Lady Lions drop double-header at Penn College

Sky Esterly swings at a pitch.
Sky Esterly swings at a pitch.

Williamsport, Pa. - The Lady Lions were back competing in non-conference play on Monday night, taking on the Wildcats of Penn College at Elm Park in the shadows of historic Bowman Field. Hazleton grabbed leads in both ends of the evening double-header but the Wildcat offense rallied in both cases to end each game ahead of schedule and sweep the Lions. Hazleton fell in game one by the score of 14-6 while dropping the second end by the score of 12-3 with both games ending in six innings. 

Game One: Penn State Hazleton 6, Penn College of Technology 14 - Final/6 Innings

Penn College struck first with a four hit, three run at-bat in the first inning leaving the Lions trailing until Hazleton responded two innings later. In the top half of the third frame, a lead off walk paved the way for Hazleton to have a big inning. Senior Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) drove in the Lions first scored with a triple and freshman Madison Clark (Emmaus, Pa.) picked up Varela with a single of her own, cutting into the deficit to leave Hazleton trailing Penn College 3-2. The Lady Lions would get two more runners aboard and with two outs in the stanza, freshman Caitlyn Ashelman (Macungie, Pa.) and Lexi Kessler (Bangor, Pa.) slapped back to back singles to put Hazleton on top 4-3.

Hazleton would fail to hang on to the slim lead as they took the field in the bottom of the third frame and over the next several innings, the Wildcats pulled away for a convincing win. In their fourth, fifth and sixth at-bats, the Wildcats converted 10 hits and five Lady Lion errors into 10 runs to evoke the mercy rule after six innings. Hazleton managed single scores in the fifth and sixth frames coming on base knocks by freshman Mckenzie Joy (Hazleton, Pa.) and junior Jerrika Chorba (Bloomsburg, Pa.) but the Wildcat onslaught proved too much to combat. 

Madison Clark led all hitters for Hazleton with a 3-for-4 effort from the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Three other Lady Lions picked up double-figure hit totals in the contest including Chorba, Varela and freshman Cassandra Passamonte (Bushkill, Pa.) while Varela was hit with the loss from the circle, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits by the Wildcats.

Game Two: Penn State Hazleton 3, Penn College of Technology 12 - Final/6 Innings

After zeros across the board for both squads in the first two innings, Hazleton broke onto the board first. The Lions took advantage of two Wildcat errors in the third frame, leaving the bases loaded for Varela who drove in the game's first score with a sacrifice fly.

In almost identical fashion as the first contest of the night, Penn College went on to dominate the later innings. The Wildcats matched Hazleton's score in their next at bat and tacked on four scores in their fourth plate appearance. Hazleton managed a pair of scores in the fifth inning off a Varela double which cut the score to 5-3 in favor of Penn College although the Wildcats shut the door for good in their next two at-bats, knocking seven hits for seven scores. A three-run inside the park home run by the Wildcats walked off the Hazleton squad in the bottom of the sixth, ending the contest at 12-3 in favor of Penn College.

Hazleton manage seven hits in the final game of the night, four of which came off the bats of freshman Sky Esterly (Nazareth, Pa.) and Madison Clark. Varela managed just one hit in three at-bats but drove in all three of the Lions' scores in game two. Clark tossed a solid game for Hazleton as the game two starter, allowing just three earned runs, but twelve hits and four errors by the Hazleton defense aided the Wildcat cause. 

Next up: Hazleton is back in action Tuesday afternoon finishing up the Penn State University Athletic Conference series with Penn State Scranton. Tuesday's double-header slated for a 3:00 p.m. start.