Late rally falls short as Hazleton splits with Schuylkill

Varela runs to first base.
Varela runs to first base.

Drifton, Pa. - In a battle for second place, the Lady Lions picked up a split with Penn State Schuylkill on Monday night to carry the season series, three games to one and hold on to the second seed in the Penn State University Athletic Conference's eastern division. Hazleton overcame a two run, first inning deficit and held off Schuylkill down the stretch to pick up game one by the score of 8-5. The Lady Lions fell behind once more in game two of the evening and trailed Schuylkill from the second inning until their final at bat. Miraculously, Hazleton rallied for three scores in the final frame, but Hazleton failed to push across the winning run. Schuylkill rebounded for a pair of scores in the extra inning, and stymied the Lady Lions in the bottom half to take game two by the final score of 12-10.

Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 8, Penn State Schuylkill 5

Top Performers

Four Lady Lions collected multiple hits in game one, but none more impressive than freshman Jerrika Chorba's (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 2-for-3 effort. The shortstop scored twice and drove in a pair of runs, one coming on a solo shot in the first inning. Chorba's efforts would account for half of the Hazleton scoring.

Sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) picked up just one hit in the game but served up her fifth home run of the season, a three run blast that boosted the Lady Lions to their first lead of the game in the third inning. Michael would add her fourth RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to help Hazleton edge their local rival.

Sophomore Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) picked up her sixth win of the season, throwing seven innings of five run softball. The sophomore allowed 10 hits and five walks, but struck out six in the winning performance.

Schuylkill was led by Steph Killian who tripled in the first inning to help build a two run lead out of the gates. Killian would tag a second triple in the fourth inning and finish the game 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI.

Moments that Mattered

Lcukenbill limited by Varela the Defense

Hazleton pitches around Luckenbill to hold the slugger to an 0-for-1 outing, a strategy that paid off thanks to Varela and company stranding nine Schuylkill base runners.

Hazleton's Offensive Answers

After allowing two runs to Schuylkill in the top half of the sixth frame, Hazleton responds with a pair of hits and a hit by pitch to Varela to load the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning. The Lady Lions take advantage of two Schuylkill errors accompanied by Michael's sacrifice fly to put the game out of reach.

Game 2: Penn State Schuylkill 12, Penn State Hazleton 10 (Final, 8 Innings)

Top Performers

Chorba continued her fine performance at the plate, setting the pace for Hazleton out of the lead off spot with with three singles and three runs scored.

Vanessa Michael and freshman Erin Schmick (Macungie, Pa.) both tally three RBI to lead the offense while freshman Sarah Coolbagh finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Four Schuylkill hitters pick up multiple RBI's in game two including Luckenbill, McKenna Rushannon, Haley Wolfe and Dominique Grasso. 

Hurler Cara Brennan survives seven Schuylkill errors to earn the win. Brennan tosses all eight innings in game two, allowing 10 runs (six earned) on 12 hits and five walks, but strands 15 Hazleton base runners.

Moments that Mattered

Teams Trade Shots Early

Schuylkill racked up seven of their 12 total hits in the first two innings of play to notch eight early runs. Hazleton responds in kind with six knocks and six scores of their own, but trails 8-6 after two innings of play.

Missed Opportunities

The Lady Lions leave runners stranded in scoring position in each of their first five at-bats. After a brilliant three-run comeback in the seventh inning to knot the score at 10-10, Hazleton would exit the frame leaving runners at second and third base. Needing two scores to tie in extra innings, the Lady Lions would load the bases with no outs recorded, but Brennan navigated her way around the order to retire the next three Lady Lions and strand three more runners to end the game.

Next Up

Hazleton is back on the field Tuesday night for a rescheduled affair with Penn State Worthington Scranton. First pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at the Drifton Softball Complex.