Dunmore, Pa. - A day after dropping a pair of non conference matchups, the Lady Lions bounced back with two wins at Penn State Worthington Scranton, extending their Penn State University Athletic Conference win streak to eight games. Despite amassing 16 hits, Hazleton scored in just two innings in the first game, but another excellent start from sophomore Kayla Rhome (Marysville, Pa.) shut down the Worthington Scranton hitters to win the opening contest 6-0. Runs weren't a problem for the Lady Lions in the second bout as the squad mustered ample scoring support for sophomore Sara Stauffer (Mifflinburg, Pa.), garnering the win in five innings by the score of 12-2.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 6, Penn State Worthington Scranton 0
Freshman Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) and sophomore Britani Esser combined for three RBI in the first inning to get the Lions off to a great start but Hazleton would be held scoreless for the next three innings. Worthington Scranton had scoring opportunities in their second turn at the plate, bunching three singles together to load the bases against Kayla Rhome, but the Hazleton hurler extinguished the rally with one of her nine strikeouts and a caught foul ball to escape the trouble. Rhome kept the home team at bay, giving her offense the chance to extend the lead and in the fifth inning, Hazleton broke through with three consecutive hits, capped by a Sara Stauffer two run blast to give Rhome a six run cushion to finish the game. Rhome and the defense retired nine of the next 11 batters to secure the 6-0 victory.
With runners on first and second base, Sam Varela slaps a double to drive in Stauffer for Hazleton's first score of the game. Two batters later, Esser comes up with a clutch two out single to plate two more runs, giving Hazleton a 3-0 lead before taking the field.
Hazleton leads off the inning with three straight hits to add three runs to their lead. Freshman Noelle Bergerstock (Muncy, Pa.) singles to start the frame and comes around to score on a triple by freshman Moriah Lynn. Stauffer follows with her fourth home run of the year, a two run shot over the left field wall to extend the lead to 6-0.
Kayla Rhome tossed her 11th complete game and fifth shutout of the season, scoring her 12th win in the process. Rhome struck out nine batters and walked none while allowing seven hits to Worthington Scranton hitters.
Stauffer and Esser led the offensive production for the Lions combining for six hits and four of the six runs driven in. Stauffer finished 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBI on the home run while Esser ended the contest a perfect 3-3 with two RBI. Sam Varela also collected three hits, scoring once and driving in the go ahead run in the first inning.
Kaitlin Calogero led Worthington Scranton at the plate, garnering three hits in three at bats.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 12, Penn State Worthington Scranton 2
Lady Lion plate appearances proved much more lucrative in game two as the squad struck for seven first inning scores. Seven of Hazleton's 11 hits came in the first frame with all seven runs coming with two outs. Working with a nice cushion, Sara Stauffer took to the circle for her first action in eight days and the rest paid off. The lefty allowed just one earned run to pick up her first win since April 2. Hazleton hitters notched just four hits in the final four innings, but managed to push across runs in three of the next four frames including a fourth inning lead off home run by freshman Kayla Wirth (Bethlehem, Pa.), her first long ball of the season. Sam Varela added an RBI in the fifth inning as the Lions cruised to a comfortable 12-2 victory in game two.
Worthington Scranton turned a double play just two batters in to erase runners from the bases, but the next eight Lady Lions reached base on six hits and fielding error to plate seven first inning runs. Kayla Rhome drove in two runners with a single and Moriah Lynn registered her second triple of the afternoon to drive in a pair of runners to cap the big inning for Hazleton.
Nicole Davitt singled to lead off the inning and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Kaitlin Calogero followed with an RBI single to cut the Hazleton advantage to six runs.
Hazleton hitters earn three walks to load the bases with two outs. Sam Varela reaches base on an infield error to bring in two Lady Lions, pushing the score to 9-1.
Kayla Wirth leads off the frame with a solo home run over the left field wall. After reaching base on an error, freshman Hailey Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.) comes around to score advancing on two passed balls for the second score of the inning.
A pair of hit batters bookend a fielding error by Hazleton to load the bases with no outs. Stauffer retires the next three hitters, but a wild pitch plates a second Worthington Scranton run.
Sara Stauffer and sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) single to lead off the fifth inning. Sam Varela doubles to bring in Stauffer and put runners at second and third base with no outs. Worthington Scranton pitching escapes another big inning, retiring the next three Hazleton batters, but Hazleton increases its lead to 12-2.
Sara Stauffer earns her fourth win of 2016, tossing four innings of two run softball, allowing one earned run on just three hits, striking out three Worthington Scranton hitters.
Sam Varela collected four RBI and a run scored with a 2-4 performance at the dish. Kayla Wirth scored twice, going 2-4 at the plate with a home run and Moriah Lynn drove in two runners going 1-3 in game two with a triple.
Lauren Hackett led Worthington Scranton going 2-3 while Kaitlin Calogero finished 1-1 with an RBI.
Just two games remain for the Lady Lions in Penn State University Athletic Conference regular season action. All that stands between Hazleton and a potential top seed in the conference tournament is Penn State Beaver, currently ranking third in the standings at 7-3. The Lions will face off with their western foe on Sunday April 24 at 12:00 noon at the Drifton Sports Complex. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as we honor departing players at the squad's final conference home game.