MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg softball picked up its first victories of the spring in dramatic fashion at Courtney Pollock Memorial Field on Friday afternoon, April 9. The Lions earned a pair of walk-off wins over North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe Lancaster Bible, including a 7-6 decision in the opener and a 5-4 come-from-behind victory in eight innings in the nightcap.
After watching Lancaster Bible erase an early 6-0 deficit, Penn State Harrisburg worked out of trouble in the top of the seventh inning before Madelyn Pyle walked things off by driving in Courtney Fleisher in the bottom of the final frame to secure the first win of the season for the Blue & White.
Fleisher led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple to right center field and Pyle followed it up with a sacrifice fly to shallow center field that allowed her former high school teammate to slide home safely and give the Lions the victory in game one. In the top of the stanza, pitcher Mary-Kate Penczkowski stranded a pair of Chargers in scoring position after LBC's Phoebe Clemens and Nicole DeKok each singled to lead off the seventh.
The home team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Steph Reider's single up the middle plated Pyle and Madelyn Krantz. The Lions tacked on another run in the second when Krantz's double to left field brought Fleisher across. They kept things rolling in the bottom of the third, as Sarah Coolbaugh, Samantha Weaver, and Sierra Dixon all scored thanks to three hits and a pair of Lancaster Bible errors.
The Chargers finally got something going in the fourth when Bryanna Hoover singled to lead things off and Clemens followed it up with an RBI triple to right center field that allowed her to come across thanks to an error on the relay. LBC pulled even in the fifth, scoring four runs on four hits, including a pair of doubles. Penczkowski entered the circle in the top of the sixth and quieted the LBC bats the rest of the way.
For the second time in as many outings, Penn State Harrisburg earned the victory over Lancaster Bible thanks to a walk-off sacrifice fly, this time courtesy of Delaney Nevius in extra innings.
Adhering to the rules of the international tiebreaker, each team began their half of the eighth inning with a runner on second base. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they were unable to take advantage and stranded Alyssa Paulson at third base to end the top of the stanza. It was a different story for the Blue & White, as a Sierra Dixon fly ball to right field allowed Regan Englehart to advance from second to third in the bottom of the frame. Nevius drove her in with a fly ball to left field to complete Penn State Harrisburg's first doubleheader sweep of the young season.
Unlike game one, Lancaster Bible led for much of the nightcap. The Chargers got on the board first when a Kendra Brown double down the left field line drove in a pair in the top of the first. The Lions answered back in the bottom of the opening stanza when Steph Reider's double to right center field scored Courtney Fleisher and Madelyn Pyle to tie things up after one.
The visitors struck again in the top of the fourth when Bryanna Hoover's two-out single plated a pair and reclaimed the lead for the Chargers. After being retired in order in the bottom of the fourth, Penn State Harrisburg responded in the fifth when a Sarah Coolbaugh ground ball brought Fleisher home and a passed ball plated Madelyn Krantz.
- The bats were out in full force during Friday's doubleheader, with the teams combining for 44 hits across both games.
- Pitcher Mary-Kate Penczkowski earned the victories in both games. She got the start in game two, threw 10 total innings on the day, and racked up 11 strikeouts.
- Sierra Dixon got the start inside the circle in the opener, allowing six hits and striking out five.
- Pyle and Steph Reider each drove in two runs in the first contest.
- Reider went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in the nightcap, while Fleisher also had two hits in game two.
- Coolbaugh and Nevius each drove in a run during the second game.
- Reider currently leads Penn State Harrisburg with six RBI on the year, while Coolbaugh's driven in five runs this spring.
- Fleisher and Coolbaugh have each scored a team-high seven runs so far this season.
- Nicole DeKok threw all 14.1 inning for Lancaster Bible and took the loss in each outing.
The Lions will get right back to work when they travel to Morrisville State for another conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, April 10.