Girls fall to PG in slugfest
Pine Grove’s power prevented the Whitehall softball team from ending the Cardinals unbeaten streak when the two squads met on Monday.
Pine Grove entered the game 11-0, leaders of the Schuylkill Conference, and Whitehall had them on the ropes with one out in the top of the sixth inning. The Zephs were leading 8-6, but the heart of the Cardinal batting order was up, and catcher Trish Kopinetz, who had parked a ball over the center field wall in the fourth to stake them to a 4-2 lead, was at the plate.
With two runners on base, the righty served a ball down the right field line just inside the foul line for a double to knot the game at 8-8.
That was followed by a blast from Olivia Lehman whose shot cleared the deepest part of the field and set the stage for a seven-run sixth that effectively iced the game for the Cardinals.
The Zephyrs, who battled back from a 6-3 deficit, took the lead in the fourth as Rachel Arner, who recently recorded her 100th hit, tied the game with a liner that split gap between left and center for two runs. They took the lead one batter later when Abigail Reese’s tapper scored Arner. They added a run in the fifth inning, taking an 8-6 lead into the sixth.
However, some good situational hitting, a few miscues, and the two big blasts from the power hitters, kept their winning streak alive.
With the loss, the Zephyrs fell to 9-4.
Head coach Blake Morgan said that they got into a slugfest with them last year, a game in which they won by a run; however, one big difference separated the two games.
“The difference in this one was that it was still the slugfest, but we gave them runs; we made errors,” said Morgan.
He said that the Cardinals applied pressure early, something his team didn’t handle real well.
The Cardinals had 14 hits, with six players having multi-hit games. They also drew six walks and just kept the pressure on Whitehall throughout the game.
“They have good at-bats, they don’t swing at bad pitches,” said Morgan. “They put the ball in play and make you make plays.”
They were also aggressive on the bases, putting themselves in scoring position a number of times.
With all that they brought to the field offensively, Morgan said that it will serve as a learning experience.
“That’s a lesson for us,” he said.
Lindsay Gawrys continues to mash the ball. Her double that ticked off the center fielder’s glove which scored Reese, who had earlier reached on an infield hit, cut the Cardinals’ lead to 6-4.
In their four-run fourth, Meghan Hutter’s infield hit scored a run, helping to set the stage for Arner’s two-out double that knotted the game.
But Megan Wolfe, who had come on in relief of starting pitcher Olivia Lehman, buckled down after that, allowing just two hits in her 2.2 innings of work.
Last week, the Zephs came out on top in another slugfest, defeating Stroudsburg 12-11. They scored nine runs in the first two innings, and then weathered the Mounties comeback for the win.
In that game, Logan Bortz belted a double and homer, knocking in four runs. Mackenzie Laub and Gawrys each stroked two-baggers, with Gawrys finishing with three RBIs.
Morgan said that high-scoring games have become commonplace recently, and he’s not sure why. While knocking the cover off the ball is great, Morgan knows that ultimately sound, fundamental softball will rule the day.
“If we just play a clear game defensively, that helps, too,” said Morgan.
He said that today’s game served a s reminder that you can’t beat yourself.
“You can’t give good teams opportunities, and we have a slew of good teams that we have to face yet,” said Morgan. “We have to say consistent through the year; play the game the right way and don’t give them second chances.”