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SOFTBALL: Cedar Crest cruises at Lebanon, 11-0

The Cedar Crest softball team found the perfect remedy for its lack of offense so far this season. A visit to neighborhood rival Lebanon was all it took.

The Falcons (2-4) banged out seven hits, took advantage of eight walks, seven errors and a hit batter to post an 11-0 win over the Cedars in a Lancaster-Lebanon League crossover game on Monday afternoon that went five innings.

Cedar Crest pushed across five runs in the first frame and three in the second, after scoring a total of six runs over their previous five games. Lebanon (1-7), on the other hand, suffered its seventh straight defeat, since downing Milton Hershey 18-16 in its season opener. The Cedars also scored 11 runs in a 22-11 loss to Ephrata, but found the going much tougher against Crest junior right-hander Maddie Gable, who limited the Cedars to one hit with nine strikeouts. The Falcons also committed one error.

"This was the outcome we were looking for," Gable said. "It was good to see us get our bats going a little bit. This should give us some momentum heading into the rest of the season."

"It was definitely good to see," Cedar Crest coach Eric Edwards said. "We finally gave Maddie Gable the support she deserves. She's pitched great for us all season."

Lebanon's only hit came in the third inning on a clean grounder up the middle by catcher Emily Fake. The Cedars added a second runner in the inning when Ashley Kropf's grounder to short was muffed, before Gable got a strikeout to end the frame.

Crest's first inning started with an error, two walks and a fielder's choice, before first baseman Ashley Maulfair and center fielder Janelle Daullary stroked back-to-back hits. Two more errors accounted for further damage, before a base runner was thrown out to end it.

In Crest's second, more of the same followed, as senior Molly Finley and junior Emma Spang knocked hits to blow open the game.

The Cedars and starter Mariah Rodriguez settled down after that, but the runs had already come across.

"This was probably the best game Mariah pitched so far this year," Cedars coach Bob Norman said. "We just didn't give her the support. Our problem has been we get to two outs, then we have a hard time getting the third out."

Norman said part of the problem has been lack of practice time, a common complaint of teams this season due to bad weather early in the season.

"We really do need more practice," he said. "We're playing just about every day, which gives us one day of practice a week. We're a fairly inexperienced team, even though we've played eight games already this season.

"But the girls are working hard and learning the game. The problem is you can't stop a game after a mistake and correct it. They're getting the knowledge. It's just a matter of making the physical transition to a game. We'll be OK. We've got some games coming up where hopefully we'll be heard from again."

For Crest, time is also of the essence.

"We're getting close," Edwards said. "We've been in every game. It often comes down to one hit or one error. Like last Friday (in a 2-0 loss to Garden Spot), we made one error and it cost us two runs and the game."