Boalsburg, PA - The Lady Lions entered the Penn State University Athletic Conference postseason tournament as the number three seed and began their quest for a championship in preliminary round action on Wednesday. The Hazleton squad went to work in round one against PSU Beaver and took care of business, defeating their opponent 12-1 in five innings. Later in the day, Hazleton found themselves in heated match up against rival campus PSU Schuylkill. After splitting their games in the regular season, The Lady Lions pulled out a resounding come from behind victory in the final frame, topping Schuylkill by a score of 3-2 and advancing to the semi-finals on Thursday.
Round 1: Penn State Hazleton 12, Penn State Beaver 1 (Final, 5 Innings)
Top 1: With one out in the inning, Beaver's Rachel Borrell tripled to right field and scored the games first run on a passed ball to give Beaver an early 1-0 lead.
Bottom 1: The Lady Lions offense went to work with the first 8 base runners reaching base to start the bottom half of the inning. Sara Stauffer got the ball rolling with a two RBI double, and sacrifice flies from Brandi Grunza and Leanne Lagowski capped a six run first inning for the Lions.
Bottom 4: After two scoreless innings, Hazleton bats get hot again in the fourth. A single by Kaitlyn Kaluzny and walk to Stauffer put the Lady Lions in scoring position to start the inning. Andrea Quillman drives in both with one swing of the bat, doubling to the outfield gap. Erin Dougherty follows in suit with a double of her own to plate Quillman. Two batters later, Britani Esser pounds the Lady Lions third double of the inning to bring Dougherty home. Later, with runners on second and third, an error in the Beaver infield brings home two more Hazleton runs to put the Lions up 12-1.
Behind the Box Score:
- After allowing a run in the first inning, Stauffer retires 13 consecutive batters, shutting down the Beaver offense. Stauffer picks up her first postseason win, fanning nine batters while adding a hit, two RBI, and two runs scored at the plate to help her own cause.
- Quillman goes three for three at the dish, with two runs scored and two RBI, giving her 70 total runs driven in on the season.
- Kaluzny, Dougherty and Esser produce multi-hit games.
- Seven of nine starters for Hazleton drive in at least one run in the game one victory.
Round 2: Penn State Hazleton 3, Penn State Schuylkill 2
Top 1: Hazleton takes the early lead as Quillman triples to score Stauffer from first base.
Bottom 1: A lead off hit by pitch to Jenna Leffler pays dividends as she advances to third and scores on an RBI single by Stephanie Killian. An errant throw on a pick off attempt by the Lions plates a second run for Schuylkill, giving them the 2-1 advantage.
Bottom 6: After a series of stalemate innings, Schuylkill threatens to expand the lead as they get a pair of base runners aboard to start the inning. A successful sacrifice puts both runners in scoring position and pressure on the Lady Lions defense to limit the Schuylkill attack. Kayla Rhome hits a batter to load the bases, but regains her control on the next two hitters, fanning both to get Hazleton back in the dugout while maintaining the one run deficit.
Top 7: Carrying momentum from the successful defensive stand, Quillman and Dougherty smack back to back triples to knot the score and break an 0-16 skid at the plate for the Lady Lions. With two outs and Dougherty stranded at third, Brandi Grunza slaps a single to right field to bring in the go ahead run, 3-2 in favor of Hazleton.
Bottom 7: Needing three outs for the victory, Rhome retires two batters via the strikeout, and with a runner at first base, Quillman tracks down a pop up in foul ground to seal the victory.
Behind the Box Score:
- Rhome works in and out of trouble, stranding Schuylkill base runners to gain her first playoff victory. Rhome fans eight batters, allowing just one earned run on five hits.
- Cara Brennan stymies Hazleton batters, retiring 16 straight from the first inning through the sixth. Brennan allows three earned runs for Schuylkill on just six hits in the losing effort.
- Quillman's two triples, RBI and run scored leads the Lady Lions offense.
- Brandi Grunza's game winning single extends her hit streak to seven games.
Next Up: PSUAC postseason action continues at Oak Hall Park in Boalsburg, PA as the Lady Lions look to avenge two early season losses to PSU Brandywine. The semi-final winner will advance to the finals on Friday at Beard Field on the University Park Campus. First pitch tomorrow to be announce Thursday morning.