MYERSTOWN – Seven innings of pressure.
That is what the Annville-Cleona softball team tries to bring against its opponent in each game. Stealing. Running for extra bases on hits to the outfield. Forcing the defense to make throws.
On Friday, it resulted in a 10-0 Lancaster-Lebanon League crossover win at Elco, a victory in which the Dutchmen (6-3, 6-3) had seven hits but also took advantage of 10 errors by the Raiders (3-8, 2-7).
“That's how we've got to play,” A-C coach Melvin Dorta said. “I told the girls that we are going to be aggressive on the bases. That's how I played when I played baseball, and that's how I want the girls to play softball.”
The Dutchmen stole six bases, had five runners advance two bases on singles, and even had one runner move from first to third on a sacrifice bunt.
While her teammates were circling the bases, Kayla Grubb pitched a five-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking one.
“She was good,” Dorta said. “She was aggressive today, keeping the ball down when she needed to.”
Elco's Sarah Yermalovich pitched well, also. She allowed seven hits, struck out 10 and walked three. She probably deserved a closer result than the final score indicated, but nine of the 10 runs were unearned.
“We have to play better defense,” Elco coach Randy Derr said. “We can't continue to give teams four, five, six outs in an inning.”
The Dutchmen's aggressiveness paid off the most in the top of the seventh inning, as the visitors capped off the game with a six-run rally that included five errors. But not everything was Raider miscues. Morgan Zimmerman had an RBI single, and Destiny Loy had a two-run base hit.
In the first six innings, though, Elco had chances to put A-C in some trouble.
Down just 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Elco had runners and second and third with one out after a double to left by Yermalovich. Grubb got a pop out and a grounder to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Raiders had runners at second and third with two outs in the sixth, but Grubb evaded damage there with a strikeout.
“We didn't put the ball in play,” Derr said.
The Dutchmen took a 1-0 lead in the first when Amber Rexrode singled to center to score Lauren Schrader.
A-C increased its lead to 2-0 in the fourth when Zimmerman scored on Loy's infield grounder.
In the fifth, the Dutchmen added two more runs. Zoee Garis led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on an errant throw, and scored when a pitch on an attempted suicide squeeze was high. With two outs, Zimmerman made it to second on a infield error, stole third and came around on an off-target throw.