Lions capture two wins at Scranton

Mackenzie Joy and Coach Tomb celebrate a hit.
Mackenzie Joy and Coach Tomb celebrate a hit.

Dunmore, Pa. - Hazleton picked up a pair wins on Tuesday evening, topping Penn State Scranton to move their record to 8-2 on the season. Hazleton combined for 25 hits in the two-game set while getting quality performances in the circle from freshman Rebecca Baum (Stewartstown, Pa.) and senior Mackenzie Joy (Hazleton, Pa.) to take home the sweep by scores of 19-0 and 11-1. 

Game One: Penn State Hazleton 19, Penn State Scranton 0 (Final, 5 Innings)

The Lions jumped ahead early in this one, tallying nine first inning scores before taking the field. Hazleton was aided by four free passes, and several misplayed balls in the opening frame to quickly go up 6-0 before capping the inning with an RBI groundout by junior Sky Esterly (Nazareth, Pa.) and RBI hits by Baum and Joy to extend the lead to 9-0. 

Junior McKayla Wildrick (Germansville, Pa.) added a 2-RBI single in the second frame, while Joy and Baum repeated their earlier feat with back to back RBI hits in the fourth frame which gave Hazleton a healthy 13-0 cushion. With the game nearly sewed up, Hazleton struck one last time in the top half of the fifth, netting six additional scores on just two hits, the last of which came on a solo home run to left field by freshman Linsey Fisk (Millville, Pa), her first blast of the season. 

While the Lions were busy piling up runs offensive, Baum was dealing in the circle. The freshman hurler struck out the first eight batters she faced in the game and fanned seven more to finish off the game, recording every out of the ball game via the strikeout. Baum surrendered just one hit in game one, a third inning double to Scranton's Lucy Adams followed by a walk in the fifth inning accounting for her only blemishes in the 19-0 win. 

Top Performers:

Five Nittany Lions registered two or more hits in the ball game, while all nine in the roster crossed home plate on at least one occasion. Hazleton was led by Rebecca Baum who went 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, followed by Mackenzie Joy's 2-for-4, three RBI effort. Juniors Sadie Heiney (Palmerton, Pa.) and Cassidy Lentz (Germansville, Pa.) tallied three hits each in the win, while Fisk added a 2-for-4 performance that included the fifth inning blast.

Game Two: Penn State Hazleton 11, Penn State Scranton 1 (Final, 5 Innings) 

The Lions would not get the same hot start in game two, ultimately being blanked in the first frame after Scranton managed to strand a pair of Hazleton base runners. Scranton proceeded to take the lead in the bottom half of the first, getting back to back hits including an RBI double to right field by Kathryn Lahey before Hazleton's Mackenzie Joy maneuvered her way out of trouble to retire the side. 

Scranton got two quick outs in the top half of the second inning but Hazleton worked a pair of walks to extend the frame, allowing Sky Esterly an opportunity to cash in the tying run with a two-out single. Hazleton tacked on the go-ahead run in their third at bat with a steal of home but it would be in the fourth and fifth innings when Hazleton would put this one away.

The Lions took advantage of four free passes in the fourth inning, adding an RBI single by Joy to push across five runs on just two hits and secure a 7-1 advantage after four innings. In their next and final at bat, the Lions struck for four insurance scores to evoke the mercy rule. A lead off single by Baum swiftly turned into a 9-1 advantage when Esterly laced a fly ball over the Scranton center fielder, burning around the diamond for an inside the park home run. A pair of Scranton miscues and an RBI single by sophomore Jayla Irvin capped Hazleton's final big inning of the day resulting in the final score of 11-1. 

Top Performers

Mackenzie Joy settled into the circle after the first inning hiccup to shut down the Scranton hitters in the final four innings. Joy and defensive unit would strand six base runners over that final stretch to preserve a clean sheet the rest of the way. Joy finished the game with one run allowed on five hits and three walks while striking out two hitters in the victory. 

Esterly ended game two with two hits in three trips to the plate, totaling three RBI and two runs scored to lead the offense. Joy, Heiney and Irvin all turned in 2-for-3 efforts at the plate to round out Hazleton top hitters in game two. 

Next up: Hazleton continues a busy week in the Penn State University Athletic Conference with a pair of games on Wednesday at Penn State Brandywine. First pitch of the double-header is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at the Maple Zone Sports Complex.