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 BY JEFF FALK

 NEWVILLE – The Palmyra softball team has reached this point by constantly seeking to improve. But the way the Cougars have it figured, the only way to keep improving is to play teams better than themselves.

 There are no moral victories in the playoffs, but there are plenty of opportunities to get better.

 On a bright Wednessday evening at Big Spring High School, Palmyra competed admirably, got a little bit better, but endured a 5-2 setback at the hands of a talented Central Dauphin club, in the semifinal round of the Mid-Penn Conference playoffs. With the score deadlocked, the Rams mounted a three-run rally in the top of the sixth inning that proved to be decisive.

 It was the initial appearance in the Mid-Penn Conference tournament for the Cougars, who were crowned Mid-Penn Keystone Division champions for the first time in 28 years days earlier. Now 15-4 overall, Palmyra is expected to host a District Three opening round game, when Class AAAAA begins its tournament on Tuesday.

 Central Dauphin, the champions of the Commonwealth Division, moved to 17-2 on the spring and into Thursday’s Mid-Penn Conference title tilt. Back on April 27th in Linglestown, the Rams had completely overwhelmed Palmyra 12-0, in a non-league game in which the Cougars did not record a hit or a walk, and put only four balls in play.

 “We don’t play to keep it close,” said Palmyra head coach Tod Whitman. “It’s not like, ‘Hey, we only lost by three runs’ is acceptable. We wanted to make sure we improved over the last game. Hopefully, if we played them tomorrow there’d be more incremental improvement. No one gets better by playing lesser opponents.

 “The goal wasn’t to just make districts,” continued Whitman. “Our goal coming into this year was to host a district game. I think we have a fighting chance to win that game. It’s important to put ourselves in position to make a run. We want to approach it like, ‘What can we do to get better?’ I don’t want to go play a mediocre team. That’s what this program needs. We’re not going to sit around and be mediocre. It’s been a successful season, but we’re not done. Hopefully we can get confidence coming out of this.”|

 The contest was knotted at two when the Rams came to bat against Palmyra hurler Abbey Krahling in the top of the sixth inning. Central Dauphin plated three runs on four hits.

 Two of those safeties were an RBI-triple from Sam Burns and a run-scoring single by Abbey Hinson – both with two outs – after Tyler White had contributed an earlier sacrifice fly. The rally was touched off by Sam Gress’ lead-off triple and continued by a Kyler Nelson single.

 “I don’t like to go there. It’s negative motivation,” said Whitman of approaching the contest as an underdog. “We didn’t want to approach it like we had to be perfect to win the game. We didn’t have to be perfect, but if we weren’t focused, it was going to get handed to us. We got it to 2-2, and you don’t know what’s in their (the Rams’) minds. You don’t know if there’s pressure on them. But we gained confidence.

 “Abbey (Krahling) stayed tough,” Whitman continued. “There was some mental toughness to her performance. I think the girls got fired up when we scored our runs. We put more balls in play this time. We fouled more balls off.”

 Palmyra certainly encountered its share of difficulties with Central Dauphin’s hard-throwing starter Gress, and her mesmerizing change-up. Gress retired the first ten Cougar batters she faced, until Kenzie Yingst’s ringing single to left, with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

 Yingst would come around to score on a Central Dauphin throwing error, and teammate Sara Boyer’s run-scoring grounder tied the score at two. But Yingst’s hit would prove to be the only one Palmyra could muster off of Gress, as she also retired the last ten hitters she encountered.

 Gress struck out 11 and walked one.

 “Certainly. Absolutely,” said Whitman, when asked if the April 27th meeting in Linglestown played a role in the second contest. “It was in the back of everybody’s mind. We didn’t do anything differently, hitting-wise. But I thought the kids were really confident coming in.

 “I thought Abbey stuck to the game plan,” added Whitman. “She pitched to her strengths and pitched to their weaknesses. Sometimes she tries to do too much. She’s had her share of strikeouts this year, but she knows she has a defense behind her. That was her game plan.”

 Two Cougar errors led to two unearned runs for Central Dauphin in the top of the opening frame. White and Nelson picked up RBIs for the Rams.

 A. Krahling finished what she started, surrendered seven hits, fanned five and did not issue a free pass.

 “I didn’t see nervousness before the game,” said Whitman. “That’s where we wanted them to be. Defensively, we didn’t see a couple of those errors all season. But I wouldn’t put it on nerves. Sometimes balls don’t bounce the way you expect them to.

 “I want them (the Rams) again tomorrow,” continued Whitman. “The improvement from the first game to this one was measurable. Part of the process is playing good teams like them, and playing better.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2019 Palmyra Softball Results

Date Opponent Outcomes
3/264:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 5 – 3
3/284:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 8 – 5
4/14:15p
Location: Mechanicsburg High School
(W) 6 – 3
4/34:15p
Location: Central Dauphin East High School
(W) 10 – 3
4/611:00a
Location: Lampeter-Strasburg High School
(L) 11 – 0
4/94:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 11 – 0
4/114:15p
Game Details: Pink Game
(W) 4 – 2
4/124:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 3 – 0
4/154:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 2 – 1 (8)
4/174:15p
Location: Susquehanna Township High School
(W) 5 – 1
4/234:15p
Location: Lower Dauphin High School
(W) 12 – 0
4/254:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 3 – 2
4/277:00p
Game Details: at Dauphin Middle Paxton Community Park
(L) 12 – 0
4/294:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 15 – 5
5/14:15p
Location: Harrisburg High School
(W) 19 – 1
5/34:00p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 6 – 5
5/76:30p
Location: Hershey High School
(W) 10 – 3
5/94:15p
Location: Bishop McDevitt High School
(L) 2 – 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Lampeter Strasburg 19- 0- 0  0.809462  1.000000  0.576582  22.9  207.8  0.0  152.6
2 Spring Grove 18- 1- 0  0.797072  0.965358  0.591389  20.9  218.4  0.8  150.9
3 Donegal 19- 0- 0  0.785567  1.000000  0.523482  19.9  190.1  0.0  173.0
4 Twin Valley 18- 2- 0  0.764056  0.924444  0.568027  20.8  212.3  1.7  161.5
5 Daniel Boone 16- 3- 0  0.737328  0.870229  0.574894  17.1  209.8  2.6  155.1
6 Palmyra 15- 3- 0  0.735818  0.871212  0.570336  17.3  197.7  2.6  148.9
7 Greencastle Antrim 14- 3- 0  0.731036  0.856338  0.577889  15.2  185.3  2.6  135.4
8 Exeter Township 15- 5- 0  0.721163  0.807870  0.615186  17.5  226.9  4.2  141.9
9 Northeastern 14- 5- 0  0.711490  0.796992  0.606987  15.9  222.4  4.1  144.0
10 Cedar Cliff 13- 7- 0  0.697605  0.740654  0.644989  15.9  242.0  5.6  133.2
11 Northern York 17- 3- 0  0.686979  0.872596  0.460113  18.2  166.4  2.7  195.3
12 Governor Mifflin 14- 6- 0  0.679495  0.758454  0.582988  15.7  218.3  5.0  156.2
13 Manheim Central 15- 5- 0  0.668709  0.780303  0.532315  15.5  202.2  4.4  177.7
14 Elizabethtown 12- 8- 0  0.656863  0.695238  0.609961  14.6  235.8  6.4  150.8
15 Waynesboro 14- 6- 0  0.652809  0.746341  0.538492  15.3  205.0  5.2  175.7
16 Mechanicsburg 13- 7- 0  0.646001  0.715962  0.560493  15.3  211.3  6.1  165.7
17 Solanco 12- 7- 0  0.642182  0.717557  0.550056  14.1  197.3  5.6  161.4
18 New Oxford 12- 8- 0  0.626029  0.668317  0.574343  13.5  215.4  6.7  159.6
19 Garden Spot 12- 8- 0  0.602086  0.628272  0.570080  12.0  220.5  7.1  166.3
20 Shippensburg 9- 8- 0  0.590576  0.577039  0.607121  9.6  198.7  7.0  128.6
21 South Western 9- 11- 0  0.550574  0.520513  0.587316  10.2  229.2  9.4  161.1
22 Lower Dauphin 7- 12- 0  0.508201  0.436031  0.596408  8.4  214.2  10.8  145.0
23 Susquehannock 6- 12- 0  0.467035  0.380952  0.572247  6.4  194.9  10.4  145.7
24 Muhlenberg 4- 11- 0  0.464221  0.322344  0.637626  4.4  185.9  9.3  105.7
25 Gettysburg 7- 12- 0  0.449879  0.379135  0.536344  7.5  203.7  12.2  176.1
26 Hershey 5- 14- 0  0.447363  0.329700  0.591173  6.1  213.7  12.3  147.8
27 Cocalico 6- 14- 0  0.429321  0.310160  0.574961  5.8  220.9  12.9  163.3
28 Ephrata 3- 17- 0  0.404324  0.215517  0.635089  3.8  249.1  13.7  143.1
29 Dover 3- 15- 0  0.384528  0.199387  0.610813  3.3  210.7  13.1  134.3
30 Red Land 2- 16- 0  0.377231  0.154362  0.649626  2.3  234.5  12.6  126.5
31 Milton Hershey 1- 13- 0  0.294053  0.090580  0.542742  1.3  141.0  12.6  118.8
32 William Penn 0- 18- 0  0.262899  0.000000  0.584219  0.0  200.7  17.8  142.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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