HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Line Mountain defeats Greenwood
MANDATA - May might be Line Mountain's month.
Just one day in and the Eagles are 1-0 with eyes cast toward more, including what might just be a run into the playoffs.
Line Mountain is currently 6-7 after its 11-5 Tri-Valley League victory over Greenwood Wednesday at home, but what really gives the Eagles optimism is their overall success in league play.
"We've been telling them that the number in the loss column has to stay the same, and the number in the win column needs to keep increasing," Line Mountain head coach Jordan Taraschuk said. "In league play, they've been doing that. We only have two losses in the league."
As slowly as the Eagles' season started, to be within four games of a playoff berth is an accomplishment for the team.
That, given their remaining schedule and the way Line Mountain is playing of late, four wins is a very real possibility.
The Eagles have two games against Millersburg, and league games with Newport, East Juniata and Juniata, all of whom the Eagles defeated the first time through the schedule. The remaining games are with Upper Dauphin, which the Eagles took to extra innings, and a non-league contest with Shikellamy.
The wild card in that equation is Millersburg, which is 6-5 overall and 5-4 in the league.
If Wednesday is indicative of the way the Eagles will approach the rest of the season, they stand a good chance.
At the plate against Greenwood, they had 11 hits and struck out just once.
Both Jayci London and Bre Boyer had three hits apiece, and every Eagles player scored at least a run.
"We've been preaching patience all year," Taraschuk said. "If you get one strike on you, you get one strike on you, but you're still looking to hit your pitch. Tonight, the first called strike for the most part was not a pitch we wanted to hit anyway, so there was no point in being aggressive early."
The Eagles were on top of the Wildcats from the outset, though.
Greenwood managed to keep Brooke Long off the bases to start the game, the only time they did so, but Jayci London, Kiana Lukoskie and Boyer had three straight hits. London and Lukoskie both scored in the inning.
Then with two outs in the second, Long started a two-out rally with a single and scored on a double by London.
And the Eagles added another run in the third when Madeline Reed was hit by a pitch and brought home by London.
But in both the second and third, the Eagles left the bases loaded.
"It was a good win. That was the best we've been start to finish at the plate all year," Taraschuk said. "We could have even been better, I thought. We left quite a few out there with bases loaded. We really needed that one."
Still, it was more than enough run support for Savannah Copson, who scattered nine hits and was charged with just three earned runs. More importantly, the senior hurler didn't walk a single Wildcat and had seven strikeouts.
It was the perfect combination of hitting, pitching and defense, and if the Eagles can reproduce these results, they may make May a month to remember.
GREENWOOD (AB-R-H-BI) - Fleisher 4-1-1-0, Osborne 3-1-1-1, Heggensteller 4-1-2-2, Louden 4-0-1-0, Hicks 3-1-1-1, Stong 3-0-1-0, Gutshall 3-0-1-1, Paden 3-0-0-0, Winters 3-1-1-0. Totals 30-5-9-5.
LINE MOUNTAIN (AB-R-H-BI) - B. Long 4-2-2-1, London 5-1-3-2, Lukoskie 4-1-1-0, Boyer 4-1-3-1, Copson 2-1-0-0, Lahr 4-1-1-0, Masser 3-1-0-0, Reed 3-1-1-0, Laudenslager 0-1-0-0, D. Long 3-1-0-1. Totals 32-11-11-5.
Extra-base hits: 2B - Fleisher, Osborne, London, Lukoskie.
IP H R ER BB K
Heggensteller 5.1 10 11 7 5 1
Louden .2 1 0 0 0 0
Copson 7 9 5 3 0 7