Brandywine rallies to top Hazleton in regular season finale

Linsey Fisk receives a pitch behind the plate.
Linsey Fisk receives a pitch behind the plate.

Drums, Pa. - Hazleton held leads in both home games on Saturday but in each case, Brandywine rallied to surge past the Lions and capture wins to make it four straight wins over Hazleton. The Nittany Lions hit and pitched well in the two-game set, although nine errors on the day led to comeback wins by scores of 11-4 and 6-3 in favor of Brandywine. 

Game One: Penn State Brandywine 11, Penn State Hazleton 4 (Final, 6 Innings)

A sacrifice fly gave Brandywine a quick 1-0 advantage in game one until Hazleton responded with some early offense of their own. Hazleton collected five hits in the first frame, getting RBI production from junior's Sadie Heiney (Palmerton, Pa.) and McKayla Wildrick (Germansville, Pa.) as well as freshman Rebecca Baum (Stewartstown, Pa.) to tie and move ahead 3-1 over Brandywine who stranded two runners to limit the damage. The solid start wouldn't last long for the Lions as things would unravel in the second inning. Brandywine surged ahead with four hits off junior Cassidy Lentz (Germansville, Pa.) in the top half of the second, compounded by a string of several wild pitches and two walks allowing the visitors to net 5 runs and claim a 6-3 advantage. 

After retiring the side in the bottom of the second inning, Brandywine would chase Lentz from the game in the third inning after a lead off double and a one-out single extended the lead to 7-3 Brandywine. The visitors continued to strike, adding two more runs coming in part thanks to an error in the Hazleton infield and an addition score on a wild pitch. The score would remain 9-3 in favor of Brandywine until the fifth inning when the visitors tacked on three insurance runs in their next two at bats. Brandywine would need just two hits to collect the runs, as things continued to spiral for Hazleton. Freshman Linsey Fisk went on to connect for her fourth home run of the season, but the blast was not enough to spark a comeback for Hazleton who fell via the mercy rule after six innings of play by the final score of 12-4. 

Top Performers: Five Brandywine hitters collected multiple hits in the win including Destiny Brophy and Payton Landis who registered two hits each as well as two RBI and a runs scored their credit. Hazleton was equally productive at the plate with 10 hits in the game but the run production failed to match the Brandywine offense. Senior Mackenzie Joy went 2-for-3 with a run scored as did Fisk who homered in the fifth. Sophomore Jayla Irvin entered the game in the fourth inning and picked up a pair of hits in two trips to the dish to round out the top hitters for the Lions. An off day for Lentz in the circle after a solid outing the previous day. The junior hurler allowed six earned runs on seven hits while walking three batters in just two and one thirds innings pitched to earn the loss. 

Game Two: Penn State Brandywine 6, Penn State Hazleton 3 (Final, 7 Innings)

Hazleton bounced back after the tough loss in game one, but Brandywine rallied in the late innings to steal the victory for Hazleton. A triple by freshman Jess Lepore in the first and a two-RBI double by Linsey Fisk in the third inning would give Hazleton a much needed lift and 3-0 advantage through four innings of play. Hazleton got quality pitching from freshman Rebecca Baum who allowed just three hits during the first four innings of action until trouble began to brew in the fifth inning.

An error and a hit batsman led to difficulties for the Lions in the fifth frame. Brandywine's Rachel Cherubini made Hazleton pay for the mistakes with an RBI single to break up the shut-out although Baum would get the next two hitters out in an attempt to squash the rally. Baum nearly escaped the inning with limited damage, until Payton Landis came up with a big line drive to left field, knotting the score at 3-3. Thiings continued to trend downward defensively in the sixth inning as a free pass and an error would lead to more trouble for Hazleton. Once again, Baum attempted to rescue the frame but Brandywine came up with another two-out hit, this time by Cherubini to plate two and give Brandywine a 5-3 lead. Two errors led to an insurance run for the visitors in the seventh as Hazleton went down in order for their fourth straight loss. 

Top Performers: Cherubini led all hitters in the game going 2-for-4 with three clutch RBI. Fisk and Lepore led the Hazleton run production efforts with both players notching two hits in the contest while Baum finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. From the circle, Baum went the distance with a nice bounce back effort after Friday's loss. Baum allowed no earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in the tough-luck loss. 

Next up: Hazleton ends the regular season with a 15-9 record in conference play. The Lions are a lock for the playoffs and will await the results of the weekend contests to determined where and who the Nittany Lions will face in round one of the post season. Hazleton will look to right the ship with six days off before taking the field in the play-in round next Saturday, May 1.