Challenging conditions no problem for Hazleton

Madison Clark pulls up at second base after a knocking a double.
Madison Clark pulls up at second base after a knocking a double.

Leesport, Pa. - The Lady Lions battled through the rain on Friday at the Big Vision sports complex and surged late to pick up their eighth win in the PSUAC, an 11-3 win over Penn State Schuylkill. Game two got underway although conditions continued to deteriorate, eventually halting the second end of the double-header after three innings. Play resumed on Saturday afternoon in Drums, Pa. and the Lady Lions took care of business, scoring six runs when the game continued to capture the victory 16-4 in five innings. 

Game One: Penn State Hazleton 11, Penn State Schuylkill 3 - Final/5 Innings

Even though Hazleton registered just one hit in their first two trips to the plate, the Lady Lions came on strong in difficult rainy conditions to route their conference rival. After a three run rally in the third frame, Hazleton stacked up seven runs in the fourth inning, making Schuylkill pay for three walks and one error in the inning. Freshman Madison Clark (Emmaus, Pa.) kicked off the scoring with a two RBI single and after an error yielded the third run of the frame, freshman Cassandra Passamonte (Bushkill, Pa.) bashed a bases loaded home run to blow the game open.

Hazleton tacked on an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning to go up 11-0 over Schuylkill and Clark wiggled her way out of trouble from the circle to close the book on game one. Schuylkill picked up three hits off the freshman hurler in their final at-bat and used two Hazleton errors to cut into the Hazleton cushion, but Clark struck out back to back hitters to end the threat and the game courtesy of the eight run rule after five innings.

Clark was dominant all game, striking out a season high 13 hitters on her way to victory. The freshman allowed two earned runs on five hits while going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored to help her own cause. Passamonte filled up the stat sheet with the grand slam in the fourth inning, although she wasn't the only Lady Lion to go yard in game one. Senior Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) finished 2-for-4 in the win, smashing her 11th bomb of the year, a solo shot in the third inning.

Game Two: Penn State Hazleton 16, Penn State Schuylkill 4 - Final/5 Innings

Hazleton continued to pour on the offense after the intermission scoring in bunches before being called off the field due to the rain. After getting the first three hitters aboard, Clark and freshman Caitlyn Ashelman (Macungie, Pa.) ripped back to back singles to plate four first inning runs. Hazleton gave back two scores in the bottom half of the frame but came right back with another four spot. Once again, Ashelman tacked on some damage with her second two RBI hit in as many innings, the first of three hits and four runs for Hazleton who took a commanding 8-2 lead after two innings. Both squads traded scores in the third inning before play was called on Friday with the Lions leading Schuylkill 10-4.

The Hazleton sticks stayed hot when the game resumed Saturday afternoon. A two out rally with two runners aboard yielded four more runs for the Lady Lions as sophomore Lexi Kessler (Bangor, Pa.), Madison Clark and Ashelman drove in runs to extend the advantage to 10 runs. The Lady Lions tacked on a pair in the fifth inning and that was all she wrote as the Lions claimed the road series over Schuylkill with back to back mercy rule win.

Hazleton out-hit Schuylkill 15-6 in game two led by Ashelman who had a monster outing. The freshman was perfect from the plate with four hits in four plate appearances, driving in a game high six runs with three singles and one double. Kessler and Varela both finished with two hits in the win, scoring four runs each while Clark ended the game 2-for-4 with three RBI. From the circle, Varela settled in nicely after allowing four runs on Friday. Varela allowed just one hit after play resumed, earning the win with six strikeouts from the circle.

Next up: The Lady Lions finished off the road series in Drums and continued Saturday with their home double-header to wrap up regular season conference play.