DANVILLE — Mifflinburg manager Heath Stewart isn’t ready for his summer (of playing softball) to be cut short.
One year after leading his Minor Division team to the District 13 championship, Mifflinburg manager Heath Stewart and his 8-9-10 All-Stars are at it again.
Behind a combined no-hitter thrown by Maggie Rubendall and Taylor Stewart, Mifflinburg claimed the District 13 title with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Warrior Run at Echo Field.
“It feels really good. It was nice (Mifflinburg Area Little League) let me keep my girls and let them stay together instead of moving them up (a division),” said manager Stewart, whose team enters the Section 3 Tournament on Wednesday and plays the District 15 champ at 5:30 p.m.
However, winning districts and reaching sectionals is just the start for Mifflinburg this postseason, according to manager Stewart.
“I think we’re past that goal (of just reaching sectionals). We want to go farther than that,” said manager Stewart. “I mean, I told the girls when we started we had six goals that we set and six steps. (Friday’s win) is No. 2 down, and we have four more steps to reach our ultimate goal.
“We want to get to states. I mean, that’s something these girls have never experienced. I think we’re very talented, and we can do it,” added Mifflinburg’s manager.
A leadoff walk drawn by Anna Pachuski in the first inning resulted in Mifflinburg’s first run as she later scored on a groundout by Taylor Stewart.
In the third, a groundout by Pachuski brought home Amelia Fluman with the second run after the latter led off the inning with a single. Pachuski then came around to score on a passed ball to make the score 3-0.
“Warrior Run played us tough for the first three innings, and our starting catcher (Chloe Showalter) went down (in the second inning), so that kind of worried us,” said manager Stewart. “Taylor (Stewart, who went in at catcher) started getting tired behind the plate (and we put in Rubendall), so we had to make that switch. Maggie did a heck of a job pitching, and I really didn’t want to make that switch (moving her from pitcher to catcher).
“They are team players, and they do what they have to do to help,” added Mifflinburg’s manager.
Regardless of the positional changes, Mifflinburg’s offense broke the game wide open with three runs in the fourth inning.
First, Rubendall scored on a wild pitch after she reached base with a walk prior to stealing second and third. Amelia Fluman then was hit by a pitch and Pachuski hit an infield single, and both girls would come around to score on an error to give Mifflinburg a 6-0 lead.
An inning later, an infield single by Stewart and a bunt base hit by Brooke Gessner led off the fifth. The bases soon became loaded with no outs when Rubendall walked.
Stewart scampered home on a wild pitch before Showalter hit a two-run single to shallow center. Showalter scored the final run on a bunt base hit by Amelia Fluman.
“It was a tough game. The heat gets to these girls, but then again I can’t take anything away from Heath Stewart — he’s got one heck of a group of girls over there,” said Warrior Run manager Cody Reeder. “The pitching on his staff is amazing. My girls held them pretty well and I was impressed, but it is what it is. Mifflinburg is a very dominant team, and it’s something to be proud of, it really is.”
Rubendall struck out seven in her three innings of work, while Taylor Stewart struck out five in the final two innings.
“Between Maggie and Taylor, they are both pretty solid pitchers, and our infield is solid. We’re solid all the way around,” said manager Stewart. “I feel pretty good. I hope we have a long way to go (yet). I don’t want my summer to be short.”
District 13 Tournament
at Echo Field, Danville
Mifflinburg 10, Warrior Run 0 (5 innings)
Mifflinburg10234 — 10-7-1
Warrior Run00000 — 0-0-2
Maggie Rubendall, Taylor Stewart (4) and Chloe Showalter, Stewart (2), Rubendall (4). Makenzie Litchard and Arianna Dyer.
WP: Rubendall. LP: Litchard.
Mifflinburg hitters: Anna Pachuski, single, walk, RBI, 3 runs scored; Stewart, 2-for-3, run; Brylee Mook, walk; Brooke Gessner, single, run; Rubendall, 2 walks, 2 runs; Showalter, single, 2 RBI, run; Amelia Fluman, 2-for-2, HBP, RBI, 2 runs; Olivia Fetterman, walk.
Warrior Run hitters: Litchard, walk; Jacey Felix, walk.