ELIZABETHTOWN — Focus. Determination. Relaxation. FDR for short.
The Elizabethtown Bears softball team found these three tenets difficult to maintain Monday night in the midst of a sweeping rainstorm.
But Thursday afternoon — two days and 3 1/2 innings after rain postponed the remainder of Etown’s contest versus Section Two rival Garden Spot — Bears’ sophomore Jocelyn Zook calmly capped off what was an improbable comeback, plating Kirsten Mumma with a one-out double into right-centerfield to walk-off past the Spartans, 5-4, in eight innings.
“FDR,” Zook said, as to the reason she and her teammates were able to rally from a 4-0 deficit versus Garden Spot’s senior ace Taylor Martin. “We just had to chill-out and make sure we could hit the ball. We needed to relax up at the plate and make sure we didn’t get into our own heads.”
The win keeps Elizabethtown (13-4 overall, 10-3 Section Two) on top of the section standings, half a game ahead of idle Solanco and two games ahead of Garden Spot (10-6, 8-5).
“We actually simulated this (in practice),” explained Etown coach Gary Wylde. “We went through our order and we were just excited we had another day. Jocelyn’s at-bat was exactly what we were telling them we needed to do with such a good pitcher.”
In a scene that sounds straight out of the epic Hollywood blockbuster, 300, the Spartans took advantage of the driving rain and some sloppy defense by Etown in the fifth inning Monday, highlighted by Brandi Clark’s two-run triple off Bears’ pitcher Lauren Allison.
“The other night, it was a great game, it was uncanny the rain came the one half of the inning,” Wylde said. “They (Garden Spot) capitalized.”
Garden Spot’s 4-0 lead evaporated in a heartbeat Thursday, Etown denting the plate on Emily Brubaker’s bases-loaded groundout in the bottom of the fifth before a pair of errors doomed the Spartans in the sixth.
Mackenzie Peters (3-for-3, BB) singled with one out before nine-hole hitter Olivia Cook sacrificed to the pitcher Martin. But Martin’s throw was high at first base, pinch-runner Grace Eckert scoring on the overthrow.
After a strikeout, Mumma (4-for-5, 2R) slapped a triple over the left fielder’s head to plate Cook. Zook followed suit with a screaming liner off Martin, who recovered quickly but again threw high at first as Mumma came in to score.
“We were so pumped, honestly. I was so excited we were coming back,” Zook said. “At practice yesterday, we had that mentality that we were going to win from the beginning, so we were just ready.”
It was a tale of two games for Garden Spot, which got single hits from Martin (3-for-4) and Megan Fisher on Thursday. But the same could be said for Allison (6K, 3BB), who was in full control as the Bears rallied.
“All you can hope is that you come up in the last inning and have an opportunity,” Wylde said, while referencing his seven seniors. “I just feel confident in that leadership.”
The crucial showdowns come next week. Garden Spot hosts Solanco on Monday, while the Bears and Golden Mules make-up their rainout next Wednesday in Quarryville to likely decide the Section Two title.
Elizabethtown 5, Garden Spot 4 (F/8)
GS 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 — 4 08 4
ET 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 1 — 5 10 1
SO-BB — GS Taylor Martin 6-1; ET Lauren Allison 6-3
WP — Allison; LP — Martin
2B — ET 1 (Jocelyn Zook)
3B — GS 1 (Brandi Clark); ET 1 (Kirsten Mumma)