HERSHEY — Put on some pink socks, don a pink visor, and knock the cover off the ball.
Palmyra’s straightforward approach at the plate paid early dividends Thursday evening for a squad that has been battling a bit of an offensive drought throughout much of the season.
But the Cougars plated a pair of first-inning runs against Keystone Division rival Hershey and never looked back, surviving the Trojans' late push to win 12-8 in the second annual “Pink-Out game” between the two clubs in support of Vickie’s Angels and Breast Cancer Awareness.
Decked out in pink, every player in the lineup had at least one hit, with the Cougars finishing the contest with 19 hits against Hershey starter Lauren Kroutch (6K, BB).
Molly Nelson, Payge Coburn, Sara Boyer and Meagan Quigley led the way with three hits apiece. Boyer scored three runs and brought-in Coburn for the game’s first run with a hard single up the middle. Rebecca Randall (2-for-5, 4 RBI) followed suit with an RBI single that scored courtesy runner Mackenzie Yingst for an early 2-0 cushion.
Nelson contributed the biggest blow perhaps, with a two-run triple in the third inning to cap a four-run rally and give Palmyra and starter Abbey Krahling (7IP, 7K, 4BB) a seemingly safe 6-2 lead.
“Probably a lot of pent-up energy,” said Palmyra coach Tod Whitman of what made the offense click against Hershey. “They got it in the right frame of mind yesterday at practice, which was really kind of cool to see them not go the other direction. I think they were just anxious to prove that the practice did some good.”
“What coach tells me has been showing in my game,” Nelson said. “Your teammates feel like they believe in you, your coach believes in you and it just makes you feel really good. You get up there (to the plate) and you’re not so nervous. You go out there and kind of amaze yourself.”
Against hard-hitting Hershey, every run mattered.
The Trojans tallied a pair in the second inning, temporarily knotting the score, and scored six runs in the final three innings, including three in the bottom of the seventh to close the gap.
“They put up runs all season,” Whitman said of Hershey. “Abbey put the ball where she needed to. She’s been working on her game-face so that nothing bothers her. When it started raining (in the second inning) she walked that first batter, and she had to power through that. She’s done a tremendous amount of growing this season and she’s in a really good place from that standpoint.”
Palmyra added four crucial runs in the top of the seventh as Boyer knocked in two with a drive off the centerfielder’s glove before Randall doubled home the rest.
“I definitely think that we didn’t need anything big,” Nelson said, regarding a tack-on mindset at the plate. “Just some singles and get on base. Everyone is contributing and we brought out what we wanted to do in the game.”
After a performance like Thursday, pink socks and visor may be in vogue in Palmyra’s camp for a little while.
“You know, they’re teenage girls so I can’t predict anything that they want to do,” Whitman said with a laugh. “It wouldn’t shock me and I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”
“Maybe I will wear my pink bow,” Nelson suggested. “I know a lot of people on our team have been effected by breast cancer. There’s not a cure for breast cancer but maybe you can play for (those effected) and I think that definitely showed in our game. I think we definitely can put some smiles on some peoples’ faces.”