What’s the best way to recover from three tough losses? Get two mercy-rule victories. That’s exactly what the Elizabethtown Area High School softball team did in its most recent games, and the Lady Bears were able to secure a spot in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs along the way.
The team traveled to Lebanon on Wednesday, May 1, cruising to a 21-8 victory in five innings. Elizabethtown got going early after junior Alyssa Hamilton scored on a wild pitch, followed by an RBI single from sophomore Kristin Geesey to plate fellow sophomore Megan Gray. The latter would double home junior Makenzie Cummings in the second, followed by a Geesey sacrifice fly to bring in Hamilton.
Senior Sadie Seaman would then nail a bases-loaded single, with Gray and junior Haylee Calaman coming home. Junior Erin Heffleger followed that up with an RBI double to score junior Hayden Calaman, putting the Lady Bears up 7-0.
The Cedars would quickly load the bases themselves with two walks and an error in the bottom of the second. Senior Cahlee Wolfe was hit by a pitch to bring home a run the hard way, and a fielder’s choice RBI from senior Kayla Rohner allowed another run to come in. The two would then score on a two-out single from fellow senior Auri LaSalle, cutting the score to 7-4.
Elizabethtown added a run in the third off another Geesey sacrifice fly to bring in Hamilton. Seaman doubled in Hayden Calaman to start the fourth, later scoring on an RBI single from freshman Jessie Zimmerman. Gray hit a double to plate Zimmerman and scored alongside Hamilton on a Geesey double. Haylee Calaman, playing in her first game since March after suffering a broken arm, capped the frame off with a two-run homer over the left field fence, giving the Lady Bears a 16-4 lead.
Lebanon kept itself alive with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, the first thanks to an error off a single to center from sophomore Alexa Gulliver and the second via an RBI sacrifice grounder from Wolfe. Zimmerman and senior Lauren Hottenstein got on via an error and a single to start the fifth, with Hamilton singling in the former. Geesey would bring home Hottenstein and Hamilton on a single, followed by a ground-rule double from Haylee Calaman to bring in Gray.
From there, Elizabethtown rounded out the scoring with Geesey coming in on a wild pitch and Hayden Calaman hitting a sacrifice grounder to plate her sister. The Cedars needed five runs to avoid the mercy rule but only picked up two via a sacrifice grounder from junior Maria Martinez and an RBI single from senior Mikayla Bowman in the bottom of the fifth.
Geesey had a whopping 6 RBIs to lead Elizabethtown, a season high for the Lady Bears. She tied for the lead in hits (3) with Gray and Seaman, who each had 3 RBIs along with Haylee Calaman. Hamilton scored 5 runs, while Gray had 4. Hamilton got her first start of the year on the mound, allowing 4 earned runs and just 2 hits in four innings of work. Freshman Brooke Bryan came on in the fifth, yielding 3 hits and 2 earned runs.
Wolfe led Lebanon with 2 RBIs, while sophomore Claudia Parker scored twice.
The Lady Bears closed out Section Two play on the road at Ephrata on Thursday, May 2, getting a 12-0 shutout in five innings. Hamilton reached first on an error to lead off the game, stealing second and third and subsequently coming home on a double from Hayden Calaman to put Elizabethtown up 1-0.
A Geesey double in the third would bring in Hamilton and Gray. Haylee Calaman singled in courtesy runner Hottenstein, later scoring off a Seaman double. Sophomore courtesy runner Chloe Garner finally came home on a Heffleger single.
Elizabethtown would score five more runs in the fourth, getting started with a Hamilton single and steal. Gray would get her home with an RBI single, stealing second and getting to third on a wild pitch before scoring off a Geesey single. Seaman nailed a double to plate Haylee Calaman and courtesy runner Hottenstein, and freshman courtesy runner Julia Anderson came in on a passed ball from there. The Lady Bears picked up a final run in the fifth after Gray scored during a bases-loaded fielder’s choice from Hayden Calaman.
In addition to tying Seaman with a game-high 3 RBIs, Geesey was lights out at pitcher, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 4 batters. Hamilton and Gray each scored 3 runs. The win also gave head coach Gary Wylde his 200th career victory.
Now at 12-7 on the year, Elizabethtown clinched a berth in the L-L League playoffs after Solanco lost to Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday, May 3. The Lady Bears will most likely play Section Three champion Donegal. Before then, however, they’ll close out the regular season at home against Spring Grove, the current No. 2 seed in Class 5A for District 3 and the team that beat them in districts last season, on Thursday, May 9.