Nicole Baker hit a two-run, walk-off single to help Elizabethtown beat rival Solanco, 7-6, on Friday, April 8, 2016. Daryl Simione, for GameTimePA.com
ELIZABETHTOWN — One out away from being sent into a wintry hibernation, the Bears broke through.
Playing in Elizabethtown's first night game at home this season, senior Nicole Baker’s two-run walk-off single helped Elizabethtown beat past Section Two rival Solanco, 7-6.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Payton Halbleib (3-for-4, 3 runs) worked a walk against Mares relief pitcher Hanna Phillips. Kirsten Mumma (2-for-5, 3 runs) singled to left, both runners advancing on a groundout to short.
Baker (3-for-4, BB, 4 RBIs) came to the plate having already brought home a pair of runners back in the first inning as the Bears tried to dig themselves out of an early hole. A four-year starter and one of five Etown captains, Baker grounded a hard single off the leg of Mares second baseman Kate Sheaffer, setting off a wild Bears’ celebration.
“I don’t have words, honestly,” Baker said afterwards. “We were just focused. We wanted that win so bad, and we came out and just got the job done.”
The win helps Etown (4-2 overall, 2-1 Section Two) rebound after a tough loss Wednesday to section leader Garden Spot. But it was especially sweet coming against the Bears biggest rivals.
“It means a lot considering every year except the year we won section (2014), they beat us,” Baker said. “Every time. Home, away. So beating them the first time (this season) felt awesome.”
Following-up a separate offensive outburst in Hempfield’s 6-2 afternoon victory over Penn Manor, Solanco’s bats got to Etown starter Lauren Allison for five runs in the first two innings. But Etown, which left the bases loaded three times on the night, scratched out two runs in the first and three runs in the fourth to tie the game.
Solanco (4-2, 2-1) took a 6-5 lead when Cait Armstrong (2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI) beat out a misplayed grounder at second base, allowing Bekah Borcky, who had tripled, to score.
In Hempfield’s victory, senior catcher Kylie Shreiner broke a 2-2 game in the sixth, crushing a bases-loaded double to left field off Comets’ pitcher Brittany Hook.
“It looked good, so I hit it,” Shreiner said, admitting to being nervous in the pressure situation. “(Hook) is a good pitcher, you never know what’s coming.”
Shreiner’s blast was the biggest of nine hits off Hook, who had pitched consecutive no-hitters earlier in the week.
“Everyone knew that she’s had some great games these past couple weeks,” said Hempfield coach Brian Lohr on Hook. “No-hitters are no-hitters, no matter where they come from. I like our attitude, (it’s) let’s go out here and do the job.”
Penn Manor scored in the top of the first inning on Morgan Yingling’s two-run single, answered in the bottom half with hits from Lauren Lichtenwalner (2-for-3, 2 runs), Kara Cook (2-for-3, 2 runs), and Gabi Turner (2-for-3, R, RBI).
Lichtenwalner earned the win for the Knights, giving up eight hits while tallying seven strikeouts and no walks.
Shreiner, in her first year playing high school ball, liked what she saw from Lichtenwalner. “(She was) obviously pretty good because we won, they only scored two,” Shreiner said. “I’ve known her for a while, so she’s comfortable with me, I’m comfortable with her.”
Hempfield 6, Penn Manor 2
Penn Manor_ 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 8 1
Hempfield 2 0 0 0 0 4 x — 6 9 0
SO-BB — PM Brittany Hook 6-1; HM Lauren Lichtenwalner 7-0
WP — Lauren Lichtenwalner (2-1)
LP — Brittany Hook (4-2)
2B — PM 2 (Brittany Hook, Julia Tappany); HM 1 (Kylie Shreiner)
Elizabethtown 7, Solanco 6
Solanco 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 — 6 13 4
Elizabethtown 2 0 0 3 0 0 2 — 7 12 2
SO-BB — SL Kalyn Burger 1-1, Hanna Phillips 3-4; ET Lauren Allison 4-0
WP — Allison
LP — Phillips
3B — SL 1 (Bekah Borcky)