Titusville, Fl. - The Lady Lions made their first appearance on the diamond Sunday morning, facing stiff opposition from the defending United States Collegiate Athletic Association champions from St. Mary's of the Woods. Hazleton pitching looked strong, but a trio of errors in game one led to all the Pomeroy scoring and the Lady Lions failed to find the scoring column, losing the season opener by a score of 3-0. The Lions fell behind early in game two, but kept the contest close until a flurry of late runs pushed the game out of reach as Pomeroy pitching scattered six Hazleton hits across seven innings. St. Mary's earned the two game sweep with a victory in game two by a score of 6-0.
Game 1: St. Mary's of the Woods 3, Penn State Hazleton 0
Breanna Lange leads the inning off with a single, but sophomore Kayla Rhome (Marysville, Pa.) works to get the next two hitters out. Back to back errors from the Lady Lion infield push a pair of Pomeroy runs across the plate and St. Mary's takes a 2-0 advantage heading into the third inning.
A third Hazleton error in the infield allows the lead off hitter access to the bases. Rhome induces a pair of groundouts in an attempt to escape trouble, but a single from Emma Riffe scores the third and final run for the St. Mary's offense.
Hazleton threatens with a pair of singles from sophomores Kaitlyn Kaluzny (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) and Britani Esser (Willingboro, Nj.) but Stephanie Richardson induces a game-ending double play to earn the save and a 3-0 victory for St. Mary's.
Sophomore Kayla Rhome returns to form in her 2016 debut. The Hazleton ace allows just four hits to the defending champs, striking out three and allowing three unearned runs in the loss.
Kaluzny and Esser provide Hazleton its only offensive opportunities with both players going 2-3 at the plate with a pair of singles each.
Taylor Andrew pitches four strong innings of two-hit ball for the Pomeroys, striking out six Lady Lions to earn the win. Lange led the St. Mary's attack going 1-2 at the plate with one run scored.
Game 2: St. Mary's of the Woods 6, Penn State Hazleton 0
Freshman Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) got two quick outs to start the inning, but an error and single gave the Pomeroy's a first inning 1-0 advantage.
After an Emma Riffe single, Sarah Burmham doubles to extend St. Mary's lead to 2-0.
Three straight hits puts the Pomeroys up 4-0 in the fifth inning. Marlee Yeager doubles to drive in a pair of runs.
St. Mary's adds two insurance runs with three hits in the final frame. Back to back outs produce the scores on a fielder's choice and sacrifice fly, but the Pomeroys extend the advantage to 6-0 and retire Hazleton in the bottom half of the inning.
Sarah Burnham tossed four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out five for the to earn the decision. Helping her own cause, Burnham went 2-2 at the plate with a pair of RBI.
Emma Riffe went 3-4 at the plate with three runs scored and Marlee Yeager went 2-4 at the dish, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs in the win.
Samantha Varela made her Lady Lion debut in the circle, allowing three earned runs on nine hits in five innings pitched.
Freshman Teddi White (Parsipanny, Nj.) was Hazleton's top hitter in game two with a pair of singles in three trips to the plate.
The Lady Lions meet up with local NCAA Division 3 opponent Delaware Valley University on Monday at 8:00 a.m. as spring softball continues down south.