With a compressed schedule courtesy of several March and April showers, sometimes all that matters in May is getting a win.
Bald Eagle Area’s 4-1 victory at Penns Valley on Thursday wasn’t pretty, but the Lady Eagles survived, and perhaps learned a valuable lesson as the postseason approaches.
“It’s a big confidence booster because Penns Valley was ready,” said BEA coach Kayleen Sidisky. “I think at first we were a little back on our heels, but we came through and refocused and that’s important heading into the playoffs.”
The fired up Lady Rams (6-7), who managed just one hit last time BEA pitcher Megan Dudish was on the mound, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first.
“It’s a game played with a lot of emotion and you get up for an inning,” said Penns Valley coach Don Lucas. “But you have to keep that intensity and play seven complete innings.”
Fueled by the emotion of Senior Day, the Rams played well but just couldn’t make enough game-changing plays.
BEA (9-6), in contrast, behind timely hitting, Dudish on the mound and some nice glove work in the field, earned the victory.
With the scored tied at 1-1 in the third, BEA’s Haley Geidroc turned on an inside fastball and drilled a solo home run over the left-field fence.
It was the sophomore’s first career home run.
“It was just right there and it was my pitch so I just swung pretty hard,” Geidroc said. “When I step up to the plate, I have the mentality that I’m going to hit the ball and even if I don’t, I’m going to attack next time.”
When asked about Geidroc, who went 2-for-4, an ear-to-ear grin came over Sidisky’s face.
“Geidroc is a great kid,” Sidisky said. “She’s fun to be around and likes to have fun. Over the past few games, she’s really focused in on the little things.”
However, one concern for the third-year coach was her team’s collective lack of attention to details.
There was a blooper down the left field line that, with hustle, could have been turned into a double. Then, a base that effort could have stolen, but instead turned into a rare 2-6-4 caught stealing for a critical second out.
Those are plays that Sidisky hopes will be cleaned up by playoff time.
“I think some of the girls need to get better at focusing and playing their hardest all the time,” Sidisky said. “We’re about half way there. Over the next week that’s our goal as we get ready for the playoffs.”
Penns Valley, who plays in a Williamsport Tournament on Saturday, didn’t make it easy.
Lady Ram Courtney Ironside (2-for-3) led off the sixth with a sinking line drive that dropped just in front of a diving Makennah Dyke in right field.
It wasn’t that the Rams couldn’t get to Dudish. It was more that their hardest hit balls seemed to always be within arm’s reach.
With Ironside on first, Kylee Wasson attempted a sacrifice bunt. Wasson’s attempt popped quickly into the air just long enough for catcher Morgan Nyman to sprawl for the catch.
Nyman’s acrobatics came an inning after she was unable to grab a pop fly in the fifth.
Senior Morgan Royer (1-for-3) came up next and nailed a liner back up the box that trickled off Dudish’s glove. A hard-charging Allison Simpson scooped the ball from second and fired to first in time to nab Royer.
Dudish finally foiled Ironside’s lead off single when she battled back in the count against Nicole Harbaugh and finally painted the inside corner for a called third strike.
“Megan has thrown two games this week coming into today,” Sidisky said. “She battled and when she needed to get a big strike out she got it.”
Lucas, in his 13th season with the Lady Rams, was proud of his team’s effort.
“We just keep getting better,” he said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of them.”
“I have most of these girls back, but we lose three great seniors. It’s hard to replace a group that we’ve had for four years.”
Senior Maggie Lynch (6-7) has all six Penns Valley wins this season. She was in control against BEA until the Eagles put up two insurance runs in the seventh. Fellow senior Madisyn Sharer (0-for-3) hit a few Dudish offerings hard but right at fielders.
In contrast, BEA, who plays at Tyrone on Monday, found gaps.
Geidroc sparked the two-run seventh with a slap single down the right field line. Then Marissa Tobias (1-for-2, RBI) singled home Simpson, who was hit by a pitch. Logan Fischer (2-for-4, two RBIs) then drove home Geidroc with another single.
“That last inning we really did focus and zeroed in on what needed to be done,” Sidisky said. “Those insurance runs were really important. It gives me confidence knowing that we can be down and still win and when we need to turn up the intensity.”