BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – The good news is that there’s another game starting any minute now. Because at this point, all the Cedar Crest softball team can hope for is a next opportunity.
On a windy Wednesday evening at Cedar Crest Middle School, the Falcons continued to search for their way, during a 22-2 loss to Penn Manor, in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section One titl shortened to four innings by the 15-run mercy rule. The Falcons simply struggled to record outs against the hard-hitting Comets, as the visitors scored at least two runs in each of their at-bats, including the top of the fourth when they tallied nine times to bring the mercy rule into play.
It was Cedar Crest’s fifth straight loss to start the season. The Falcons, who slipped to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in Section One, have now been outscored by a combined margin of 42-8 this year.
With the result, Penn Manor jumped to 3-3 on the spring and 2-2 in the league.
Cedar Crest second-year head coach Jill Houtz declined an opportunity to be interviewed after the game.
“I can feel for them,” said Penn Manor head coach David Stokes of the Falcons. “Thirteen years ago when I took over, that was us out there. We struggled to win two games and there were a lot of 15-run rules. They’re struggling. They’re working to get better, but other teams are pushing hard too. It’s a hard road.”
The Comets plated three runs on three hits and two Falcon errors in the top of the opening frame. The rally was highlighted by back-to-back, two-out triples from Madison Trout and Kaelin Gable.
But the Falcons got one of those runs back in the home half of the first inning, courtesy of Morgan Arnold’s triple and a Comet throwing error.
“Unfortunately, Cedar Crest is a little down right now,” said Stokes. “But anytime you get out to an early lead, it’s going to bode well for you.