Lady Lions start Florida road trip 0-2

Kiana Lukoskie slides into home plate.
Kiana Lukoskie slides into home plate.

Titusville, Fl. - Penn State Hazleton kicked off the 2018 softball season on Sunday with a pair of games in the sunshine state. The Lady Lions battled four-time United States Collegiate Athletic Association champion, St. Mary of the Woods to a stalemate through five and a half innings, but in the bottom half of the sixth frame, the Pomeroys surged ahead with a pair of runs to top Hazleton 2-0. Later in the day, Hazleton would square off with Shawnee State where a slew of miscues led to a lopsided win for the Bears who topped the Lady Lions 6-1. 

Game 1: St. Mary of the Woods 2, Penn State Hazleton 0

Moments that mattered

Hazleton leaves five stranded

The Lady Lions offered up two quality scoring chances in the game, notching four of their five hits in the second and fourth innings of the game. Hazleton mounted a two out rally in the top half of the second frame, getting back to back hits from sophomore Kiana Lukoskie (Trevorton, Pa.) and Kylee Sutton (Easton, Pa.) but Lukoskie was thrown out at the plate by the Pomeroy second baseman after a fielding error threatened to extend the inning. Later in the fourth, singles by freshman Dana McCulloch and Sutton would lead to a bases loaded situation for Hazleton, however the Pomeroy right fielder snagged a line drive off the bat of freshman Torie Naradko, ending the threat and keeping the game square at 0-0.

Pomeroys strike late

Hazleton junior Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) stymied the defending USCAA champions for five innings but ran into trouble in the bottom half of the sixth. St. Mary of the Woods would start off the frame with back to back base runners before Taylor Andrew broke the stalemate with a double to center field. Two batters later, Malerie Higginbotham would tack on an insurance score, singling to left field to put the Pomeroys up by the eventual final score of 2-0. 

Top Performers

Kylee Sutton reached base in all three of her plate appearances, notching three singles to pace the Hazleton bats while Sam Varela pitched solid in her season debut. The junior gave up just two runs on eight hits and struck out three in the losing effort. 

St. Mary of the Woods was led by Taylor Andrew who offered up a fine performance in the circle and the batters box. Andrew went 2-3 at the dish with the go ahead RBI while earning the shut-out win with six strike outs from the rubber. 

Game 2: Shawnee State 6, Penn State Hazleton 1

Moments that mattered

Miscues plague the Lady Lions

Following a flawless defensive effort in game one, Hazleton struggled to produce outs in their second outing of the day. Hazleton committed seven errors in the evening matchup including a pair of costly two out miscues leading to a total of five unearned runs by the Shawnee Bears. 

Kayla Koch punishes Hazleton

The Shawnee ace kicked off the scoring with a solo blast to left field in the top half of the second inning and took that momentum with her to the circle to mow down the Lady Lion bats. Koch took a no-hitter into the final inning of play before surrendering a late score but quickly righted the ship to pick up the win.

Top Performers

Sophomore Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) broke up Koch's no hit bid with a single to right field to lead off the seventh inning and tally Hazleton's lone score on an RBI single by freshman Lexi Kenny (Lehighton, Pa.). Freshman Danielle King and sophomore Mary Kate Penczkowski pitched solid in defeat allowing just one earned run combined on nine total hits for Shawnee. 

Stacy Trenholm led the Bears with two hits in four at bats, notching a pair of RBI and two runs scored to lead the Shawnee offense. Kayla Koch ended the game with five strike outs, allowing just one earned run on two hits to pick up the victory for Bears, adding a 2-4 effort at the plate with the go ahead home run in the second inning. 

Next Up

With a pair of games on the slate for Monday, the Lady Lions will look to bounce back after an up and down day to start off the season. Hazleton will take on the Ravens of Benedictine College tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. before a rematch with Shawnee State University at 11:00 a.m. at Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville, Fl.