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A-C bats wake up, pound Cocalico, 13-4

The Annville-Cleona softball team entered Wednesday's Section Three-Four crossover contest with Cocalico mired in a 12-inning scoring drought.

In other words, the Little Dutchmen were due.

They certainly swung the bats that way, seeing their scoreless streak reach 13 innings before erupting for six second-inning runs on the way to a reassuring 13-4 triumph on a sun-splashed afternoon at Annville-Cleona High School.

Junior catcher Amber Rexrode led the 12-hit attack with a single, double and triple, and Hannah Fischer, Sarah Fischer and Morgan Zimmerman each drove in a pair as A-C improved to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in Section Four while halting its offensively-challenged two-game losing skid, which had temporarily left head coach Dave Bentz all by his lonesome in the third-base coaching box.

Cocalico, meanwhile, dropped to 2-9 overall and 2-8 in Section Three after seeing its modes two-game win streak halted.

"It was nice to have some air blow by once in a while. I was getting lonely the last two games," Bentz quipped. "But we righted the ship a little bit today and I think our bats were much better. We still have some lapses where we're still swinging at some high strikes, but we're getting better."
A-C officially shook off the memory of those shutout losses, to Manheim Central on Monday and Lampeter-Strasburg last Friday, in the six-run second that was highlighted by Hannah Fischer's two-run single off Eagles starter Kourtnee Good. But not before Cocalico jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the frame on Alyssa Schmeck's three-run triple off A-C ace Emma Lerchen.

"That was kinda my fault," Bentz said. "Emma's been working on a change-up and she hung it and the girl hit it. I called it, so it's on me. It's just good that they got the three and we came back (with six). We could have packed our bags up like we have already, but we wanted to hit."

A-C also exercised some needed patience in the second, drawing four walks that set the stage for the big inning, which also included a run-scoring single by Morgan Zimmerman.

"Their starter struggled a little bit and she wasn't around the plate," Bentz said. "And we were patient and didn't swing at that stuff. We got some free passes and that was a good way to start. It was nice to see somebody out on the bases."

The key to it all was the production from cleanup hitter Rexrode, who was officially 3-for-4 and reached base in four of five plate appearances. Even the lone out she made was a loud one, a screamer to third that was snared to end the bottom of the sixth.

"She'll be the first to say it: The whole team has been struggling and she had been, too," Bentz said. "It was kinda good to see a pitcher that basically threw straight balls and said, 'Hey, here you go. I'm gonna throw you a straight ball and you're gonna hit a straight ball.' And we did."