All during the drudgery of rehabbing her surgically repaired shoulder last summer, all during the bitter winds of winter, one thought kept running through Abby Showers’ mind: Beating Bald Eagle Area in softball.
After losing to the Lady Eagles three times in four games last spring including the District 6 finals and the Western finals, Showers was laser-focused on getting on the field against them again.
Wednesday afternoon the wait ended for Showers and her Phillipsburg-Osceola teammates as they beat BEA 6-1 at the Milesburg Little League complex.
And Showers played a key role, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored.
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“Throughout my recovery from surgery, every day in physical therapy I just kept thinking I had to get better,” she said. “I didn’t want them to beat me a fourth time. They are our Mountain League competition and they’re a great team but when they beat us three times last year it motivated us to work harder to get better each day.
“This is awesome. It’s such a good feeling. It was a competitive game but we took advantage of some situations and hit the ball when we needed to. But it’s early in the season and we’ll get better and they’ll get better.”
The Lady Mounties were clearly the better team in this game, banging out nine hits off BEA starter Sidney Shultz and choking off a BEA rally in the third inning that could have made the game closer than it was. Maggie Peck, P-O’s sophomore righthander, held the Lady Eagles to five hits, two each by Marissa Tobias and Haley Giedroc and pitched out of trouble in the third in fourth innings, stranding runners at second and third.
P-O got on the board first with a run in the second as Showers led off with a double into the right-center gap, moved to third on a single by Chelsey Henry and scored on Jayde Burge’s infield out.
BEA tied it up in the third when Giedroc singled, went to second on an infield out and scored on a double to right by Tobias. Peck got a pair of infield outs to close the inning.
The Lady Mounties exploded for four runs in the fourth to take command of the game and again it was Showers who triggered the outburst, doubling again to open the inning, moving to third and scoring on an error on Henry’s fly to left. Back-to-back singles by Hannah Thompson and Peck and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases before Megan Bainey drilled a double to score two runs and a wild pitch allowed Peck to score the fourth run.
Peck singled to open the seventh, moved up on a pair of infield outs and scored the final run on an error.
When it was over P-O coach Jim Gonder spread the praise around his team.
“Abby needed a game like this to kick start her game,” he said of Showers. “Megan Bainey looked more comfortable in the second spot and she had the hit of the game with that double. I thought our catcher (Kylie Thal) called a great game and Maggie (Peck) pitched a great game. She had a good changeup and she was throwing her drop. It was just a well pitched game.
“But we tried to get across to the girls that this is only April 15 and we have a lot of games to play. But this is obviously a rivalry and it’s tough to downplay it. Win or lose there is a lot of softball left.”
And thanks to a quirk in the schedule, the two teams will meet again Tuesday at P-O. BEA coach Curt Heverly is hoping to get his team back on track by then.
“I’ve been saying that we have not been playing very well,” he said after the game. “We showed that tonight. I thought their pitcher pitched a good game and they were aggressive on the bases And I thought our pitcher did a pretty good job but we just aren’t hitting.”