Last dance goes to the Indians

MIFFLINTOWN – It wasn’t an easy outing from the circle for either Juniata’s Brinley Irvin or Halifax’s Chelsea Konyar, as both were working with a very tight strike zone which made the Ks hard to come by in Tuesday’s Tri-Valley League matchup.

The batters didn’t have much to complain about, though.

Juniata collected 15 hits and Halifax followed with 10 as the teams combined for 30 total runs in the 19-11 Juniata win. And it was evident from the start that both teams were ready to put up the numbers.

In the top of the first, Halifax’s Morgan Cox sent Juniata’s Micheh Horning tracking a fly ball deep into center field for the third out, and already the preview had been set for how each team would put the ball in play for the remainder of the game.

The two teams then traded the lead back and forth into the fourth inning, with Juniata trailing 10-9 heading into its half. In that stanza the Indians put the game away for good.

Hali Weiand started the bottom of the fourth half with a single to center field – overall Weiand had three hits in the game – then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Hayley Colyer. Konyar then walked Mady Marrone to put runners at first and third with one out, and Taylah Erdman came in to replace her on the mound.

Erdman inherited a bit of a mess, and didn’t help her own effort when she walked Megan Shoop to load the bases, then also walked Kristen Pray to tie it at 10-10.

From there, Horning came in with her second big hit of the day when she rocketed one to left field to bring home Marrone and Shoop and advance Pray to second.

Pray finished off the scoring for the inning when she stole third, then advanced home on the overthrow at third to give Juniata the lead for good at 14-10.

Juniata plated five more runs the remainder of the game, two of which came from a two-run homer to center field by Summer Swab in the sixth, and Halifax scored one in the sixth off a Juniata error.

“Only five of (Halifax’s) runs were earned, so we’ve got to work on our defense. We made some mistakes, and we’ve got to work on that,” said Juniata coach Brian Sheaffer, whose team had five errors in the outing.

Fortunately for Juniata, the bats were able to make up for any mistakes on the field, and Sheaffer was very complimentary of his team’s offensive performance up and down the line up, in particular pointing out Swab’s home run.

“It was really nice to see Summer Swab hit that home run. I mean, she’s come out here, she’s worked hard all year,” he said.

The first 3 1/2 innings were a roller coaster, with Juniata taking the first lead on a three-run first, then Halifax answering with seven in the top of the second. The lead went back to the Indians with six in the third, then the Wildcats plated three in the top of the fourth to set up Juniata’s final comeback.

In the first, Horning mirrored Cox’s stroke almost exactly, but had just a bit more juice on it to notch an RBI triple which brought home Pray, who had led off the Indians’ effort with a single to right field.

In the remainder of the inning Juniata collected one more hit and a few fielder’s choices to score on two passed balls.

The lead was not to last for long, though, as in the top of the second the wheels almost came off for the Indians when RBIs from Chelsea Walker, Anna Seiders, Davia Erdman and Paige Millar gave the Wildcats four earned runs. Halifax also took advantage of two Juniata errors to gain three unearned runs for 7-3 score heading into the bottom of the second.

Juniata took back the lead with a Marrone two-run double; she scored on a Shoop bunt. Later in the inning, Irvin drove in two with a single to center field and a sacrifice bunt by Swab plated the other run.

Juniata (3-5, 3-3) hosts Millersburg Thursday.