MIFFLINBURG — It’s been a season full of growth for Mifflinburg’s young softball team, and with just two seniors on the squad the future looks bright for the Wildcats.

Mifflinburg showed some promise of things to come during Thursday’s Heartland-I contest against Danville, but the Ironmen put together two big innings to take a 10-4 victory.

“No, the girls kept fighting. They’re just a little inexperienced, but they’re coming around. The girls just need to get a little dirt time, and they’ll be fine,” said Mifflinburg manager Ron Hernandez, who will have 17 players, including 15 freshmen and sophomores coming back next year.

“At this point in the year, we’re going to take a look at the positives, and talk to them about the positive stuff and we’ll talk about the negative stuff a bit, but we’ll definitely try to keep their confidence up and keep them heading in the right direction. The girls have made a lot of improvement this year and they are heading in the right direction.”

The defense by Mifflinburg (5-13, 4-10 HAC-I) avoided some trouble in the first two innings, but Danville (8-8, 7-7) broke through with its first big inning in the third.

Dejah Jones, Harper Hendrickson and Kat Rapp all hit RBI singles to get the Ironmen out to a 4-0 lead.

Danville’s lead increased to 6-0 in the fourth by playing some small ball, but in the sixth the Ironmen looked to end the game early with another four-run frame that was keyed by Jones’ RBI double and another RBI single from Hendrickson.

An inability to limit the damage by Danville in those innings is just one of the things that Mifflinburg’s players need to improve on.

“Yeah, the girls did (have trouble getting out of those innings). Everything kind of went right for Danville,” said Hernandez. “Danville took advantage of (our mistakes), and good teams will do that.”

Making Mifflinburg’s deficit worse was the fact the Wildcats made some miscues on the base paths, including having a girl get thrown out at home in the second inning, as well as hitting into a rally killing 6-4-3 double play in the third.

“Yeah, we couldn’t get a break there in the beginning, but hat’s off to them and they kept fighting,” said Mifflinburg’s coach. “The girls never stopped swinging the bats and they made some pretty decent contact there, but we’ll keep building from here.”

The Wildcats, however, prevented from getting 10-runned by scoring four runs in the sixth to make the game interesting.

Madison Fohringer plated the first run with an RBI double before Zoey Martin followed with an RBI single. Kamden Hockenbrock later hit a two-run double after entering the game the inning before as a substitute player.

“That (felt) good, and it showed a little light at the end of the tunnel for them,” said Hernandez. “They started to dig their heels in, and they started fighting a little bit harder. So, yeah that was a good positive thing.”

Mifflinburg will look to take another step forward when they hit the road to play Shamokin at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Danville 10, Mifflinburg 4

At Mifflinburg

Danville 004 204 0 – 10-10-3

Mifflinburg 000 004 0 – 4-7-1

Cam Hess and Breece Wilson. Chelsea Miller and Zoey Martin.

WP: Hess. LP: Miller.

Top Danville hitters: Cara Bohner, 1-for-3, 2 walks, 3 runs scored, RBI; Dejah Jones, 2-for-3, double, walk, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Hess, RBI, run; Harper Hendrickson, 2-for-4, 2 RBI, run; Morgan Gerringer, 1-for-4; Kat Rapp, 2-for-4, RBI; Wilson, 1-for-4; Cadence Shaffer, 1-for-3, double, walk, run; Emily Herriman, 1-for-3, walk, 2 runs.

Top Mifflinburg hitters: Kira Hackenberg, 1-for-4; Evelyn Osborne, 1-for-4, stolen base, run scored; Madison Fohringer, 1-for-3, double, walk, RBI, run; Martin, 3-for-3, RBI; Hope Swarey, run; Kamden Hockenbrock, double, 2 RBI.

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