Chambersburg's running game is solid, too
The unbeaten Chambersburg softball team has a lot of good things happening.
The Trojans can obviously hit - they are averaging 12.6 runs per game, and only two of their six games have gone past the fifth inning.
Chambersburg has a good, rangy defense that is normally steady.
And it has a stable of four above-average pitchers it can call on.
All of those factors were on display Monday afternoon at Norlo Park when the Trojans lit up State College 13-3 in five innings in a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game.
But so was another factor that could end up being as important as the others when Chambersburg does find itself in a close game: speed.
"We want to run and put pressure on the other team," Trojan coach Chris Skultety said. "If you allow them to just sit back on defense, they're comfortable. When we start running the bases, it makes them uncomfortable and benefits us."
How about this scenario? The Trojans (6-0, 4-0 MPC) scored two runs in the second inning on an error, stolen base, strikeout and bunt.
With one out, Alexis Estep reached first on an infield error, then stole second base. Taylor Myers struck out, but on the third strike the ball got away from Little Lions catcher McKenzie Shannon. Her throw to try to get Myers at first hit Myers and bounced away, allowing Estep to score and Myers to get to second.
Lexi Leedy then put down a sacrifice bunt, with Myers already running on the pitch. State College got Leedy at first base, but Myers was able to come all the way around to score.
Myers said, "We really have some fast girls on this team. A lot of teams start to throw the ball around when we start running. Scoring runs like that can really turn a game around, and I think it helped today."
"We do get thrown out sometimes," Skultety said, "so we know there is risk with reward. But I think almost everybody on the team might have a stolen base so far, even players on the bench."
State College starter Emma Wolfe threw nearly as many changeups as fastballs and had Chambersburg off-balance for a while. But in the third, already leading 3-0, the Trojans found their groove.
Leah Hunt and Caeley Etter led off with singles, followed by an RBI double by Dori Loukopoulos, a run-scoring single by Sam Bender and an RBI double by Estep. That finished off Wolfe. On reliever Emily Lieb's first pitch, Myers jacked the ball nearly to the fence in centerfield for a two-run triple, and she scored on a fielder's choice.
That made it 9-0. In the fifth, with a 10-3 lead, Hunt came up with the bases loaded and drilled a pitch to deep left-center to clear the bases and end the game.
Myers, who ended up with a double and triple while batting No. 9, said, "With their starter changing speeds, we had to guess on what pitch was coming. But we figured it out."
The question is, can other teams figure Chambersburg out?