Observations from Trojans' season opener
Check out the best plays from Chambersburg's five-inning victory against Waynesboro in the Trojans' softball season-opener. Video by Lizi Arbogast, GameTimePA.com
Crowds flocked to Norlo Park on Monday afternoon for Chambersburg's softball season opener.
And the reigning District 3 champions didn't disappoint.
Although it was admittedly a bit sloppy, the Trojans secured a 19-9 victory over Waynesboro in five innings to start the year off in non-league action.
"People are excited, and they want to see what we're about and if we can do it again," Chambersburg coach Chris Skultety said. "We're carrying a community that wants somebody to be successful, and these girls want to step up and meet the challenge."
Hit me with your best shot: Coming off a loss against Lower Dauphin, the Maidens (0-2) were gunning for the Trojans, and they certainly won't be the only ones.
"We expect it because we went so far last year," Chambersburg senior Dori Loukopoulos said. "We have a bullseye on our back. We're prepared mentally to do it, because we know it's definitely going to be tougher than last year."
Waynesboro jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a fine offensive effort.
After drawing a pair of walks to start, the Maidens strung together three straight singles from Abby Ebersole, Jenna Powell and Mac Miller, respectively.
"We're going to take everyone's best shot, but I don't anticipate being down 3-0 ever again," Skultety said. "Our pitchers are good enough that they should dominate, maybe give up a run or two here and there, but we're too good of a pitching staff to be in a hole like that."
'Boro's offense is ridiculous: Despite facing some of the best pitchers in the district in its first two games, Waynesboro's offense is off to an excellent start, as predicted by coach Aaron Burke.
In 12 innings of action, the Maidens have notched 19 hits. They had nine against the Trojans, including two apiece for Ebersole, Powell and Hannah Wile.
"We stay aggressive when we're seeing pitches," Burke said. "We don't swing at bad pitches, so we force you to come into the zone. We also take the approach of using all fields when we hit. We take pride in our hitting, and it shows."
Luckily for Burke's Maidens, they've prepared themselves early. By facing the likes of Sammie Bender and Loukopoulos for Chambersburg and Ava Bottiglia for LD, it should bode well for future competition.
Pitching woes: Heading into the season, Waynesboro's biggest question mark was pitching. That question was prominent during Monday's game when three Maidens pitchers combined to allow 19 runs on 14 hits, six walks and five hit batters.
"That was unheard of from (starting pitcher Caitlyn Pollock)," Burke said. "With a team like Chambersburg, which was almost giving us plays right back, I just don't think we played a real good game defensively, and that includes the pitching."
The Trojans struggled early on, as well, as Bender allowed eight hits and four walks in three innings of work.
"That's probably a day she hasn't had in her life," Skultety said. "She just couldn't throw strikes, but we're really working on mental toughness as a team. As a team captain, she stayed up and stayed positive for her team."
Monster hitting: While Waynesboro flexed its muscles at the plates, Chambersburg let out a lion's roar.
The Trojans got hits from all but one batter and had five players with multiple hits. Lexi Leedy, Leah Hunt, Loukopoulos and Taylor Myers each had two hits, while Alexis Estep led the way by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
"If there was a pitch there, I wanted to hit it," Estep said. "Last year, I didn't have as many chances to hit, and my first at bat, I was just trying to move my runners around. We had too many walks, so I wanted to move 'em."
Skultety said, "Our 8 and 9 hitters (Myers and Estep) had five hits. Taylor's thing is to put the ball on the ground and run, and she didn't even have to do that. It rolls through this lineup, and it's contagious."