SOUTH LEBANON – Fundamentally sound. Defensively strong. Consistent pitching. Cedar Crest executes every phase required to be competitive in the game of softball.
But if they’re going to be successful in rugged Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, somewhere along the way the Falcons are going to have to hit – at least a little bit.
On Wednesday afternoon at Cedar Crest Middle School, the Falcons were again plagued by some early season offensive woes, during a 3-0 blanking by Warwick. Cedar Crest was limited to Emma Spang’s lead-off single in the fourth inning by Warwick right-hander Nicole Mengel.
The shutout loss was the second in three days for a Falcon club which has managed four hits in 14 innings this spring. Cedar Crest is now 0-2 overall and 0-2 in Section One, while the Warriors moved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the circuit.
“We’ve been talking about, after the last two games, rolling the things we’re working on in practice over into games,” said Cedar Crest head coach Eric Edwards. “We did play better tonight, but we’ve got to get better with the bats. I think our approach at the plate is where we’ve got to start. Tonight we were swinging at bad pitches, and we couldn’t get bunts down. For us, it’s the mental part of the game.
“Give credit where credit is due,” Edwards continued. “She (Mengel) was a solid pitcher. I thought we got ahead so many times, and we couldn’t capitalize on 2-0 and 3-1 counts. We put the ball in play, but they played great defense.”
Despite the fact that Mengel struck out nine Falcon hitters, Cedar Crest was retired in order during only one of its at-bats. But the farthest the Falcons could advance a runner was Spang to second in the fourth, thanks to a one-out walk drawn by Maddie Gable.
Cedar Crest did get lead-off batter Janell Daullary on base via a walk in the bottom of the seventh, but Mengel retired on the next three Falcons on a pair of strikeouts and a come-backer to the mound.
“We’re definitely not going to hit the panic button,” said Edwards. “While it hurts to lose those two league games, we feel like we’ll get things turned around. We’re not worried.
“I’m not going to make any excuses,” continued Edwards. “Everybody’s been dealing with the weather. Our first time on a field was to warm up against Hempfield (on Monday). The fundamental things we did wrong had nothing to do with fielding balls on dirt. It’s part of spring sports in Pennsylvania.”
Gable, a hard-chucking junior right-hander, probably threw well enough to deserve a different fate. Gable yielded five safeties, whiffed six Warriors and walked three.
“Maddie’s been great,” said Edwards. “Now two games in-a-row, she’s thrown really well for us. She has good command. She’s not going to strike a lot of people out, so we’ve got to play good defense behind her.
“She did her part,” Edwards added. “She definitely threw well. She’s not going to point fingers and place blame on anybody. It’s a team effort. She would tell you she could do things better.”
Warwick set the tone for the outcome by touching Gable for two important runs in the top of the first inning. The rally was ignited by a Falcon error during Warrior lead-off hitter Mack Russell’s at-bat, but the big blow was clean-up batter Amanda Herr’s two-run triple to the right center field gap.
“That’s really important for them,” said Edwards of the Warriors’ early runs. “We’re not going to be a team that scores a lot of runs. We’ve got to play good defense. Those runs early put us in a bad spot.”
The score stayed 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Warwick added an insurance tally with an unearned run. Russell opened with a single and ultimately came around to score on a botched pop-up.
“We understand we’re young,” said Edwards. “But that doesn’t change the goals of the girls. One thing they want to do is win games and get into the playoffs. That’s what they want and that’s what I want for them.
“Section One, this year, from top to bottom, is going to be as tough for us as its ever been,” concluded Edwards. “Hempfield and Warwick are two tough teams. But there’s not going to be a game in our section we’re going to be able to take lightly. It says a lot for Section One. It seems like this year there’s going to be teams that are tough to beat. But we’re going to have to play better.”
Cedar Crest Falcons 2015 Softball RosterNumber Grade Name
1 9 Jenna Sloss
2 9 Keishla Garcia
3 9 Courtney Brandt
4 9 Bailey Perry
5 12 Avery Hoover
6 10 Desiree Mancill
7 10 Anna Debellis
8 9 Brooklyn Hollinger
9 9 Amber LaGrelius
10 12 Janell Daullary
11 12 Molly Finley
12 11 Kacey Stewart
13 11 Alexis Tonini
14 9 Gloria Rutkowski
15 11 Victoria Frazier
17 11 Emma Spang
19 9 Rachael Witherite
20 11 Maddie Gable
21 10 Makayla Miller
22 10 Sage Bartal
23 9 Taylor Miller
24 12 Erin Seldomridge
26 9 Hannah Koehler
27 9 Cynia Cadett
30 10 Ashley Maulfair
31 9 Hannah Robinson
Section One Standings