth Anderson added another run and suddenly the hill that the Lady Knights were looking to climb was looking more like a mountain.
Cailin Swam walked to lead off the bottom half of the inning and advanced to second with no outs on a wild pitch, but any hope of a rally quickly disappeared as Sarah Devilbiss flied out to left before strikeouts from Claudia Bricker and Kaylee Stone ended the inning.
Things continued to spiral in the top of the third inning. A pair of miscues to begin the frame turned into runs that made it 9-0 before a Jordyn Miller RBI single pushed the lead to 10-0 after the top of the third.
Grow retired the side in order again in the third before Ellie Snyder came on and worked a scoreless fourth for the Lady Knights. With two down in the bottom of the fourth, Swam singled to end the no-hit bid, but that was the extent of the offense for Fairfield.
The fifth inning proved to be the final one, as the Trojans’ offense, led by a Grow inside-the-park home run, put up five more runs and after a scoreless bottom half, induced the mercy rule.
Tuesday marked the third time the two teams have met with district gold on the line, with Fairfield winning in 2017 before Upper Dauphin gained the upper hand both in 2018 and this time around. Both teams will now advance to the state tournament where Terry Weikert hopes his team will put forth a better performance.
“We’re a better team than what we showed tonight,” he said. “It’s kind of frustrating . . . disgusted, I don’t know what else to say. But we’ve got to regroup. We’ve got another game left and we’ve got to come prepared and ready to play.’
Upper Dauphin 343 05 — 15 11 0
Fairfield 000 00 — 0 1 5
Maddin Grow and Kelsey Henninger; Kira Weikert, Ellie Snyder (4) and Sarah Devilbiss. WP: Grow. LP: Weikert SO-BB: Grow 8-1; Weikert 1-1; Snyder 2-1. 2B: UD-Shelby Klinger. HR: UD-Grow