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BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – Forget everything you’ve heard.

The real reason we rebound, that we bounce back, is that we can. It certainly does beat the heck out of the alternative.

On a bright Tuesday afternoon at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen softballers showed their resiliency on a couple of occasions in a number of different ways, during a come-from-behind, 4-3 eight-inning victory over Lancaster Catholic. After trailing early and relinquishing the lead late, the Little Dutchmen plated the decisive score in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Noelle Martin’s sacrifice fly to short left field scored hustling Grace Renninger with the winning run. Renninger had led off the home half of the eighth inning with a triple to long left field.

“We’ve been struggling with the team concept, so we’ve had to develop that in the girls,” said Jim Wright, Annville-Cleona’s second-year head coach. “We’ve got to cheer for each other. We’ve got to back each other up. It’s the little things that make a difference, and I think you saw that today.

“This was a win within our section,” continued Wright. “These games we have to win. We want to finish in first or second place in the section to get to the playoffs.”

With the outcome, Annville-Cleona moved to 3-2 on the spring and 3-1 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Lancaster Catholic, one of the clubs the Little Dutchmen will have do battle with for that L-L League berth, fell to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the section.

“Our second-place batter Noelle Martin is a very good hitter,” said Wright. “I knew she’d make contact, in some way or another. You couldn’t ask for a better hitter in that position.

“This was really the first game it was a team effort,” added Wright. “They’ve (his players) been kind of quiet. Today, everybody was pulling for everybody.”

Martin also picked up the pitching victory in relief. She came on for Annville-Cleona starter Alex Hackman with one out in the top of the seventh inning, after Lancaster Catholic had tied the score at three with an unearned run.

With one strikeout and two walks, Hackman had been in line for the win, before tiring.

“I thought Alex threw very well,” said Wright. “Her ball has been going up a lot because she watches it. But she corrected that today. I let her go as long as I could, but she ran out of gas in the seventh. She’s a hard-nosed girl.

“She’s got to keep the ball down,” Wright continued. “She’s got great movement on her ball and she’s got all the pitches. It’s been a struggle for her so far, but once we got her into practice, we corrected it.”

Annville-Cleona used a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning to assume a 3-2 lead. The Little Dutchmen did it without the benefit of a hit, as lead-off hitter Josie Clay reached base, stole two bags and scored on a Crusader error.

“What we’re looking for is the girls to go up there and swing the bat,” said Wright. “We didn’t have one girl strike out looking. The only way to hit is to swing the bat. They’ve go to swing. I don’t care if they strike out. They’re trying because they’re swinging the bat.”

Trailing 2-0, it was some aggressive base running that allowed the Little Dutchmen to plate the tying runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Renninger started it with a single, and teammate Ella Andrews also singled during the rally, while Alyssa Ulrich was credited with an RBI-grounder.

“We want to start by winning the section,” said Wright of his club’s goals for the season. “We just want to go out and play the best we can. I’ve got five seniors, and senior leadership is so critical. It took us a while to get it, but now we have it.

“I’m very fortunate to have girls who can play a lot of positions,” Wright added. “They want to play. I’ve got five or six girls who we can stick any place, they won’t say anything, and they’ll just have fun.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Annville-Cleona Softball Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
3/17
4:30 pm
Oley Valley
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
3/26
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Hamburg

Nonleague
3/29
4:15 pm
Blue Mountain
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
4/05
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
7
17

League
4/07
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
1
12

League
4/09
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia

League
4/13
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona

League
4/14
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal

Nonleague
4/16
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
4/19
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Garden Spot

Nonleague
4/21
4:00 pm
Octorara
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
4/23
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
4/24
9:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
4/28
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Mennonite

League
4/29
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona

League
4/30
4:00 pm
TBD
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
5/03
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona

League
5/05
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic

League
5/07
4:15 pm
East Pennsboro
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
5/11
4:15 pm
Camp Hill
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

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