The Elizabethtown Area High School softball team is rolling right now, winning three games to extend their winning streak to four. However, weather has set up a daunting week for them, with three more games to play and a potential spot in the Lancaster- Lebanon League playoffs on the horizon.
“We don’t wanna get ahead of ourselves,” head coach Gary Wylde said. “We don’t talk about that kind of stuff right now. We’re hoping if we can continue to play well, that’ll be the first thing we check off. Right now, we’re thinking about tomorrow. These next three games are big, and I think by the end of the week, we’ll figure out where we’re at, hopefully.”
The team hosted Cedar Crest at Elizabethtown Borough Park on Thursday, April 26, coasting to an easy 13-0 win in five innings with the mercy rule. The Lady Bears scored in every inning, and every player who started on offense scored at least one run.
Senior Grace Eckert, junior Sadie Seaman and freshman Kristin Geesey had 2 runs each for Elizabethtown. RBIs came from Eckert, Seaman, junior Bethany Burton, junior Lauren Leese and sophomore Hayden Calaman.
Geesey allowed just two hits on the mound, both of them coming in the top of the first. She was nearly flawless after that, ending the game by retiring 13 of the last 14 batters and getting 2 strikeouts.
Freshman Madison Sherrid started at pitcher for Cedar Crest, splitting the game with senior Bailey Perry. The two allowed 12 hits combined. Cedar Crest’s two hits came from senior Cassie Flocken and junior Cameron Putt.
The Lady Bears had an away game on Monday, April 30, at Conestoga Valley. In windy conditions, there wasn’t much offense to be had. Elizabethtown’s lone run came on a throwing error; Seaman doubled and scored when Leese grounded out to short and the first baseman’s subsequent throw to third went wide.
Conestoga Valley never went away after that, but they were unable to get the tying run. They came close in the bottom of the seventh, after junior Michele Lopez and senior Alexia Trott singled. Geesey forced a groundout to third, however, which was enough for a 1-0 Elizabethtown victory, their third consecutive shutout.
Seaman’s double was the bulk of Elizabethtown’s offense; they had just 5 hits on the day. Geesey was once again stout on the mound, allowing only 5 hits and striking out the same amount of batters in a complete, scoreless game.
Lopez and fellow senior Karla Santiago each had 2 hits for Conestoga Valley to lead all batters. Trott pitched a complete game as well, getting 2 strikeouts.
“We went up against a girl we beat the first time, and she pitched a whale of a game,” Wylde said. “We swung at 11 first pitches, and a bunch of them weren’t good looks for our batters.”
Finally, Elizabethtown hosted Manheim Township at home on Tuesday, May 1, in a second makeup date from the week before. The Blue Streaks started off strong, scoring three runs in the top of the first on an error and two sacrifice flies. The Lady Bears responded with a sixrun assault in the bottom of the second, helped by multiple throwing errors from their opponents.
Manheim Township tried to keep themselves alive, getting a run in both the third and fourth. However, Elizabethtown proved to be too much, as they scored four runs in the third and six more in the fourth to go up 165. They then held off the Blue Streaks when they got the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, forcing the mercy rule and getting the victory.
“It’s funny because yesterday and today are night day,” Wylde said. “We’ve been trying to tell the girls that against these good pitchers, we’ve got to be ready from the first pitch. We made some adjustments, and I think we hit the ball pretty good tonight. Sometimes the energy level isn’t there in the beginning of the game. Maybe they’re not used to this beautiful weather. We got ourselves down, but give the girls credit, they showed some resiliency. So now we can focus on tomorrow a little bit.”
Seaman, Geesey, Hayden Calaman and freshman Megan Gray all hit triples, while Burton had a double. RBIs went to Leese, Hamilton, Geesey, Burton, senior Jocelyn Zook, Hayden Calaman and her sister, sophomore Haylee Calaman. The latter was tied for the team lead with Geesey with 2 RBIs. Hamilton, Zook, Hayden Calaman and junior courtesy runner Marena Lonardi each had 3 runs.
Zook in particular shined, reaching the bases in all three of her at-bats, two of them on singles. She’s been dealing with a finger injury for the past few games, so having her back at relatively full strength was a plus for the team.
“It’s incredible to have her back,” Wylde said. “We put her down at nine only because her finger was giving her a little problem yesterday. We didn’t want her in the middle of the order in case it started again. Having her at nine was pretty darn nice today though. I think that’s the best nine hitter we’ve seen. We’ve been lucky to have her defense because she just goes out and gets those balls, including one popup into right field. Nobody does it like her.”
Geesey was shaky at times, allowing nine total hits. However, she settled into a groove after the first inning and ultimately finished with 5 strikeouts and just one walk (which was intentional).
“She battled today,” Wylde said. “She wasn’t real sharp in the first inning, but she just got better as the game went along. It didn’t look like it, but that was a good team we beat.”
Manheim Township’s RBIs went to junior Casey Martin, sophomore Emily Smyth, sophomore Julianna Lueders and sophomore Emily Kmiec. Senior Mikayla Brennan pitched the first three innings for the Blue Streaks, allowing eight earned runs. Martin came in for the fourth, allowing three more. In total, the team had 10 errors on the day, five of which allowed runs.
Elizabethtown travels to Solanco on Wednesday, May 2, before returning home to face Ephrata on Thursday, May 3, and Lebanon on Friday, May 4. The Ephrata game was originally set for Friday, April 27, before weather caused it to be postponed. They’ll then head back on the road to play Garden Spot on Monday, May 7.
With three consecutive games still on the docket, the team will have to get creative with its pitching at some point. Geesey has pitched two straight days already, and while Wylde plans to keep her on the mound against Solanco, he’ll also have two more tough outings to think about beyond that.
“The nice thing about it is that she only threw five innings today and 60 pitches last night,” Wylde said. “We’re looking to ride with her tomorrow and just go from there. We’ll see what we got for the Ephrata game. Jocelyn’s back in the lineup, and we can also use Alyssa. We’re just gonna take it one game at a time. Everyone’s in the same boat as us with playing four or five games a week. We’ll just see what happens.”