SOFTBALL: Warwick edges Penn Manor, 1-0
LITITZ - The Warwick Lady Warriors softball squad has the confidence to know that it only takes one.
Senior Vanessa Strohm got the key hit on Senior Night and freshman pitcher Amanda Herr out-dueled Penn Manor freshman Brittany Hook as the Lady Warriors repelled the Lady Comets of Penn Manor by the slimmest of margins, 1-0, Friday night in Lititz.
For Warwick (11-1 Section One, 14-1 overall), it was their second 1-0 victory in the past two weeks, both coming on the arm of the lefty Herr as well as the strong play of one of their two senior leaders in shortstop Strohm and centerfielder Ashley Royer.
Suffering through ten strikeouts in the first four innings, Warwick was able to scratch a lone run across in the fifth off Hook and Penn Manor (8-4, 9-5).
A two-out error provided all the opportunity the Lady Warriors needed, Mack Russell's chopper bouncing up on Comets' third-baseman Addy Long, bringing Strohm to the plate.
The senior came up huge, connecting on a high-heater for a triple to right centerfield, easily scoring Russell who was running on the pitch.
"Britt was hitting her spots throughout the game, and I just tried to stay inside and take it to right field," said Strohm, crediting her timing for her 2-for-3 night. "Once you hit it, it pretty much carries."
"There's not a time that I think that we're not going to get that hit, we're not going to push across the run we need to," said Warriors' head coach Mark Hough, who thought sending Russell was the right thing to do, "especially with how well Brittany was throwing."
Strohm's triple was the third extra-base hit in as many innings for Warwick, splitting Jo High's two-out double in the fourth and Nicole Mengel's rocket off the tarp in center coming with one-out in the sixth.
But after each of the three multi-baggers, Hook was able to end the Warriors' chances with a strike-out, finishing with fourteen in just six innings.
"These games are what fast-pitch softball is all about," said Comets' head coach Dave Stokes, regarding the all-freshman pitching matchup. "It's just fantastic to see the kids go at it like that. It's always going to be a 1-0, 2-1, who gets the key hit, who makes the key error. We had the error and they capitalized on it."
While Warwick managed five hits and a walk off Hook, Penn Manor finished with just two hits off Herr.
Three-hole batter Hook blooped a single over the first baseman in the first and clean-up batter Sam Duplissey grounded a hard single up the middle in the fourth. The third-baseman Long drove a medium-deep shot to right-center in the fifth which bounced in and out of the left fielder's glove for an error, marking the Comets' third and final baserunner.
In the latter case, Julia Tappany's sacrifice advanced pinch-runner Morgan Yingling to second, but Herr struck-out Hanna Greineder swinging on a high pitch to end the threat, one of Herr's seven strike-outs.
"She really knows how to battle and she gets the critical outs," said Strohm of her freshman pitcher.
Part of which can be credited to Warwick's infield defense of Russell at second, Strohm at short, and Mengel at third base. Russell corralled four groundballs in the first three innings, Herr forcing all nine of her ground-outs in the first five.
"They know how to really defend and make plays when they need to," Strohm said of the sophomores Russell and Mengel. "Amanda pitches outside, (Russell) really needs to make sure that she's there and she did really great."
Hook's deep shot to left found leather in the sixth, before Herr set-down the Comets in the seventh on a soft pop-up to first, a foul ball chased down in right field, and a strikeout to end the game.
"Our kids, I can't be any more proud with how they're at least maintaining their composure," Stokes said of the hard-luck loss. "We're in every game, it's just an eyelash away, but we've won a lot of one-run games this year which shows some character and integrity on their part."
The result for Warwick is a one-game lead in Section One ahead of Hempfield, a 3-2 winner over Cedar Crest in 12 innings Friday.
But as Warwick knows already, one is all it takes, even though it was Hempfield that gave Warwick their lone loss of the season by the same 3-2 extra-inning score.
"It's really great, we're really coming together and playing as a team," Strohm said. "Now we have to deal with Hempfield our last game of the season, so I'm looking forward to it."
Girls' High School Softball
L-L Section One
Warwick 1, Penn Manor 0
PM 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 1
WW 0 0 0 0 1 0 x - 1 5 1
WP-A. Herr; LP-B. Hook
K-BB-Hook (6IP, 14K, 1BB) and Sy. Duplissey; Herr (7IP, 7K, 0BB) and J. High
2B-WW 2 (N. Mengel, J. High)
3B-WW 1 (V. Strohm)