Five-run fourth drives EJ to second win

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
East Juniata’s Kenzie Hicks goes after a ground ball in Tuesday’s Tri-Valley League game against Greenwood. The Tigers got their second win of the season.

COCOLAMUS — East Juniata pushed across a run in every inning of its 13-7 win over Greenwood in Tri-Valley League softball Tuesday.

The Tigers’ best offensive showing occurred in the fourth inning when they struck for five runs.

Before the Wildcats could record an out, Kenzie Hicks drove in Tiana Terry (walked) and Alyssa Robinson (hit by pitch) on a triple hit into the left-center field gap. Hicks then scored on a throwing error in an attempt to get the ball back in.

Hailey Long and Emersyn Mader then each singled with two outs to set up another two-run triple — this time hit by Carlee Barrick, helping her cause in the circle.

Barrick had a strong game hitting in the leadoff role, going 4-for-4 with a pair of triples and a double. She also worked in a walk to put herself on base in all five of her plate appearances.

And, she struck out seven Wildcats in the complete game.

“She was struggling at the beginning of the season so, again, for her it was a big confidence booster,” East Juniata coach Lauren Maguire said. “She’s now proven to herself that she can hit the ball. She just needs confidence when going into the box.”

The five-run fourth inning helped put the game out of reach for Greenwood after it came back to tie the game in third.

The Wildcats were oddly enough carried by the bottom half of their lineup with the 6-9 hitters — Jenna Sherrick, Alli Walton, Sarah Pennay and Jada Williams — all recording multi-hit games. All four hitters all played a role in the run production.

Such was the case in both the second and third innings when the Wildcats struck for two runs in each frame.

The team’s No. 6 and No. 7 hitters Sherrick and Walton each singled with one out in the second. Sherrick made her way around the bases, advancing to third on Walton’s single before scoring on a wild pitch.

Walton’s pinch runner, Amanda Sheaffer, scored when Hannah Gorman worked a bases-loaded walk.

The Tigers survived that scare, but maybe got too comfortable in the third inning.

With two outs and Sherrick on first, East Juniata looked like it would keep its two-run lead only to see Sherrick steal second and come around to score on a Walton single. A Tiger error allowed Walton to move into scoring position where Aurora Cucia took over as pinch runner, scoring the tying run on a Pennay single to right.

“The bottom of the lineup was seeing the ball good today,” Greenwood coach Bub Walton said. “The key is to get the first two or three kids on base and move them around. … We had good pitch selection today and we preach that in practice. “You can’t give the pitcher any help, she’s good enough to begin with. We just preach pitch selection and today it showed at times.”

Errors, though, cost the Wildcats more than anything. The team committed five and even if there is never a good time for them, that’s especially true when it leads to run production for the opposition.

The Tigers took full advantage, striking in the first inning as Lexi Stuck got into scoring postion on an error on a transfer play to second base and then scored when Greenwood attempted to pick her off at third, only to throw the ball away into left field. East Juniata ended up with three runs in the opening frame.

“Errors kill a team. I told them they have to clean them up,” Walton said. “It’s tough and we have to clean the game up.”

The Tigers found ways to produce runs even without the benefit of an error. Terry went the other way to right field for an inside-the-park home run in the fifth.

Long, too, proved she can get herself around the diamond and score only in a much different way than Terry. She singled to start the sixth and advanced all the way around on three separate wild pitches.

Terry not only helped the Tigers with that home run, but she was consistent at the hot corner, making eight big plays including the one that ended the game when she went to both knees to keep a hard hit ball in front of her and tagged third for the unassisted putout.

The Tigers had three players — Barrick, Robinson and Long — finish with multiple hits against Gorman.

Gorman went six innings, giving up 13 hits, walking four and striking out four.

East Juniata travels to Susquenita while Greenwood travels to Juniata, both Thursday.

East Juniata 13, Greenwood 7

Greenwood 022 010 2 — 7-13-5

East Juniata 312 511 x — 13-13-3

WP: Carlee Barrick. LP: Hannah Gorman. SO: Gorman 4 (G); Barrick 7 (EJ). BB: Gorman 4 (G); Barrick 4 (EJ). HR: Tiana Terry (EJ). 3B: Barrick 2, Kenzie Hicks (EJ). 2B: Sarah Pennay (G); Barrick, Aaliyah Lightener (EJ). MH: Jenna Sherrick 2-3, Alli Walton 3-4, Sarah Pennay 2-3, Jada Williams 3-4 (G); Barrick 4-4, Alyssa Robinson 2-3, Hailey Long 2-3 (EJ). RBIs: Faith Polcha, Gorman 2, Walton, Pennay, Williams (G); Barrick 4, Lexi Stuck, Terry 2, Robinson, Hicks 3, A. Lightener (EJ).