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 BY JEFF FALK

 PALMYRA – If there’s been one Palmyra girls’ athletic program which hasn’t enjoyed the type of overwhelming success that the others have, it’s softball. But all that might be changing.

 On a gusty Tuesday evening at Palmyra High School, the Cougars continued their prosperous start to the spring season by steamrolling Harrisburg 11-0, in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division clash shortened to five innings by the mercy rule. With Palmyra dominating in every phase of the game, Cougar starter Abbey Krahling and reliever Sarah Quigley combined for an abbreviated no-hitter.

 The result pushed Palmyra to 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the Keystone Division. 

 “Winning the conference is definitely one of our team goals,” said Palmyra head coach Tod Whitman. “The dynamic of our division is it’s pretty wide open. There’s teams who traditionally do well who aren’t, and there’s teams who don’t traditionally do well who are. It’s wide open, and I love that. There’s confidence with this group. What’s exciting for us is that we’ve beaten some good teams.

 “I really don’t know, but I’m not sure if Palmyra has ever won a conference (championship),” continued Whitman. “It’s been a while. We’ve got team goals wrapped around districts too, and team goals wrapped around stuff this program hasn’t seen in a long time.”

 Before giving way to Quigley in the top of the fourth, A. Krahling worked three perfect innings, striking out the Harrisburg side in the first and third frames. The senior right-hander whiffed a total of seven batters.

 Quigley hurled the final two innings, fanning two and walking two. Harrisburg did not hit a ball out of the infield all afternoon long.

 “Abbey looked strong,” said Whitman. “She was a little jacked up in the first inning. But she was very efficient today. She tends to go deep in counts. We’ve got three games this week and Quigley hasn’t pitched yet this season. We want to have confidence when we bring her in. Abbey is our clear number-one, but you can’t ride one pitcher for a whole season.”

 It took a bit for the Cougar offense to get underway, but once it did it churned out runs.

 Palmyra broke out on top with a single run in the bottom of the opening inning. With two outs, Samantha Krahling singled and stole second, ahead of Sara Boyer’s RBI-double.

 “They’ve got a good pitcher,” said Whitman of Harrisburg starter Sydney Davis. “We knew that coming in. We needed to have better discipline at the plate. We needed to put the ball in play. I think they (his players) were over anxious. I know we have a good hitting team.

 “It (adjustment) did happen,” Whitman continued. “They settled down a little bit. I think it was the third inning. I don’t want our team to rely on our three, four and five hitters to get us going. It’s everbody’s responsibility. And it was the second time through the lineup.”

 It was still a 1-0 game into the top of the third, when Palmyra struck for five runs to create a little distance between itself and the other Cougars.

 Palmtyra sent 11 hungry hitters to the dish during the rally, and the big blow – a two-run double – was struck by S. Krahling. Shayla Myers added a single RBI for Palmyra, while the other two Cougar runs scored on a throwing error and a wild pitch.

 “It’s (the result) important,” said Whitman. “This team’s good, and I think they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. It’s easy to overlook, but this team isn’t good enough to do that. They’re (his players) not at a tier where they can walk on the field and the other team caves. We’re not there yet. Every game in our conference is a must-win.

 “We’re really pleased that one-through-nine is a problem,” Whitman added. “The depth in the batting order is key to getting to the next tier. We expect one-through-five to do their jobs. But six-through-nine is going to win the conference. They can make us a championship team. We want to have an offense where you can’t take a batter off. I think we’re getting there.”

 The Cougars brought the mercy rule into play with a five-run, bottom of the fifth.

 Four of Palmyra’s first five batters in the inning – Kenzie Yingst, S. Krahling, Boyer and Brianna Michelson – smashed doubles. S. Kraeling and Boyer were credited with RBIs, as was Emily Kreider, who knocked home a teammate with a ground out.

 “I want to play everyone once,” said Whitman, when asked about the lay of the Keystone Division land. “We haven’t seen (Bishop) McDevitt yet and we haven’t seen Hershey yet. Check back with me after we played everyone once, and I’ll know where we stand.

 “(At the beginning of the season) we had our battery (A. Krahling and Boyer)  back, and that’s a big deal,” added Whitman. “There’s a lot of confidence there. Sara calls the game. I know they’re going to at least keep us in games. The focus was filling some holes. We’re still trying to figure some things out. We want to put up some runs. That takes some pressure off Krahling.”

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

School Division % Overall %
Palmyra Area High School 3-0-0 1.000 3-0-0 1.000
Bishop McDevitt High School 5-0-0 1.000 6-1-0 0.857
Mechanicsburg Area High School 3-1-0 0.750 3-1-0 0.750
Lower Dauphin High School 2-1-0 0.667 2-1-0 0.667
Susquehanna Township High School 3-2-0 0.600 4-2-0 0.667
Central Dauphin East High School 1-1-0 0.500 2-1-0 0.667
Harrisburg High School 0-0-0 0.000 0-0-0 0.000
Hershey High School 0-4-0 0.000 0-5-0 0.000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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