Drums, Pa. - Playing in their third double-header in four days, Hazleton played host to Penn State DuBois on Friday, battling for the top spot in the Penn State University Athletic Conference's eastern division. Hazleton got another stellar start from junior Cassidy Lentz (Germansville, Pa.) to claim the first end of the double-header 5-2, but DuBois bounced back in the second game, notching 12 hits to top the Lions 10-1 and salvage a split on the day.
Game One: Penn State DuBois 2, Penn State Hazleton 5 (Final, 7 Innings)
Freshman Jess Lepore (Telford, Pa.) gave Hazleton an early scoring opportunity leading off the bottom of the first inning with a base knock to right field. Lepore went on to swipe second base and after she advanced to third on a ground out, Lepore darted home for the game's first score on a wild pitch. Lentz ran into trouble in the third and fourth innings as DuBois would take the lead midway through the action. Lentz allowed two runners to reach on base on balls and Hazleton committed a pair of errors over the two inning stretch but the Lions managed to limit DuBois to single runs in each of the frames.
DuBois held the 2-1 advantage heading into the fifth inning until the Hazleton bats came through in clutch situations. Hazleton loaded the bases with one away in the bottom half of the fifth and tied the ball game on passed ball. With runners at second and third base, freshman Linsey Fisk (MIllville, Pa.) lined a double in the left gap, cashing in junior Sky Esterly (Nazareth, Pa.) and senior Mackenzie Joy (Hazleton, Pa.) to vault Hazleton back into the lead with a 4-2 cushion. The Lions tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th on an Esterly RBI single while Lentz and defense retired the side in order to capture the first game of the home stand 5-2.
Hazleton produced 10 hits in game one, led by sophomore Jayla Irvin who went 3-for-3 with a run scored. Jess Lepore and Mackenzie Joy garnered multi-hit performances going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in Lepore's stat line while Joy finished 2-for-3 with a run to her credit. In the circle, Lentz proved tough to square up, notching her fourth straight win. Lentz allowed just three hits in the winning effort, allowing just one earned run on two walks with a strike out.
Game Two: Penn State Dubois 10, Penn State Hazleton 1 (Final, 5 Innings)
Unfortunately for the Lions, DuBois would turn the tables on Hazleton in game two. After two quick outs in the top of the first, DuBois struck for two hits and took advantage of fly ball error to leap ahead two scores to none. The visitors continued their offensive tear in their second at bat in similar fashion. Once again Hazleton got the first two hitters out but DuBois struck for six straight hits to rack up five scores. Capping the onslaught was DuBois' hitter Skylar Ceprish, bashing a two-run home run to left center field that put her squad up 7-0. Hazleton managed to trim the lead to six runs after a productive ground ball out by junior Sadie Heiney (Palmerton, Pa.) but that run would prove to be Hazleton's only offense in the game.
DuBois tacked on three more scores in the fourth and fifth frames but the pitching from Brooke Harvey kept the Lions from building any momentum. Harvey held Hazleton to just three hits in the shortened game while DuBois came up big with nine two-outs to tally 10 runs and end the game in five innings.
The top half of the DuBois batting order accounted for 11 of the 12 hits in game two. Maliah Schreck led all hitters in the contest going 3-for-3 with three RBI. Aspen Bishop added three hits of her own with an RBI and three runs scored while Cierra O'Shell went 2-for-4 with two runs driven in. Harvey posted zeros on the board in all but one of her five innings of work, allowing one earned run on three hits and three walks while striking out four Hazleton batters.
Sophomore Sara Lamana (Allentown, Pa.), Mackenzie Joy and freshman Rebecca Baum (Stewartstown, Pa.) combined for Hazleton's only hits in the game. Baum scored Hazleton's lone run, but it was an off day for the freshman hurler who started game two for the Lions. Baum found herself the subject of DuBois' two-out hit barrage, surrendering 7 runs on eight hits, all of which came with two outs.
Next up: Hazleton will look to bounce back as they wrap up a busy week of softball action. Hazleton will travel to DuBois on Saturday for the two teams' final series of the regular season. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Heindl Memorial Field in DuBois, Pa.