BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – Whether it be a timely hit, a fortuitous bounce, a well-placed word of encouragement or a good swift kick in the pants. There’s something just a bit amiss with the Cedar Crest softball team.
Whatever it is, it’s precluding the Falcons from reaching their preseason objectives.
On Monday after school, Cedar Crest endured another perplexing loss, this one a 5-0 Lancaster-Lebanon Section One-Two crossover shutout at the hands of Elizabethtown. Despite playing decent defense and getting a steady pitching performance from junior Maddie Gable, the Falcons played from behind most of the afternoon and managed but four singles.
After capturing the championship of the Annville-Cleona Mid-Season Tournament on Saturday, the setback dropped Cedar Crest to 5-7 overall and 3-7 in Section One of the L-L. The result eliminated the Falcons from Lancaster-Lebanon League playoff consideration and put a huge crimp in their plans for qualifying for the District Three Class AAAA postseason.
In six of their seven losses this spring, the Falcons have scored one run or less.
The win moved Elizabethtown to 8-5 on the year and 7-3 in Section Two.
“It seems like we come out and we’re really good, or we’re not so good,” said Cedar Crest head coach Eric Edwards. “When we’re good, we’re good. When we’re not playing well, it seems like the mistakes compound themselves.
“Yeah, I really do think the girls are playing with a sense of urgency,” continued Edwards. “I thought after last week we had really turned the corner. But we needed this game. We have opportunities, but we haven’t taken advantage of them. We’ve got to get on a roll and see what happens. But these girls want to win.”
Cedar Crest experienced difficulties stringing together offense against Bear southpaw Lauren Allison. Facing a 3-0 hole, the Falcons did so in the bottom of the third inning when they loaded the bases, but with two outs.
Anna Debellis and Kacey Stewart each rapped two-out singles and Gable reached on an error. But Allison kept the shutout intact by inducing a ground-out.
The only other hits that Cedar Crest could manage came from Stewart in the bottom of the first inning and Debellis in the fifth.
“We just seemed flat today, from the start,” said Edwards, whose batters struck out five times and walked once. “The bottom line is, if you can’t score runs, you can’t win games. We can hit and we did last week. We went 4-2 and had a real nice day Saturday. But today it felt like we were ahead of everything and hitting the ball off the end of the bat.
“She (Allison) wasn’t throwing hard, but she was effective,” Edwards added. “I’m not sure if we had trouble picking the ball up, and she was a lefty. She was throwing strikes. She was hitting spots. But we just couldn’t get that big hit.”
A Falcon error, a stolen base and Payton Halbleib’s RBI-grounder staked Elizabethtown to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Then in the third, the Bears were at it again, as their first hitters in the frame reached base – on four singles and a fielder’s choice. Nicole Baker’s and Jocelyn Zook’s RBI-singles made it 3-0 E-town.
“When you get behind, you start pressing a little bit and trying to do too much,” said Edwards. “You stop staying within yourself and start trying to drive the ball, or whatever the mindset is. We always seem to be playing from behind, and it’s a tough thing to do.
“Maddie’s throwing a lot of innings for us,” Edwards continued. “She amazes me how she comes out and battles and works her way out of jams. We still have to make the plays behind her. But Maddie is quite the competitor.”
The Bears tacked on a couple of insurance tallies in the top of the sixth. Allison’s single and a Cedar Crest fielding miscue paved the way for Emily Brubaker’s two-run double to center.
Gable went the distance, surrendered 11 hits, struck out six and issued two free passes.
“One more league crossover and then back to Section One, Round Two,” said Edwards of his club’s immediate future. “I hate to say we’re focusing on one game at a time. We feel like we’re better than we were at the beginning of the season. Districts isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Now we’ve put ourselves in the position of having to win some tough games to get there.
“I don’t measure success that way (qualifying for the postseason),” added Edwards. “I’m proud of the improvements we’ve made and how we’re sticking together. They (his players) really get along. Winning is the ultimate goal, but it’s not the ultimate marker of success for us.”
Section One Standings
Cedar Crest 2015 Results
|4:15 PM||L 0-6|
|4:15 PM||L 0-3|
|4:15 PM||W 5-2|
|4:15 PM||L 1-6|
|4:15 PM||L 0-2|
|4:15 PM||W 11-0|
|4:15 PM||L 1-5|
|4:15 PM||W 9-3|
|4:15 PM||L 3-6|
|10:00 AM||W 7-2|
|1:45 PM||W 6-1|
|4:15 PM||L 0-5|
Cedar Crest Falcons 2015 SoftballRosterNumber 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