Elco rallies past Northern Lebanon, 8-6
The Raiders trailed 4-0 in the first inning before rallying for an 8-6 victory with the help of a five-run fifth inning.
Good things tend to happen to teams don't give up. On the flip side, bad things tend to happen to teams that let teams that don't give up hang around.
And so it was for the Elco and Northern Lebanon softball teams Wednesday.
The host Raiders fell in a 4-0 first-inning hole and later trailed by scores of 5-0 and 6-2 before using a six-run fifth-inning outburst as the spark for an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over NL in a battle of struggling county rivals at Elco Middle School.
Losers of four straight heading into the day, Elco (2-4, 1-3 Section Three) appeared headed for a fifth straight defeat after the Vikings (2-6, 1-4) jumped on Elco starter Amaya Phillips for four runs in the top of the first with the help of RBI singles from Taylor Shollenberger and Haley Fegley.
But despite ample opportunity to do so, Elco never put its head down, riding strong relief pitching by Sarah Yermalovich and Sara Bentz's go-ahead two-run single in the fifth to the comeback win.
"Not giving up," Elco coach Randy Derr said, when asked the key to his club's victory. "We've been struggling with staying in games, but we just didn't give up tonight. We battled hard all night long. I'm happy with the way the kids performed. We needed that a lot."
Unfortunately for the Vikings, they aided Elco's comeback a little too much, committing five errors, three of which came in the third inning when the Raiders scored twice to get back in the game.
And after batting around in the top of the first, Northern Lebanon managed just four more hits the rest of the way while Elco was busy pounding out 12 hits for the day.
"When you have a rivalry, you can't let up," said NL co-head coach Andy Bender. "We jump to an early lead and take a sigh and say 'OK, we're up five, we're in good shape.' You give 'em an inch, a little leeway and you saw what happened. They came back. They put the ball in play, and that's one thing we weren't doing in the later innings. And we didn't make the plays when we needed to."
Yermalovich's relief pitching had a lot to do with that (4 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 3 strikeouts) as did the Raiders' collective sixth-inning outburst that featured five of their 12 hits and 10 batters sent to the plate.
"Again, it was just hard work, believing in themselves and not giving up," Derr said. "I've been waiting all year for a game like this. I think everybody had a hit in the lineup and we took advantage of some of their mistakes, which they did to us early."
Northern Lebanon made a last-ditch effort to right the ship in its final at-bat, putting two on with two outs before Yermalovich got the final out to nail down the win.