BELLEFONTE — Five days after a complete-game, one-hit, 13-strikeout masterpiece against Penns Valley, Bald Eagle Area’s Megan Dudish got off to a slow start against rival Bellefonte.
The Lady Raiders jumped on the nervous senior for three runs in the first inning, including a well-placed bunt just under her glove that scored two runs.
However, Dudish wouldn’t be rattled for long. She finished with 13 strikeouts and allowed just five hits en route to a 10-4 BEA victory.
“Yeah, I got a little nervous,” Dudish said after the game. “Just all the people and all the reporters and everything just got to me. But I was good after I calmed down a little bit.”
She also helped her own cause by going 3 for 3 at the plate and knocking in two runs.
When she settled down on the mound, her teammates heated up at the plate.
BEA (3-2) trailed 3-2 after two innings, but broke the game open with three runs in the third and four more in the fourth.
After the slow start, BEA head coach Kayleen Sidisky knew the right buttons to push. She’s not above bribery.
“You have to stay positive with them,” Sidisky said. “They’re real squirrelly. I bribed them with sticky buns if they scored 10 runs.”
Dudish knocked in the 10th run with an RBI single in the fifth.
“So, we keep it light, we keep it fun, because they are squirrelly,” Sidisky continued with a smile. “They just want to have fun. They just want to be goofy and if you get down on them they shut down. So I just try to stay positive no matter how mad I might be.”
The players rewarded their coach’s upbeat outlook by spraying hits all over the field.
Marissa Tobias (2 for 5) ripped a single in the first and rapped a double up the hill in right field in the fifth, eventually scoring the sticky-bun clinching run. Makennah Dyke went 3 for 5 with a single and two doubles and a game-high three RBIs. Allison Simpson (2 for 5) peppered two singles and also scored a run.
In all, eight Lady Eagles earned hits.
“Confidence in practice,” Sidisky said of her team’s performance at the plate. “They see one of the best pitchers in the county (Dudish) every day. So they should be confident. Some of them took awhile to realize they could do it and today they should feel good about themselves.”
On the other side, the Lady Raiders (3-3) started quickly but petered just as fast.
Vanessa Cooper started the team’s three-run first inning with a line drive to center field that went for a triple. She scored two batters later off a Jess McClenahan single that scored two runs.
However, the offensive surge dried quickly. Only the top four Lady Raiders in the lineup got hits. Cooper, Erica DeVinney (two walks), Carly Chambers (RBI) and McClenahan each tallied one hit apiece.
Bellefonte will travel to Tyrone on Thursday.
For BEA the turnaround is much quicker. The Lady Eagles host Philipsburg-Osceola (3-0) on Tuesday.
“We have P-O tomorrow,” said Sidisky. “And everybody knows they’re great. They’re the top dog. The team to beat. So (we have) a lot of confidence heading into that one.”
For Sidisky, a former player at Bellefonte, the Bellefonte-Bald Eagle Area rivalry has special meaning.
“It’s a nerve-racking game, but it’s also a special game because I have a lot of good memories here and a lot of people come out and support us,” Sidisky said. “ But I try to focus on the kids and let the kids have fun and let them know what it’s like to play in big games.”