If the Chambersburg softball team goes on to achieve some of the success it expects this season, it may look back on one swing as a big reason why.
The Trojans, mired in an unexpected three-game losing skid, found themselves trailing Mifflin County 3-0 in the second inning Tuesday in a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game at Norlo Park.
The first two batters in the bottom of the second inning made outs. Heads were down. The dugout was subdued. It did not look good. Laken Myers perked things up a little with a base hit.
Then Sammie Bender absolutely mashed a no-doubt home run to left-centerfield ... and everything changed.
Chambersburg went on to take a 7-4 victory that had a huge feeling of relief attached to it.
"It definitely lifted the team," Bender agreed. "The last three games, we've been hitting, but not consistently. We've been waiting for that big hit to lift us out that hole we were in.
"You could see right away that in the dugout, we were our old selves again."
The Trojans had just come through a three-game stretch of losing games 9-2 to Cedar Cliff, 9-1 to Cumberland Valley and 4-3 to Central York - all good teams - but not what anybody expected to see. Especially an offense that produced only six runs total.
Chambersburg coach Chris Skultety said, "We had 28 hits combined in those three games, so it's not like we weren't hitting. We just weren't getting that hit that made a big difference.
"We had nine hits against Cedar Cliff and 10 against (CV's Jen) Hanshaw, and another nine yesterday against a good pitcher from Central York. But except for one (solo) home run, they were all singles and we couldn't put them together."
Bender's blast was just what the doctor ordered.
"Her home run was that spark we needed to get us going," Skultety said.
Bender said, "She left the pitch on the outside middle, and I was just trying to get the barrel on the ball."
Mission accomplished. The ball sailed over the fence with plenty of room to spare.
In the very next inning, Chambersburg took the lead with two runs, Taylor Myers started it with a double and the runs scored on a grounder by Alexis Estep and a single by Dori Loukopoulos.
In the fifth, three runs scored when base hits by Caeley Etter and Estep sandwiched a walk to Leah Hunt to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in one run and Laken Myers' single brought in two more.
That was enough support for Myers, who allowed nine hits, but only two earned runs.