SOFTBALL: Sloppy defense costs Cougars in 10-8 loss
PALMYRA >> Scoring runs hasn't been a major problem for the Palmyra softball team this season. Defense, now that's another matter.
The Cougars collected 14 hits and scored eight runs on Saturday afternoon in non-league action at home against Elizabethtown, but six errors were too much to overcome in a 10-8 loss to the Bears in nine innings.
Left-handed lead-off hitter Kirsten Mumma proved to be the difference maker in this one. The sophomore center fielder reached base five times, stole four bases, scored two runs and, most importantly, drove in the winning runs with a two-run triple in the ninth to lead E-town to its fifth win against three losses.
Palmyra, led by Hannah Phillippy's 4-for-5 and Kayla Bonawitz's 3-for-4 with three RBIs, saw its record move to 3-3 on the year as tough-luck pitcher Cat Wicker took the loss.
"This one we should have won," coach Kathy Wicker said. "Catherine pitched well enough to win. We got plenty of hits. We had 14 hits, which means we left how many runners on base? Errors did us in. It would have been a good one to win for our power rating."
Palmyra broke on top with four runs in the first inning to take a 4-2 lead as Bri Long drove in Phillippy, who doubled, and Bonawitz, who singled, with a sharp single past third. Bekah Sell's bunt was then thrown out of play to account for Palmyra's other two runs, with Kailey Werkheiser, who walked, and Long scoring.
It would be the only E-town error on the day as left-handed pitcher Lauen Allison settled down after the first inning.
Palmyra added a single run in the second on Bonawitz's RBI single, before the Bears added four runs in the fifth on the strength of just one hit. Mumma singled to open the inning. A hit batter, a walk and three errors led to the Bears taking a 7-5 lead.
Their lead grew to 8-5 in the sixth after a lead-off walk to Autumn Walker. Mumma sacrifice bunted her to second, and a bunt single by Emily Brubaker allowed Walker to score.
Palmyra answered with three in the sixth to tie the game. Paige Coburn hit a one-out single, followed by a single by Phillippy and a two-run triple by Bonawitz, who then scored on Werkheiser's RBI single.
The Bears' winning rally in the ninth started with a one-out single by Allison. Regan Wolgenmuth drew the sixth walk of the game off Wicker to set up Mumma, who slapped a line drive into center that went for a two-run triple.
The Cougars managed only a walk in the ninth, before Allison registered her third strikeout to end the game.
"Kirsten (Mumma) makes things happen for us," E-town coach Gary Wylde said. "When she gets on base, she puts a lot of pressure on defenses with her speed. She's a classic triple-threat lead-off hitter. She can bunt down the third base line for a hit, drag bunt for a hit or slap it where there's an opening."
Wicker agreed with that assessment.
"We tried shifting our defense against (Mumma) in the ninth," Wicker said. "We brought the outfielders in, because she's not going to hit it over anybody's head. But she found a hole and it got past our center fielder."
W — Allison; L — Wicker;
SO-BB — E: Allison (3 K, 2 BB), P: Wicker (6 K, 6 BB);
2B — P: Phillippy;
3B — P: Bonawitz, E: Mumma;