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SOFTBALL: Big second inning lifts Palmyra

PALMYRA >> For further proof that good things happen on the softball diamond when you simply put the ball in play, see Wednesday's Susquehanna Township-Palmyra matchup.

Palmyra did all its damage in one inning, the second, scoring eight runs on five hits and four costly Township errors en route to an 8-2 victory in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division clash at Palmyra Area High School.

The Cougars who were without head coach Kathy Wicker for unspecified reasons, sent 12 hitters to the plate in the decisive bottom of the second that helped them improve to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the Keystone.

Kayla Bonwaitz, Rebecca Randall and winning pitcher Cat Wicker each contributed RBI singles to the outburst and Township did its part with misplays aplenty in the field.

"It was great to string all those runs together," said Palmyra assistant coach Stacey Foust, running the show for the Cougars in Kathy Wicker's absence. "That's what I tell the girls, 'You put the ball in play and you make them do the work. If you go down looking at a strike or something you're not making them work.' We made them do the plays and unfortunately (for Township) they didn't all come out."

Randall drove home Bekah Sell with Palmyra's first run of the second and Bonawitz and Wicker added run-scoring hits later in the lengthy frame. In addition, a misplayed liner to center in Sell's second at-bat of the inning also contributed to the uprising, which provided more than enough cushion for senior ace Wicker and a sometimes suspect defense that was on its game on Wednesday.

Wicker worked around five walks and two hit batters to record the complete game win, and was ably supported defensively. The most notable glove work came when Randall and catcher Kailey Werkheiser turned a third-to-home-to-third double play to end the third, when Allison Hartman's two-run single provided the only Township runs.

"Today that wasn't the case," Foust said, referencing Palmyra's previous defensive difficulties. "Our errors were down and Cat pitched an awesome game. We pulled the double play, and the girls were on top of it today. The team was behind her to get the outs when we needed them."

Where the Cougars go from here remains to be seen, but Foust seemed optimistic that the team is heading in the right direction.

"I think we're gaining strength," Foust said. "I think every game I see improvement. I think we're just building and growing and continuing on that trend."

Whether Palmyra will continue with Foust leading the team also remains to be seen.

When questioned about Coach Wicker's absence Foust declined to comment, saying only that she would be coaching the team in today's game against Haarrisburg. There was also no word forthcoming from Palmyra's administration regarding the head coach's status.

"I have no comment on it," Foust said. "It was just good to see the girls come together and battle. It was fun to see them play."

Susq. Twp.0020000—244Palmyra080000x—862

W — Wicker; L — Hartman;

SO-BB — ST: Hartman (2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB), Krawczuk (4 IP, 3 K, 4 BB), P: Wicker (7 IP, 3 K, 5 BB)

2B — ST: Krawczuk;