Curt Heverly was trying to come up with someone with whom to compare Haley Giedroc, his outstanding senior shortstop.
Switching sports and genders, he reached way back into the Bald Eagle Area history books and came up with a name: Mike Condo, who was an all-state and Big 33 halfback on the unbeaten 1963 football team. To this day Condo is the one all other BEA football players are measured against.
“He was above everyone else,” said Heverly, who was in junior high when Condo was a senior. “Haley’s like that. She is one of the best Bald Eagle has ever had. She’s amazing.”
She definitely played an integral role in BEA’s 5-1 softball win over arch-rival Bellefonte at Sparky O’Leary Field on Monday.
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Three times she came up with clutch plays that kept Bellefonte off the scoreboard, twice throwing out a runner at the plate, and also making a diving catch of a ground ball headed up the middle and flipping it to second baseman Mikayla Smith for an inning-ending force out when Bellefonte had two runners on.
“On the first one (play at the plate) I had to check the runner at first and then throw home to try to get the runner,” she said. “We had the lead so I figured I might as well go for it. The second one was a slow grounder and I knew I had to charge the ball and make the throw. On the grounder, that came at a time when it was crucial that they didn’t score. We needed to get that out to keep them from rallying. And I just fed it to my second baseman (Smith). I knew that she would be there for me. I was just trying to help my team.”
“On that first play at home,” Heverly added, “it was like when a point guard comes down the court and shoots a 3-point shot and you’re yelling ‘No, no, no.’ Then he makes it and you’re going ‘great shot.’ She knew she could get that runner or she wouldn’t have thrown it. She’s tough.”
Or, as Lady Raider coach Fred Caldwell put it, “Giedroc is fantastic. She was just outstanding. You have to tip your hat to her.”
For four innings BEA kept applying pressure to the Lady Raiders and starter Tara Baney, stranding runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings before finally breaking through in the fifth.
Dallis Dillon got the rally started with a leadoff double down the left-field line. She moved to third on Giedroc’s grounder and scored on a wild pitch. Smith then drew a walk, took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Logan Fischer’s infield out to make it 2-0.
Bellefonte threatened against Sidney Shultz in the bottom of the inning when Ang Capparelle drew a walk, stole second and went to third on an error. Capparelle tried to go home on Jessica Fishburn’s grounder to short, but Giedroc threw her out at the plate. Jenna Ault followed with a grounder that seemed headed into center before Giedroc dove for it and flipped to Smith covering the base for the final out.
“Any time she (Giedroc) can get to the ball I’m confident she can make the play,” said Shultz, who allowed six hits, walked two and struck out two. “I’m always confident in my defense. I know I just have to throw strikes and they have my back every time.”
The Bellefonte defense finally cracked in the seventh as BEA added three runs on consecutive singles by Fischer, Tobias and Morgan Nyman, plus an error and a wild pitch.
Bellefonte scored in the seventh. Capparelle led off the inning with a triple to right-center, but Giedroc threw her out at the plate on a fielder’s choice. The Raiders then loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk for one run. But Shultz struck out Sarah Menna with the bases loaded to end the game.
“We got some clutch hitting in the last inning and that is something we hadn’t done for five innings,” Heverly said. “Toward the end we did what we think we can do and put the game out of reach. I thought Sidney pitched a heck of a game. She just needed to throw strikes and let our defense do its job. If our pitching stays like that and we start hitting, we’ll be all right.”
Baney matched Shultz with a six-hitter, two walks and five strikeouts.
“She did a great job,” said Caldwell said of Bainey. “She hit her spots and didn’t get rattled out there. I was going to pull her but I wanted to see how far she could go and she did great.
“But BEA did a great job base running. They are aggressive, which is the way they have always been. We expected that.”