Penn Manor's Brittany Hook tossed her second no-hitter of the week in the Comets' 5-0 win over Manheim Township on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Video by John Buffone.
MILLERSVILLE — Past successes don’t provide much more than confidence in ball-and-stick sports, but for the Penn Manor softball team, that confidence is bringing similar fortunes.
Benefiting from solid defense and an aggressive approach on the base paths, Comets’ pitching ace Brittany Hook tossed her second consecutive no-hitter Wednesday in a 5-0 victory over section one foe Manheim Township Wednesday afternoon.
With Township senior Reilly Gearhart matching Hook pitch for pitch, Danielle Wright and Hook drew back-to-back walks, each scoring on separate passed ball / wild pitches, as the Comets tallied four runs in the fourth.
From there, Hook and the defense shut the door with 13 strikeouts and eight groundball outs, the sophomore pitcher accruing 15 straight no-hit innings after Monday’s no-hitter at Warwick.
“A lot of talent goes into throwing no-hitters,” began Penn Manor coach Dave Stokes, “but then you also have to have a little luck, get some umpire calls, kids have to make some plays in the field, and that’s what happened tonight.
“Great effort by Brittany, back-to-back efforts like that, they’re good, but also it doesn’t happen all the time.”
Wright’s walk came after Gearhart (6IP, 3H, 12K, 2BB) had struck out seven of the first ten batters she faced.
“It was obviously really big for us to get a walk right there,” Wright said. “I think it gave us the confidence to get up to bat and start hitting, get some players on. Just that first run really started us off and helped us get to 5-0.”
After Wright and Hook scored on passed balls—Jennifer Breton’s Blue Streaks being without the services of regular starting catcher Nicole Moldenhauer due to a concussion—Morgan Yingling doubled down the line for the game’s first hit.
Yingling stole third and scored on an RBI grounder from Bri Wood-Hickey, who later scored on Addy Long’s perfect squeeze bunt.
“Our offense, it definitely gave us confidence,” Hook said. “We need that confidence to go on for the rest of the season and I think we’re getting there.”
Pam Perez’ RBI single up the middle scored Abby Busswood (1-for-2, R, two stolen bases) in the fifth for the final margin.
CLOSING THE DOOR
While Gearhart reached base in the first on a strikeout-passed ball and in the third on an error for Township’s only baserunners, the Comets made all the fundamental plays from then on.
Hook made a play to her right look easy to open the fifth, and first baseman Yingling fielded a ground ball at first and tossed to Busswood to end the frame. Shortstop Julia Tappany and third-baseman Long each made long throws in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to nab speedy runners.
“Last year we wouldn’t have made any of those plays,” Hook said. “I’m pleased with my defense right now.”
For what it’s worth, Wright grabbed the lone fly ball on a very windy day.
“She’s just such a great pitcher, it’s hard to stay focused,” Wright said of Hook. “You just have to be on your toes all the time and get ready for any ball that may come.”
Township (3-3) hosts Warwick (1-4) on Friday, while the Comets (4-1) look to extend their fortunes when they travel to Hempfield (2-1).
Penn Manor 5, Manheim Township 0
MT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 0 2
PM 0 0 0 4 1 0 x — 5 3 2
SO-BB — MT Reilly Gearhart 12-2; PM Brittany Hook 13-0
WP — Brittany Hook (4-1)
LP — Reilly Gearhart (2-1)
2B — PM 1 (Morgan Yingling)