Varela homers twice in wins at Mont Alto

Sky Esterly leads off second base.
Sky Esterly leads off second base.

Mont Alto, Pa. - Senior Sam Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) hit home runs number nine and 10 on the season,on Wednesday afternoon in Mont Alto helping the Lions to a pair of lopped sided wins. Hazleton used to big innings to grab game one by the score of 12-0 and exploded for 19 runs in the second meeting of the teams, picking up the win in three innings. 

Game One: Penn State Hazleton 12, Penn State Mont Alto 0 - Final/4 Innings

Sophomores Lexi Kessler (Bangor, Pa.), Nicolette Kessler (Bangor, Pa.) and freshman McKayla Wildrick (Germansville, Pa.) all picked up RBI singles in the first inning of play, helping Hazleton freshman Madison Clark (Emmaus, Pa.) to a 4-0 cushion before ever taking the field. Clark gave up a lead-off double but shut down the Mont Alto hitters after that. The freshman sat down 12 of the next 13 hitters she faced on her way to her fourth win of the season. 

Hazleton led 5-0 after three innings and really took over in their fourth at-bat. Hazleton sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning scoring seven runs in the process. Sam Varela cashed in runners in two at-bats over the course of the inning including a two-run blast to right field along with a bases loaded double by Wildrick that inflicted the majority of the damage.

Clark sat down the next three hitters to end the game, ending her day with a shut out win. Clark allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five for the Lady Lions. Wildrick and Varela were the big winners in game one. Wildrick finished 2-for-2 with four RBI and a run scored while Varela went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. 

Game Two: Penn State Hazleton 19, Penn State Mont Alto 4 - Final/3 Innings

Hazleton pounced early and put the game out of reach right from the first inning. Ten hits by Hazleton led to an 11 run inning for the Lady Lions including a three run shot by Varela. Overall, seven different Hazleton hitters drove in runners during the extensive inning but the Lady Lions weren't done yet. Hazleton came right back in the next frame to notch seven more runs to finish the job. This time it took just five hits to pile up the scores with multi-RBI knocks from Wildrick, sophomore Mackenzie Joy (Hazleton, Pa.) and freshman Cassidy Lentz (Lehigh Valley, Pa.). Leading 18-1, Hazleton was able to make swift work of Mont Alto despite allowing four runs defensively. 

Lexi Kessler led the hitting barrage with a 3-for-4 effort, driving in one run and score three times in the win. Freshman Jaclyn Hess (Bangor, Pa.) added a 2-for-3 performance with three runs scored while Varela finished 1-for-2 with the three run home run and a pair of walks. Varela picked up her sixth win from the circle in a short outing where she allowed one earned run on one hit and one free pass.

Next up: The Lady Lions enter a crucial series with Penn State Schuylkill over the weekend to wrap up regular season play in the PSUAC. The series kicks off on Friday with a double-header at the Big Vision sports complex on Friday at 2:30 p.m.