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With intra-county games with Elco and Northern Lebanon looming, the Little Dutchmen stayed in position to defend their Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four crown. 


ANNVILLE – Because patience is a virtue, good things come to those who wait.

The Annville-Cleona softball team found itself facing an early deficit yesterday, but the Little Dutchmen didn’t panic. A-C collected its collective breath, took a long hard look at its situation, took what the Cocalico Eagles gave them and simply allowed the game to come to it.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cocalico’s three-run second at-bat proved to be more of a wake-up call than a knock-out putch for Annville-Cleona, as ‘The Dutch’ notched 12 of the next 13 runs for a 12-4 home triumph. The Little Dutchmen went to work in their very next at-bat, as they parlayed four free passes into six runs and a lead they would only build upon.

IMG_7815Annville-Cleona was coming off consecutive shutout setbacks, to Lampeter-Strasburg and Manheim Central. But the result got the Little Dutchmen, now 7-3 on the season and 6-2 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, back on track.

With the loss, the Eagles fell to 2-9 overall and 2-6 in Section Three of the L-L.

“It was important because we were struggling,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Dave Bentz. “I don’t read the papers any more. I don’t see the scores. I don’t look at standings. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to show up and play every game. You’ve still got to hit the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball. That’s the key. Sometimes they (his players) might not think about that.

“It was nice to see some air blow by me (while coaching third base),” continued Bentz. “We righted the ship a little bit today. Our at-bats were much better. We’re getting better.”

IMG_7646Facing that 3-0 hole, Annville-Cleona chose patience over panic.

The Little Dutchmen’s first three batters in the bottom of the second – Emma Lerchen, Lauren Schrader and Zoee Garis – drew bases-on-balls, and all three came around to score. Cayla Gassert, Morgan Zimmerman and Sarah Fischer accounted for the A-C RBIs, with a sacrifice fly, a safety and a ground-out, respectively.

But the big blow was struck by Hannah Fischer, a two-run single that made it 5-3 at the time.

“Their starter struggled a little bit,” said Bentz of Eagle right-hander Kourtnee Good. “She wasn’t around the plate. We were patient. It was nice to see some kids on base.

IMG_7668“I have to be a rah-rah guy as much as I can,” Bentz continued. “I can pat them (his players) on the back and I can get in their faces.”

The Eagles’ 3-0 cushion was the result of a change-up left up in the zone, to Alyssa Schmeck, with the bases loaded. Her three-run triple to right field came off Annville-Cleona starter Lerchen, with two outs in the top of the second.

IMG_7753“That’s kind of my fault,” said Bentz. “Emma’s been working on a change-up. I called it. She threw it. She hung it. And the kid hit it. She needs to get that one down in the dirt. It’s just good we decided to get six in our next at-bat. We wanted to hit. There was no reason we shouldn’t hit today.

“That’s the stuff we preach all the time,” added Bentz. “All that crazy softball/baseball stuff happens. Cocalico swung the bat, and made us field the ball.”

The Little Dutchmen upped their advantage to 8-4 in the bottom of the third inning. Cayla Gassert’s one-out triple keyed the uprising, as it plated Schrader and then helped produce Zimmerman’s RBI-grounder.

In the  fourth inning, Annville-Cleona’s lead grew to 9-4. Lerchen’s RBI-single scored Amber Rexrode, who had stroked a one-out double.

“She’ll be the first to say she needed this,” said Bentz of Rexrode’s three-for-four afternoon. “The whole team’s been struggling. She has been too. It was nice to see a kid who only threw a straight ball.

“If we can go 4-2 in crossovers, that would be great,” Bentz added. “We wanted to win them all. But yes, the rest of them are tough.”

IMG_7776Annville-Cleona put the outcome out of reach and threatened the ten-run rule during a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth. H. Fischer, Rexrode and S. Fischer all drove in Little Dutchmen runs, with one out.

“You have non-league games and you have league games,” said Bentz. “Our section is pretty weak. But my goal for the whole season is districts. I ultimately play for districts. We want to be in the top five and get a home playoff game. But I don’t think these kids realize how good they can be. I’m waiting for them to figure it out.

IMG_7778“Am I happy right now?,” continued Bentz. “I don’t think any coach is altogether happy. In the games we lost, I wish we could’ve played a little better. I would’ve liked if we came back better. That’s the confidence thing. Today we gave them three and we came back with a bunch. I think that was the biggest inning of the year.”

Lerchen was awarded the win for hurling seven innings of six-hit ball, striking out eight and walking none. Lerchen sat down 14 of the last 15 batters she faced.

The Little Dutchmen collected a total of 13 hits.

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















 IMG_7681Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

Lampeter-Strasburg 7-0 11-0
Manheim Central 5-1 6-4
Donegal 5-2 7-3
Elco 2-5 3-6
Northern Lebanon 2-5 3-7
Cocalico 2-6 2-9








IMG_7710Section Four Standings

Pequea Valley 6-1 8-1
Annville-Cleona 6-2 7-3
Lancaster Catholic 3-4 3-6
Lancaster Mennonite 2-4 3-6
Columbia 0-5 0-7
Lebanon Catholic 0-6 0-8













IMG_77242016 Annville-Cleona Softball Schedule

Berks Catholic
4:15 PM W 10-0
4:15 PM L 5-7
04/05 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
4:15 PM W 13-0
04/06 *
@Lebanon Catholic
4:15 PM W 18-0
04/08 *
4:15 PM W 16-0
04/11 *
Pequea Valley
4:15 PM W 5-4
04/13 *
Lancaster Catholic
4:15 PM W 11-1
04/15 *
4:15 PM L 0-11
04/18 *
@Manheim Central
7:30 PM L 0-5
04/20 *
4:15 PM W 12-4
04/22 *
4:15 PM Elco High School
04/25 *
Northern Lebanon
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
04/27 *
4:15 PM Donegal High School
04/29 *
Lancaster Mennonite
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
05/02 *
Lebanon Catholic
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
05/04 *
4:15 PM Columbia High School
05/06 *
@Pequea Valley
4:15 PM Pequea Valley High School
05/09 *
@Lancaster Catholic
4:15 PM Lancaster Catholic High School

























































































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