With a pair of power pitchers in the circle, Bald Eagle Area coach Don Lucas knew runs would be hard to come by against Penns Valley and expected mistakes to be the decisive factor Wednesday.
That’s how it played out as Lucas and the Lady Eagles benefited from a pair of miscues in a 2-1 win over the Lady Rams. BEA scored both runs on wild pitches, tying the game in the fourth inning and scoring what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the seventh.
“We want them to work for their runs,” Penns Valley coach Tessa Deardorff said. “They got themselves on base and they took advantage of our errors.”
Madison Ripka and Zoey Surovec combined on a stellar pitching effort for the Lady Eagles (2-1), limiting Penns Valley (1-1) to three hits. Ripka allowed one run and two hits in four innings, and Surovec pitched three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Penns Valley pitcher Harley Hess pitched a complete game in the loss, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out 10 and walking two.
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Lucas, the former Penns Valley coach, worked with Hess during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He said she asked a lot of questions, and he’s seen her improve each year of her career.
Hess put together another strong outing after recording 12 strikeouts in Penns Valley’s season-opening win over Juniata.
The Lady Eagles couldn’t catch up to Hess’ fastball Wednesday.
“We struggled at the plate and they struggled at the plate,” Lucas said. “We were just lucky enough to get a hit there in the seventh inning to score the winning run.”
Bald Eagle Area’s Megan Kresovich led off the seventh inning with a high fly ball that dropped in shallow left field, giving her time to reach second for a double. Kresovich advanced to third on a groundout before scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs.
With Lacee Barnhart at the plate, Kresovich took off on a pitch in the dirt and beat the throw to Hess covering the plate.
Though the Lady Rams fell short, Deardorff was pleased with her pitcher’s performance.
“When she got down, she came back up, and she was able to answer in a lot of different situations,” Deardorff said. “She’s a tough player.”
The Lady Eagles duo was dominant, too.
Lucas said he plans to use multiple pitchers throughout the season, and Surovec and Ripka both turned in quality outings Wednesday.
They take different approaches in the circle, with Surovec utilizing a more effective curveball and Ripka overpowering hitters with her fastball.
“When you change a pitcher, they have to adjust,” Lucas said.
Ripka finished with 10 strikeouts in four innings, and Surovec struck out three and walked one in the final three innings.
Penns Valley managed just three singles against the BEA pitchers, but the Lady Rams turned their first hit into a 1-0 lead with the help of two errors by the Lady Eagles in the second inning.
Lydia Collison led off with a single to left field and raced around to third base after the first error. She then scored on a throwing error with two outs to push the Lady Rams ahead.
But the Lady Eagles tied the game on a wild pitch and capitalized on another to earn the win.
Said Deardorff: “That’s what a good team does.”