The Elizabethtown Area High School softball team had a whirlwind stretch of games: four in six days. By the end of it, the Lady Bears came away with decent-to-positive results.
The team first hosted Lebanon on Wednesday, April 3, getting a mercy-rule aided 12-2 win in five innings. The Cedars were able to get a run in the top of the first after junior Maria Martinez got hit by a pitch, stole second and third, then came home on a throwing error. The Lady Bears responded by blitzing Lebanon for 8 runs in the bottom frame, with the majority being unearned. Sophomore pitcher Nicole Kilsh walked 5 batters during the inning as well.
The Cedars kept themselves alive in the second with an inside-the-park home run from sophomore Claudia Packer. Elizabethtown picked up another run in the third after junior Bri McCaulley scored on another error.
Sophomore Megan Gray followed that up with a home-run of her own in the fourth. The Lady Bears then forced the mercy rule in the fifth after junior Alyssa Hamiton singled in junior Erin Heffleger and later scored on a passed ball.
Hamilton led the way with 2 RBIs for Elizabethtown. Gray, McCaulley, junior Hayden Calaman and junior Makenzie Cummings each had one as well, while freshman Jessie Zimmerman had a team-high 2 hits. Freshman Brooke Bryan got her first start on the mound, allowing just 2 hits and 2 runs (one earned) and striking out 4 batters.
Elizabethtown had another home game the next day on Thursday, April 4, against Mechanicsburg, postponed from Friday, March 22. The Wildcats got things going early in the top of the first, with freshman Madisyn Saposneak plating two runs on an RBI double.
The Lady Bears would not answer until the bottom of the third, when Calaman nailed a triple to bring in Bryan and Hamilton, coming home immediately on a passed ball. Zimmerman would hit an infield single with two outs to score Gray, giving Elizabethtown a 4-2 advantage.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, a hard-hit Calaman ball bounced off the Mechanicsburg’s shortstop’s glove, scoring Bryan. Senior Sadie Seaman singled Hamilton in shortly afterward, and some baserunning shenanigans allowed Calaman to score too, putting Elizabethtown’s lead to 7-2.
Senior Maddie Hurst added a run for Mechanicsburg in the top of the fifth after doubling and coming home on an error to cut the score to 7-3. In the bottom frame, McCaully converted a sacrifice bunt to plate Zimmerman. Bryan then hit a bloop single to bring in Heffleger and later scored on a bases-loaded walk from Seaman, putting Elizabethtown up 10-3.
Mechanicsburg did manage to escape with the bases loaded and fed off that momentum, taking advantage of five Lady Bears errors to score five runs in the top of the sixth. All of a sudden, Elizabethtown was clinging to a 10-8 lead.
Luckily for the Lady Bears, they responded quite well in the bottom frame. Hamilton came up with a two-out single to score Heffleger, then waltzed home alongside Cummings when sophomore Kristin Geesey smashed an inside-the-park home run. The latter would shut down the Wildcats at the plate in the top of the seventh as well, giving Elizabethtown a wild 14-8 victory.
Geesey allowed 9 hits and 8 runs (just 3 of them earned) on the mound, striking out 3 batters as well. Her homer gave her the game-high in RBIs at 3. Seaman and Calaman each had 2, while Hamilton and Bryan shared the lead in hits with 3.
The Lady Bears took a step back on Monday, April 8, during an away game at Manheim Township, losing 12-2 in five innings. The Blue Streaks got 11 of those runs in the second and third; junior Emily Smyth nailed a home run to start things off, and an error led to two more runs in the second.
Errors proved costly for Elizabethtown in the third. The Lady Bears committed one with the bases loaded that scored two runs for the Blue Streaks, who then used a double from sophomore Kaily Carrasco to plate two more. Another error yielded two further runs, and senior Casey Martin doubled to bring in the last two.
Elizabethtown attempted to get back into the game during the bottom of the third with RBI singles from Hamilton and Geesey to plate McCaulley and Bryan, respectively. However, a home run in the bottom of the fifth from freshman Delany Smith ended the game with the mercy rule to give Manheim Township the win.
Smyth led all players with 3 hits for the Blue Streaks, who also saw Martin and senior Brionna Rinier get 2 hits each. The former pitched the entire game, striking out 5 batters and allowing an equal number of hits.
Geesey went three innings on the mound for the Lady Bears, allowing 9 hits and 11 runs (just 5 earned). Bryan completed the rest of the game, only allowing the game-winning homer. Gray led the team with 2 hits.
Lastly, the Lady Bears hosted Ephrata on Tuesday, April 9, in a game moved from Friday, April 5, due to inclement weather. The Mounts actually managed to get a run in the top of the first after sophomore Alyssa Meier singled, stole second and came home on two passed balls. It was the only run they’d get.
Gray tripled and scored on a Geesey single in the bottom frame, followed by a two-out single from Zimmerman to plate Calaman. Hamilton then tripled home Bryan in the second and scored on a sacrifice grounder from Gray to give Elizabethtown a 4-1 lead.
Bryan and Hamilton pulled off a double steal in the fourth, with the former stealing home. Geesey would single the latter in later. Her courtesy runner, sophomore Chloe Garner, scored on a Seaman single with two outs, and Heffleger would follow that up with another single to bring home senior pinch runner Lauren Hottenstein to make it 8-1.
Geesey notched her third RBI single of the day to score Bryan in the fifth. A hard-hit Calaman ball bounced off the Ephrata shortstop’s glove, allowing Gray to come in. Finally, Hottenstein got her first hit of the season to plate Garner, forcing the mercy rule and giving Elizabethtown an 11-1 victory.
Geesey led all players with 3 RBIs and shared the game-high in hits at 3 with Heffleger and Bryan (all bunts). The latter scored thrice. Geesey went the entire way on the mound, allowing just 3 hits and striking out a season-high 8 batters.
With a record of 5-3 on the season, Elizabethtown is set to stay at home to play Penn Manor on Wednesday, April 10, and Hempfield on Friday, April 12. The Lady Bears will then go on the road to face Cedar Crest on Monday, April 15.