DANVILLE — It was a long, bumpy road that brought Milton’s Junior Division All-Star softball team into the District 13 Tournament.
And after Friday’s opening game against Berwick, that road just got a lot rougher for Milton’s All-Stars.
Berwick recorded 11 hits and drew 10 walks to capture a 16-0, four-inning victory over Milton at Washies Utility Field.
“The girls played their hearts out. We’re working and we’re getting where we need to be. It’s (been) a long, fun journey,” said Milton manager Mike Hepler. “We honestly had a rough season coming up the whole way through (the regular season), but this team plays with heart every single game. I’ve been coaching 5-6 years and these girls have the biggest hearts out of all of them.
“Nothing gets us down, and they’re nothing but smiles, noise and chatter. They play for fun, and that’s the main thing,” added manager Hepler.
Berwick began the scoring with seven runs in the first inning off Milton starter Adrianna Allabach. Four hits and four walks came in the first, which was highlighted by a two-run single to center Brady McNamara, along with RBI singles from Liberty Gearinger and Payton Crawford.
Back-to-back RBI singles from Crawford and Lauren Rauch led to a four-run second inning and an 11-0 lead for Berwick’s All-Stars.
And in the third, Kenelee Zimmerman hit a two-run single and Olivia Hubler hit an infield RBI single to help put five more runs on the board to virtually put the game away for Berwick.
Berwick’s pitchers — starter Rauch and reliever McNamara — came within a couple of batters of combining for a perfect game.
Rachel Gentzel drew a walk in the third to give Milton its first baserunner of the game. Gentzel would advance to second on a wild pitch, but was left stranded there.
In the fourth, Kylie Wagner hit a leadoff single to represent Milton’s first hit of the game. Wagner later advanced to second when Paige Guffy was hit by a pitch with one out.
The inning, however, came to an end when Wagner was forced out at third on a grounder by Allabach.
There’s definitely a learning curve for Milton’s Juniors, especially when only two girls on the team have played on the junior division level before.
“We’re one of the youngest teams in this division. The girls are coming along, and they’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year. I think all but two of them never played juniors before this year,” said manager Hepler.
“We actually had a no-win regular season. A lot of the girls didn’t know much about softball, and a lot of them are just starting out. It was rough starting out (Friday), but we made some good plays and we’ve come a long way.”
Milton will try to bounce back when it faces the loser of Sunday’s game between Berwick and Lewisburg on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
“The girls will bounce back. We’re going to go home and work on what we need to work on and we’ll go from there,” said Milton’s manager. “They are all ready for practice. This game is done, past and forgotten about, and we’ll work for the nest one.”
Junior Division Softball
at Washies Field, Danville
Berwick 16, Milton 0 (4 innings)
Milton 000 0 — 0-1-4
Berwick 745 — 16-11-0
Adrianna Allabach, Audrie Nicholas (3) and Autumn Wolfgang. Lauren Rauch, Brady McNamara (3) and Payton Crawford.
WP: Rauch. LP: Allabach.
Milton hitters: Kylie Wagner, single; Paige Guffy, hit-by-pitch; Rachel Gentzel, walk.
Berwick hitters: Gabby Starr, single, 2 walks, run scored; Olivia Hubler, single, 2 walks, 2 RBI, run; Liberty Gearinger, 2-for-2, walk, 3 RBI, run; Izzy Snyder, single, run; Gabby Hashager, single, walk, 2 runs; Reece Knorr, walk, run; Brooke Siegel, 2 walks, 2 runs; McNamara, walk, RBI, 2 runs; Crawford, 2-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Amy Beer, RBI, run; Rauch, 2-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs; K. Zimmerman, single, RBI.