Juniata’s patience ends in TVL victory
Tigers’ catchup game falls short
COCOLAMUS — East Juniata made it interesting in the end, but couldn’t overcome Juniata’s patience at the plate as the Indians won, 10-8, in Tri-Valley League softball Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians coasted to a fast 10-3 lead by the end of four innings, but couldn’t do much of anything when Tigers coach Lauren Maguire made a pitching change from Becca Dietz to Aaliyah Lightener in the middle of the fourth inning.
Juniata coach Dave Cisney doesn’t think that had much to do with it being closer, but rather the Indians playing more relaxed.
“We got up seven runs and then we started to coast,” he said. “I told them that’s what happens right here when you let teams back into the game. EJ started to hit and get momentum and things started going their way. We hopefully learn something from this tonight because we’ve got to learn to keep the gas pedal down.”
The Tigers got as far as having the tying run on base in the home half of the seventh when Ashlynn Searer doubled and Alyssa Robinson singled. Searer, though, was caught in a pickle between third and home where she was tagged out to end the game.
East Juniata wouldn’t have been in that spot had it not put it all together in the sixth inning when Carlee Barrick and Tiana Terry singled to start the frame and came around to score on the first pitch Searer saw. Searer crushed the ball over the fence in center field for a three-run home run.
The train kept moving as Robinson reached on an infield error and Lexi Stuck blooped a single to center — all of this before the Indians could record an out.
Emersyn Mader made her out a productive one when she grounded out to short, but got Robinson to score.
Kiersta Lightener doubled in Stuck to round out the Tigers’ scoring in the frame.
“I think once we put a string of outs together where we got 1-2-3 quick without any runs scored against us as well as multiple hits together, that really pumped up the team,” Maguire said. “That was a motivation for them to keep playing. … We didn’t really make adjustments (at the plate). We just told the girls that we need hits and runs offensively while making outs defensively to get back in this one.”
The Indians didn’t score a run on Lightener, who went 3 1/3 innings. In fact, she was the only pitcher to record a 1-2-3 inning, doing so in both the sixth and seventh innings. Lightener allowed two hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out one.
Juniata, however, did show patience is a virtue against Dietz, working nine of its 10 walks against her in the first four innings. The Indians also worked another seven at-bats to three ball counts.
The base on balls quickly came back to hurt Dietz and the Tigers as she walked the first three Indian batters — Mya Rush, Kali Foltz and Maci Kreider — and allowed the first run to score when Ally Misal walked to score Rush. Laney Dowling had the biggest swing of the inning — not tough to do when the team swung at four of the 41 pitches they saw in the frame — singling to left to score both Foltz and Kreider.
They remained patient throughout the second inning, striking for five runs, but this time mixing it up by putting the ball in play. After a pair of walks to Lexie Berry and Rush to start the frame, Kreider then tripled to right to drive both of them in and pad the Indians’ lead.
Krieder finished with a team-high three RBIs for the Indians.
Olivia Laub then got in on the fun, doubling to left-center field three pitches later to plate Kreider. Two batters later Hunter Johns picked up a double, missing a home run by mere inches.
The Indians struck for a run apiece in the third and fourth innings thanks to heads-up base running by Rush — moving from first to third on a sacrifice bunt with nobody covering the base. Walks again hurt the Tigers in the fourth.
Rush finished with a game-high three runs scored for Juniata.
The Tigers, meanwhile, played a much different game offensively, collecting 18 hits in the contest. Six of those hits went for extra bases.
That’s precisely how the Tigers got their first run with Carlee Barrick doubling to kick things off in the opening inning and scoring when Searer got a double of her own.
Searer went 3-for-5 with the home run and two doubles. She drove in a game-high four runs for the Tigers.
Barrick, again, was a factor for East Juniata in the fourth, doubling to left to score Mader, who reached on a leadoff single.
The Tigers had six hitters finish with multiple hits including their top five hitters in the linup — Barrick, Terry, Searer, Robinson and Stuck. Mader was the other hitter to do so. The Indians had none.
Abby Adair went the distance for the Indians to collect the win.
Junaita hosts Midd-West today while East Juniata travels to Millersburg Tuesday.
Juniata 10, East Juniata 8
Juniata 351 100 0 — 10-7-1
East Juniata 101 105 0 — 8-18-2
WP: Abby Adair. LP: Becca Dietz. SO: Adair 4 (J); Dietz 4, Aaliyah Lightener 1 (EJ). BB: Adair (J); Dietz 9, Lightener (EJ). HR: Ashlynn Searer (EJ). 3B: Maci Kreider (J). 2B: Olvia Laub, Hunter Johns (J); Searer 2, Kiersta Lightener, Carlee Barrick 2 (EJ). MH: Barrick 3-5, Tiana Terry 2-4, Searer 3-5, Alyssa Robinson 2-4, Lexi Stuck 3-4, Emersyn Mader 2-4 (EJ). RBIs: Kreider 3, Laub, Ally Misal, Hunter Johns, Laney Dowling, Presley Goodwin (J); Barrick, Searer 4, Stuck, Mader, K. Lightener (EJ).