It only took 45 minutes to determine the outcome of Tuesday’s softball game between Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola. The rest of the time was spent deciding the final score.
The Lady Mounties opened their season with a 10-run barrage in the first inning that shell-shocked the Lady Raiders and left them in a crater they could never escape, as they fell 18-6 in six innings. The P-O bombardment lasted 45 minutes and included eight hits, five of them for extra bases.
“We thought this would be a tight game, maybe 3-2, 2-1, something like that,” said Bellefonte coach Greg Kohlhepp. “We didn’t think we’d be behind 10-0 after 45 minutes and we hadn’t even picked up a bat yet. That was a long 45 minutes. We were playing back on our heels and it was pretty much across the board. And P-O is a team that’s ready to go from the first pitch to the last out. They certainly brought it today.”
Every Lady Mountie in the lineup scored in the first inning as P-O sent 16 batters to the plate. Haley Frank, who finished the day with four hits — three doubles and a triple —started the game with a double to left and the rout was on. McKenzie Burge had two hits in the inning while Maggie Peck, Morgan Williamson and Abby Showers had doubles and Haylee Hayward had a triple against starter Rachael Bernier.
P-O added a pair of runs in the second as Frank doubles, Hayward walked and Burge drove both of them in to make it 12-0.
“Offensively, we obviously came out swinging,” said P-O coach Jim Gonder. “We ran the bases well and took advantage of some situations. We have a pretty good lineup. The girls at the bottom of the order are good hitters. We should be able to score runs this year.”
Bellefonte changed pitchers in the third inning, replacing Bernier with Tara Bainey, who held the P-O bats down for two innings before the Lady Mounties erupted for three runs in the fifth thanks to singles by Peck and Tiffani Wagner, a walk and a fielder’s choice.
Gonder also relieved starter Chelsa Henry with Morgan Williamson to start the fourth, and Bellefonte got to her for a solo run in the fourth and scored four runs in the fifth as Bainey tripled Angela Capparella singled, and Williamson issued a pair of walks around an P-O error.
That delayed the 10-run rule from going into effect for another inning but in the sixth the P-O bats erupted again as Frank opened the inning with her third double, Hayward tripled her home and a pair of Bellefonte errors allowed two more runs to score.
Gonder said he was pleased overall but spent some time talking with his pitchers after the game.
“We challenged them to work harder and get better,” he said. “They know they are the girls now. In the past they got in games in relief but their in the spotlight now so it’s a matter of who can go out there and perform. I’m not displeased with them. But they know the history of the program, what it’s been like and I think maybe they felt the pressure of that. That’s not a bad thing.”