Hazleton tops Scranton in softball double-header

Rebecca Baum winds up to deliver a pitch.
Rebecca Baum winds up to deliver a pitch.

Drums, Pa. - Hazleton improved their record to 13-5 on Tuesday afternoon, notching a pair of wins against Penn State Scranton. The Lions used a combination of 17 hits and 14 walks throughout the two-game set to win by scores of 13-4 and 8-0 with both games ending in five innings. 

In between games, Hazleton recognized senior Mackenzie Joy (Hazleton, Pa.) who is playing in her final season. Joy finished the 1-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored, adding to her two years worth of totals. For her career, Joy has played in 57 games for Hazleton, notching 48 hits, two home runs and 29 RBI with .375 batting average. Joy will be graduating later this spring with a degree in Business - Marketing and Management. 

Game One: Penn State Scranton 4, Penn State Hazleton 13 (Final, 5 Innings)

A first inning score by Scranton didn't hold up for long as Hazleton posted four runs in the bottom half of the first. Hazleton got the first three runners aboard, then took advantage of two sacrifce flys, an error and wild pitch to claim a 4-1 advantage. Hazleton tacked on a score in their second at bat and despite allowing two runs on three hits to Scranton in the top of the third inning, Hazleton followed up with another four run effort in their next at bat. This time Hazleton led off the frame with back to back doubles by freshman Rebecca Baum (Stewartstown, Pa.) and junior Cassidy Lentz (Germansville, Pa.) to get the offense rolling. Junior McKayla Wildrick (Germansville, Pa.) followed with an RBI single to plate Lentz and the Lions tacked on two more runs via a Scranton error and an RBI ground out by sophomore Sara Lamana (Allentown, Pa.). 

Scranton continued to hit in this one, getting a clutch two-out RBI single in the top of the fourth inning but the Hazleton offense wouldn't let Scranton stay in contention for long. A wild pitch plated a Hazleton base runner in the bottom of the fourth to put the Lions up 10-4 and in the bottom of the fifth, Baum and Lentz combined for two more run producing hits, sealing up the victory via the mercy rule and giving Hazleton a 13-4 win. 

Top Performers: Lentz allowed seven hits on the day as the Hazleton hurler, giving up three earned runs while striking out four batters but it was at the plate where Lentz really shined on Tuesday. The junior went 3-for-3 with three RBI a walk and run scored to lead all hitters in the game. Baum finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and runs scored while Wildrick added a 2-for-3 performance as well to round out Hazleton's top offensive totals. 

Game Two: Penn State Scranton 0, Penn State Hazleton 8 (Final, 5 Innings)

It was mostly smooth sailing in game two for Hazleton despite the offense producing just six hits in the five inning affair. Hazleton got solid pitching from the arm of Rebecca Baum who delivered a complete game shut-out and allowing just five total base runners in the game. The Lions were stymied at the plate to some degree, but posted a five-run second inning to pull away from Scranton. During that frame, Hazleton loaded the bases early in the at bat and picked up ensuing runs thanks to an error in the Scranton infield and a bases loaded hit by pitch. With two on and one out, Baum would cash in Hazleton's final two runs of the inning with a two RBI single to center field, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead after two innings. 

Hazleton would be limited to just three hits in their next two at bats, but a home run by freshman Linsey Fisk (Millville, Pa.) in the third frame and an RBI double by sophomore Jayla Irvin in the fourth put Hazleton over the top in the score column to evoke the mercy rule by the fifth inning. 

Top Performers: Baum's shut out consisted of four hits and no walks while striking out nine in her fifth win of the season. Lentz continued her tear at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a run scored with Fisk finishing 2-for-3 including her second home run of the season. 

Next up: The Lions earn a week off before returning to the field next week for their final two series of the season. Hazleton will square off with Penn State Schuylkill on April 20 when play resumes.