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Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 082BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – Time is a funny thing. We either have too much of it or not enough of it.

For athletes, their focus is on the present, on the moment. But if that focus becomes too intense, they can lose sight of the big picture.

So all of this begs the philosophical question, ‘Is it still early?’.

On a clear Friday after-school at Annville-Cleona High School, in a battle of two local clubs still trying to find their way, the home-standing Little Dutchmen blanked Elco 3-0, in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four crossover affair. Annville-Cleona tallied single runs in its first, second and fourth at-bats, in support of an outstanding performance by right-hander Kaila Grubb.

Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 065What yesterday’s match-up signaled for both sides was the figurative midway point of the 2018 spring season, one that each was hoping a little more from. The outcome left Annville-Cleona 5-4 overall and 5-4 in Section Four of the L-L, while Elco slipped to 3-8 overall and 2-6 in Section Three.

“This has been a great learning experience for us,” said Nicki Starry, the Little Dutchmen’s first-year head coach. “There’s no way for us to go but up. If we can keep learning, we can win our league. If we can finish all of our games like we should, we’ll be where we need to be at the end of the season.

“The biggest thing is defense,” continued Starry. “Before this, we’ve had four or five errors a game. We have to cut down on the extra runs. Errors equal extra runs. Errors equal extra runs.”

“I don’t know if it’s early any more,” said Elco head coach Randy Derr. “We were trapped inside (a gymnsasium) a long time. We worked on our hitting when we were inside, but I think the kids who suffered most were the outfielders.

“We’re not where I want to be,” Derr continued. “What I told the girls is we’ve got to win the games we’re supposed to win and steal a few we’re not supposed to. This was the fifth game we were shut out. But our pitchers have been keeping us in the game, for the most part.”

Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 005Although Elco’s Sarah Yermalovich wasn’t quite as overpowering as Grubb, in some ways the contest shook out as a duel between the two starting pitcher. The difference was Annville-Cleona made only one error behind Grubb.

Grubb was on top of her game from the outset.

Mixing her pitches in and out, and up and down, Grubb sat down the first 11 Raider batters she faced, before yielding a single to Amaya Phillips with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Then she proceeded to retire the final ten Elco hitters she encountered.

Included in Grubb’s one-hitter were 12 strikeouts and no walks.

“She did a great job of moving the ball around,” said Starry of her starter. “She got ahead in the count early. She was positive today. As a captain, she wanted to win. She wanted batters, and she led the way.

“She’s been frustrated a little bit,” added Starry. “Our defense has been hit and miss. We talked about being teammates and having each other’s backs.”

Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 012“She (Grubb) changed speeds well,” said Derr. “She moved the ball well. She was setting up on the outside of the plate and the umpire was giving it to her. Changing speeds and hitting spots should be the number one goal of a pitcher, and she did it.

“We took too many pitches early in the count,” Derr added. “When a pitcher has an advantage, you’ve got to hit her pitch. We were down 0-1 and 0-2 in counts. It’s tough.”

The Little Dutchmen provided Grubb some margin to work with, by staking her to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Officially, the run was unearned, but it resulted from Annville-Cleona applying pressure to the Elco defense.

Lauren Schrader slapped a one-out single, stole second and advanced to third on an Elco throwing error. She came around to score on Destiny Loy’s RBI-grounder.

“I’m extremely proud of our girls,” said Starry. “Kaila pitched an amazing game. Our defense was solid. Playing a solid defensive game was one of our goals.

Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 031“For us, we were looking to break our losing streak (three games),” Starry continued. “It was important to win a crossover game to go back into our league on an upswing.”

“We didn’t hit and we didn’t field,” said Derr. “Sarah kept us in the game. But we’re not doing the fundamentals. That’s been the story the whole year.

“Every game is big,” continued Derr. “We need wins. If we can’t come out and be fired up against Annville-Cleona, we can’t do it against anyone. They (his players) have to want to.”

The Little Dutchmen padded their advantage with an insurance run in the bottom of the second.

Sam MacMillian led off with a single and stole second. A batter later, Alyssa Ulrich plated her with an RBI-safety.

Like Grubb, Yermalovich also went the distance. She allowed six hits, whiffed three and issued a single free pass.

Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 051“I thought she did real well,” said Starry of Yermalovich. “We didn’t overly hit her. We found ways to push across runs. For those who adjusted, they had some nice hits. I was proud of the fact that today some of our girls who were struggling changed their at-bats. I was proud of the fact that they executed. They’re learning the game.”

“She (Yermalovich) threw well tonight,” said Derr. “We gave them (the Little Dutchmen) everything they had. She worked ahead of batters. She didn’t throw a whole lot of pitches.

“This week, she threw three games,” added Derr. “We’re not playing defense behind her. You give a good team five outs, and you’ll get blown out. We’re not out-hittng our mistakes.”

Annville-Cleona made it a 3-0 game in the bottom of the fourth. The Little Dutchmen mini-rally began with an Elco error and it concluded with a two-out wild pitch.

“They’re scrappy,” said Derr of the Little Dutchmen. “They’re aggressive at the plate. They steal bases. They play fundamental ball. I think that’s a relfection of Coach Starry.”

 

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

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2018 Elco Softball Schedule

Date OPPONENTS RESULTS
4/05
4:15 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
3
12
4/06
4:15 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Elco
14
1
4/09
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
11
1
4/10
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
4
6
4/11
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Elco
16
0
4/12
4:15 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
0
3
4/13
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Elco
5
6
4/17
4:15 pm
Fleetwood H.S.
at Elco
7
2
4/18
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
3
20
4/19
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
10
12
4/20
4:15 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
4/23
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
4/24
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
4/25
7:00 pm
Elco
Pequea Valley
at Paradise Park
4/27
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
4/30
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
Elco
at Newmanstown Softball Field
5/02
7:00 pm
Elco
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Garrett Field, Willow Street
5/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
5/05
1:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken
5/07
4:15 pm
Elco
at Donegal
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2018 Annville-Cleona Softball Schedule
Date OPPONENTS RESULTS
3/29
4:15 pm
Tulpehocken
at Annville-Cleona
4/05
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
9
4
4/06
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
6
11
4/09
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia
5
3
4/10
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
0
10
4/11
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
1
11
4/13
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lampeter-Strasburg
0
14
4/17
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
11
0
4/18
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal
1
16
4/20
4:15 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
4/23
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Manheim Central
4/25
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Annville-Cleona
4/26
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
4/28
9:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Annville-Cleona
4/28
9:00 am
Palmyra
at Annville-Cleona
4/30
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
5/02
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Mennonite
5/04
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
5/07
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
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Elco softball, Annville-Cleona softball 084Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Donegal 8 0 100.00 11 0 100.00 134 11
Lampeter-Strasburg 7 1 87.50 7 1 87.50 103 11
Manheim Central 6 2 75.00 7 3 70.00 85 26
Cocalico 4 4 50.00 6 4 60.00 66 60
Northern Lebanon 3 3 50.00 3 3 50.00 35 36
Elco 2 5 28.57 3 7 30.00 49 75

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Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Four Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Pequea Valley 5 2 71.43 6 4 60.00 94 43
Annville-Cleona 4 4 50.00 4 4 50.00 37 41
Lancaster Catholic 4 5 44.44 4 7 36.36 66 71
Lancaster Mennonite 2 7 22.22 2 7 22.22 40 81
Columbia 0 6 0.00 1 6 14.29 36 45
Lebanon Catholic 0 6 0.00 0 6 0.00 7 109

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