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Palmyra softball 032BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Baby steps.

Palmyra is a softbal team which is looking to improve and whose margins for succes are thin. This was exactly the kind of game the Cougars needed to win.

On a summer-like Saturday afternoon at Palmyra High School, that symbolic step forward eluded the Cougars, when they dropped a tight 2-1 decision to Hershey, in the rivals’ annual Pink Game. Palmyra experienced difficulties squaring up balls throughout the contest, and the Trojans scratched out the decisive run in the top of the seventh inning.

Palmyra softball 041It was another chapter in what has been a back-and-forth spring for the Cougars. The result left Palmyra 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference.

Hershey is now 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the division.

The game was completed in a neat hour and 15 minutes.

The Cougars’ lack of offense wasted a solid pitching effort by starter Abbey Krahling.

Palmyra softball 026“It’s a long season. But I didn’t know that,” said Palmyra head coach Tod Whitman, when told a win would’ve put his club into a tie for first place in the division. “We talk about our schedule and try to find out what our goals are. We want to compete in our division and get to districts. If we win the division, we’ll get into districts, and the division is pretty wide open.

“I  was waiting for the bats to come around,” Whitman continued. “I wasn’t worried about that first run (that Hershey scored). I believed they (his players) were going to get the hits when they needed to. I’m not sure they had the same belief. One run is no big deal. I was calm. It is what it is. But our hitting needs to come around a little more.”

With the score deadlocked at one, the Trojans pushed across the winning run in the top of the seventh.

Claire Sheppard led off with a single that was misplayed in the Palmyra outfield. With Sheppard at third base, Kat Ecker slapped a one-out single that scored her.

Neither of the runs Krahling yielded were earned. Over her seven innings of work, the righthander surrendered four hits, struck out seven and walked one.

“Abbey’s been doing well,” said Whitman of Krahling. “We tried a little new strategy with her. It’s not where it needs to be yet. But she’s been a bull dog. She’s been the leader we need in the circle.

“She doesn’t let things affect her,” continued Krahling. “She has that aura about her, that’s a very positive for the team. It hasn’t always been that way for her. She has a little ways to go. But I thought she was in control. I didn’t think she was going to give up big innings.”

Down an early run, the Cougars tied it in the bottom of the fifth.

Palmyra softball 015The rally was started by singles from Megan Quigley and Karli Faver. Then, following a fielder’s choice, Faver raced all the way home on a Trojan error.

“Hitting’s an issue,” said Whitman. “The last four games we’ve been hitting a lot of ground balls. There’s some confidence issues. But that’s the game. They (his players) have to believe they’re capable of digging out of it. If you don’t beleive you can’t come back, it’s harder to. But the defense was good.

“It’s timing, but we’ve faced faster pitchers,” added Whitman. “We’re having trouble lifting the ball. We talk about the launch angle. When the girls are feeling strong, they’re hitting line drives.”

Palmyra softball 012Hershey starter Ecker also went the distance, to get the win. She also gave up Payge Coburn’s one-out single in the first, Quigley’s two-out double in the second and Krahling’s two-out single in the fourth, struck out four and walked none.

“She threw strikes,” said Whitman of Ecker. “She kept the ball outside. She had a nice change-up. Their defense played really well today. When a team’s not hitting, you can keep the ball over the plate and let the defense take care of you.”

Hershey tallied the first run of the game in the top of the third inning, after Lauren Kroutch coaxed a one-out walk.

On a sacrifice bunt from Kit Olmsted, Kroutch made it easily to scored base and simply kept running to third. And when the Palmyra throw to third base skipped away, Kroutch waltzed home easily.

“Last year that flag went up a little more than expected,” said Whitman of a 5-15 campaign in 2017. “These girls were not happy today. They were upset. They want the ‘W’ flag.

Palmyra softball 004“They’re responsible for that flag,” Whitman added. “If they don’t want to run that ‘L’ flag up, they’ve got work to do. The culture’s been set. They owned it today. They understand what happened today. They care.”

The Pink Game is played to raise awareness about breast cancer. One in eight women in the United States will contract breast cancer.

But because of early detection, survival rates continue to rise. Mammograms save lives.

“The Pink Game is something we started three years ago,” said Whitman. “We always do it with Hershey. It’s a cause that’s important to me, and it’s a cause that’s important to Hershey. I’ve got some history with it. In terms of adding more energy to the game, I’m not sure it does that. Most of the meaning is pre-game.”




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




2018 Palmyra Softball Schedule

03/24 *
Bishop McDevitt
12:00 PM
04/05 *
@Lower Dauphin
4:15 PM W 15-5
11:30 AM L 6-10
Big Spring
4:15 PM W 5-4
04/10 *
4:15 PM L 4-10
04/12 *
CD East
4:15 PM W 4-0
04/14 *
12:00 PM L 1-2
04/17 *
4:15 PM Harrisburg High School
04/19 *
4:15 PM Hershey High School
12:00 PM Palmyra High School
04/23 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
4:15 PM Susquehanna Twp. High School
04/24 *
@Bishop McDevitt
4:15 PM Bishop McDevitt High School
04/26 *
Susquehanna Twp.
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
9:00 AM Annville-Cleona High School
05/01 *
Lower Dauphin
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
05/03 *
4:15 PM Mechanicsburg High School
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
05/08 *
@CD East
4:15 PM CD East High School
05/10 *
4:15 PM Palmyra High School

 Keystone Division Standings

Lower Dauphin 4-1 5-2
Mechanicsburg 4-1 4-2
Bishop McDevitt 3-1 7-1
Hershey 3-3 4-4
Palmyra 2-2 3-3
Susquehanna Twp. 2-3 2-3
CD East 1-2 1-4
Harrisburg 0-6 0-7









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