Madison Ripka had no idea she was going to get the ball against Penns Valley on Thursday afternoon. Her coach did but he wasn’t talking.
“I didn’t know until right before we started to take infield,” Ripka said. “That’s when he (Bald Eagle Area coach Curt Heverly) came over and told me. I was really nervous but after a couple of innings I was all right. But I am upset with how many walks I gave up.’’
Heverly was all right with the performance he got from the sophomore righthander in her varsity debut.
“I knew I was going to start her about the fifth inning of the game with (Philipsburg-Osceola on Wednesday). She did a good job,” he said. “She walked too many and she hit a batter but we wanted to give her a good workout — she had been hurt — and we were able to do that.”
Ripka finished the day with a two-hitter, walking five and striking out three.
Her teammates helped her by staking her to a 3-0 lead before she ever got into the circle.
Haley Giedroc opened the game by reaching third when her flyball to right was misplayed. Moreta Dyke drove her home with an infield out, Marissa Tobias followed with a double, Logan Fischer had an RBI-groundout and Morgan Nyman singled Tobias home with the third run.
In the second inning, BEA tacked on two more runs as Olivia Andrews walked, took second on a single by Giedroc and they both scored on Dyke’s single.
BEA’s last run came in the third when Morgan Proctor’s fly to right was misplayed, putting her on third, and Fischer drove her in with a fly to center.
“We had been catching everything out there,” Lady Ram coach Don Lucas said. “Tonight we just let some things get through. You just can’t make mistakes against a team like Bald Eagle. If we had played solid defense like we did against Clearfield (on Tuesday) this could easily have been a 2-1 or 3-1 game but tonight we just didn’t quite get the job done. And I thought their pitcher did really well.
“But I saw some good signs today. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Our pitcher (Harley Hess) pitched a good game. We just have to give her some support.”
Penns Valley nicked Ripka for a run n the third when Mikenna Lyons tripled and scored on Cassidy Stover’s groundout.
In addition to starting Ripka, Heverly made a couple of other lineup switches, starting Dyke at second, moving second baseman Mikala Smith to center field and inserting freshman Megan Kresovich in right field in an effort to shore up his defense.
“I thought we played better defense today,” he said. “but our defense is still not where we want it to be. It will probably be tweaked again until we start hitting and we have our best defense on the field. I think our pitching has been above average but I’m not happy with how we’re hitting. But one good thing today was that we were able to get every girl we brought over here into the game.
“This was our fourth game this week and if we can manage to beat Hollidaysburg (on Friday) we’ll go 4-1 for the week and I’ll be happy with that.”