The Elizabethtown Area High School softball team faced a daunting challenge. The Lady Bears had to finish the last three games of a five-day stretch before facing a section rival for a chance to lock up a spot in the Lancaster- Lebanon League playoffs. They accomplished one and came up short at the other.
The first of the back-toback- to-back came away at Solanco on Wednesday, May 2, where the Lady Bears fell 5-0. The Golden Mules were able to coast to victory by scoring four runs in the bottom of the third, later adding another in the fifth, all the while holding Elizabethtown to just 2 hits and no runs.
Freshman Kristin Geesey got the start at pitcher, allowing 10 hits and getting one strikeout. The two hits came from junior Sadie Seaman and sophomore Haylee Calaman.
Junior Hanna Phillips tossed 8 strikeouts in addition to the 2 hits she gave up as pitchers. Senior Liz Mowrer had a 2-RBI triple in the third, while junior Sierra Dean also had 2 RBIs.
The Lady Bears recovered with two blowout wins in the next two days, the first coming against Ephrata at Elizabethtown Borough Park on Thursday, May 3. They won 16-1 in four innings, exploding with seven runs in the first and six more in the second before nabbing the last three on a Geesey home run to force the mercy rule.
Seven of Elizabethtown’s runs came from wild pitches and errors. They had 12 hits as a team. Geesey’s 3 RBIs from the final home run led the team, though Seaman and sophomores Alyssa Hamilton and Erin Heffleger also had RBIs, as well as Haylee Calaman and her twin sister Hayden. Seaman, Heffleger and junior Lauren Leese each had 2 runs.
Geesey pitched the first two innings, allowing just one hit. Hamilton would pitch the last two, allowing 2 hits and a run.
Sophomore Cadie Fry had two of Ephrata’s three hits, the second being a double in the fourth. She came home on an RBI single from senior Jadan Mays. Sophomore Lexie Reinhold pitched the first two innings before exiting for Mays, allowing 13 of the 16 Elizabethtown runs. Mays went the rest of the way.
The second blowout win came at home on Friday, May 4, against Lebanon on the team’s Senior Day, with Elizabethtown winning 11-1 in five innings. Senior Jocelyn Zook got the start on the mound, allowing just three hits. Lebanon’s lone run came from a fielding error.
Hamilton led things off in the bottom of the first with a triple, immediately coming home on a Geesey single. Hayden Calaman then tripled to plate Geesey and junior courtesy runner Marena Lonardi, later coming home on a sacrifice grounder from junior Bethany Burton.
Senior Grace Eckert scored in the bottom of the fourth on an error. Zook came home on an RBI single from Hamilton, who then scored on a sacrifice fly from Geesey. Haylee Calaman singled and was replaced by Lonardi, who stole second and third and came in on another triple from Hayden Calaman.
The latter scored on another error, while Burton scored on a wild pitch. Eckert finally hit a sacrifice grounder to bring in Seaman for the final run. By the time the game was over, Hayden Calaman had 3 RBIs, while Geesey had 2.
Junior Auri Lassalle, sophomore Madison Gates and junior Mikayla Bowman had hits for Lebanon, with the former scoring on the previously mentioned fielding error. Senior pitcher Maggie Hinkel allowed 12 hits along with the 11 runs in a complete game.
Finally, Elizabethtown went on the road to face Garden Spot on Monday, May 7. The winner would clinch second place in Section Two to earn a playoff spot in the L-L League. It was a thrilling game on both sides, but the Spartans came out on top with a 7-4 win on a walkoff home run.
The Lady Bears struck first, with Hayden Calaman scoring Hamilton on a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the first. Garden Spot tied the game in the second on an RBI double from junior Desiree High, then went ahead on a solo home-run from junior Liz King in the third.
Elizabethtown retook the lead in the top of the fifth, as courtesy runners Eckert and freshman Megan Gray scored on a throwing error. Garden Spot immediately responded, going up 4-3 on a single from senior Megan Fisher thatscored two more runs.
In the top of the seventh, Hayden Calaman nailed a two-out single to plate Eckert, who had previously stolen second, tying the game at 4-4. Freshman Ally King hit a one-out double for Garden Spot, and Elizabethtown elected to intentionally walk Liz King to face Fisher, who rocketed a home-run over the right-centerfield fence to give the Spartans a victory.
“We were confident since we had the top of our order up,” head coach Gary Wylde said. “With two outs, it was a 2-2 count, and we figured Hayden would get a good pitch, so we decided to steal. Hayden had a nice hit to tie up. They just outhit us tonight.”
Hayden Calaman had both of the RBIs for the Lady Bears, while Eckert scored two of their four runs. Geesey threw a complete game, giving up 7 hits and striking out 2 batters.
Liz King was outstanding for Garden Spot, getting three hits at the plate (a single, double and home-run) while also striking out 11 batters on the mound. Fisher had 5 RBIs as well, including the game-winning homer.
Despite missing out on the league playoffs, Elizabethtown is currently secure for District 3 playoffs, ranking 10th in Class 5A. They’re scheduled to finish out the regular season with their final home game against Mechanicsburg on Wednesday, May 9, followed by two away matchups at Manheim Central on Thursday, May 10, and Dallastown on Tuesday, May 15.
“We’ll probably gonna get our minds back,” Wylde said. “We got two more big ones after that, and hopefully, it’ll prepare us for districts.”