The York Middle School softball field was the scene of York Comprehensive High School varsity softball action for almost three decades.
It was the scene of classic confrontations for region supremacy, down-to-the-wire playoff battles for upstate bragging rights and more than its share of York-Clover rivalry showdowns.
The middle softball field is a cozy ball park, where home and visitors’ fans share the same bleachers near the playing field. It is a softball fan’s delight, up close and personal.
And the York Middle School girls’ softball team is building its own tradition.
Such was the case Friday when the Lady Cougar middle-schoolers defeated rival Clover Middle School in convincing fashion, a 13-3 win before a noisy crowd cheering every pitch.
With Friday’s conquest of visiting Clover, the Lady Cougars finished the regular season unbeaten with an 8-0 slate.
The York Middle School girls made it back-to-back banner seasons, having gone through last year’s division slate of games unbeaten.
“We had divisional play last year,” coach Lindsey Dessecker said after Friday’s win. “This year, there were no divisions. York County middle school play was wide open.”
Seventh-grade hurler Ally Morales was dominant in picking up the win in the much-anticipated York-Clover showdown.
She also delivered a key hit for the Lady Cougars.
Strong-armed eighth-grade pitcher Sydney Phillips is another effective starter who toes the rubber with confidence. Olivia Caulder and Madlyn Sanford added quality depth to the pitching staff.
The York Middle School girls had an abundant supply of offensive production, including timely triples by Jess Morgan and Breoanna Moss. Moss also had a double.
DeOuizha Love made her presence felt in a huge way for the home-standing YMS girls with a triple and single in separate plate appearances.
Center-fielder Madison McCartney had a solid two-strike single to left field that got the York bats going.
With heavy hitting the order of the day for the Lady Cougars, slick-fielding shortstop Madison Bryant had a defensive gem that brought the York crowd to its feet with thunderous applause.
Bryant back-handed a screaming liner, putting to rest a potential Blue Eagle rally with a game-changing play.
Dessecker lauded the York Middle players for their commitment to the softball program.
“The kids worked hard all year,” she said. “They set goals and accomplished them. They make contact at the plate and seldom strike out.”
Dessecker, a native of Ohio, says softball is what she is all about.
“I’ve had a passion for softball since I started playing the sport at age 5,” she said. “My dad is an umpire and I have a sister who is a coach. Softball is my sport. I am learning other sports.”
A big part of the York Middle softball team’s success this season, she said, has been steady hitting.
“Our kids have hit the ball consistently all season,” said Dessecker.
The Lady Cougars finished the season with a startling statistic, revealing timely hitting and dominant pitching at the middle school level. They outscored their opponents 227 to 17 this season.
Dessecker said some middle school players will impact the varsity program. “We have kids who will be successful at the high school level,” she said.