MANHEIM — The Donegal Lady Indians are perfectly happy with a step-by-step approach.
Building toward a potential L-L League tournament berth, the Lady Indians took a mental leap forward by shutting-out the Lady Barons of Manheim Central, 6-0, Monday evening.
The win not only avenged an early season loss to the Barons (12-5 overall, 11-2 Section Three) but also evened up the race for second place in Section Three behind unbeaten Lampeter-Strasburg.
“We knew we had to step it up to how we were playing (in previous games),” said sophomore Savanna Kolenda, who scored a pair of runs and helped turn a nifty double play from her position at shortstop.
“(Coach Emenheiser) was saying that we needed to (take) step two, step three, from our previous games, so this is kind of like step six. Now we have L-S Monday and that’s just one extra step to leagues.”
STEPS ONE & TWO
Kolenda led off the first inning for the Indians (14-3, 11-2 Section Three) with a single to left field off Barons’ pitcher Maddie Walter.
In a prototypical bunt situation, freshman Morgan Biesecker sacrificed Kolenda to second base. But Kolenda kept hustling to third, the throw from first base eluding third-baseman Codie Bollinger and allowing the Indians’ leadoff batter to score on the play.
“We’ve been working on bunts a lot at practice,” Biesecker said. “I knew if I got it down Savanna would move and do something because she’s good on the base paths.”
“That was a really crucial part of the game,” Kolenda said of the first inning sacrifice. “Kind of like an eye opener.”
STEPS THREE & FOUR
With the Indians ahead 1-0, nine-hole batter Grace Miller led off the third inning with a single before stealing second base. Biesecker followed with an RBI single just out of the reach of a diving Reagan Rohrer in centerfield.
The Indians tallied all six of their runs on innings the leadoff batter reached base.
“(Coach Emenheiser) makes it really important that we always have to score our lead batter,” Kolenda offered.
STEPS FIVE & SIX
Donegal put the game away in the fifth inning, McKenna Berg leading off with a single and the Indians loading the bases on Miller’s fielder’s choice and Kolenda’s infield hit to short.
Biesecker (2-for-3, R, 3RBI) followed with a two-run knock to left field, plating Berg and a slip-sliding Miller for a 4-0 lead.
“If I hit it hard, I was hoping for a mistake or something,” said Biesecker, who was familiar with the Baron’s Walter after having played on the same club team last year. “I wasn’t going for a homerun swing, just something to get the runners in.”
Peighton Hornick followed with a long sacrifice fly to centerfield before Makyla Yoder’s single plated Biesecker with the final run.
Yoder, meanwhile, started in the circle for the Indians, facing the minimum batters through six innings. The Barons’ first hit came in the fourth on a Rohrer line-drive to centerfield, but was immediately erased when Kolenda snared Walter’s hot-shot at short and threw-out Rohrer at first.
“I threw it back and thank God (first-baseman Natalie Orr) found that bag,” Kolenda said, “because I’m sure everybody saw her trying to find it with her foot. That was exciting.”
Like her teammates, however, Orr knew it was only a step away.
Donegal 6, Manheim Central 0
DN 1 0 1 0 4 0 0 — 6 10 0
MC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 03 1
SO-BB — DN Makyla Yoder 8-0; MC Maddie Walter 0-0
WP — Yoder; LP — Walter