In their Pink Out game to fight breast cancer, Palmyra pounded out 13 hits and beat Hershey 13-3 in 5 innings


On a day when what they were playing for was far more important than how they played, members of the Palmyra softball team still managed to raise themselves up while they were busy helping others.

A Pink Out contest with neighboring rival Hershey to aid the fight against breast cancer coincided with one of Palmyra's top performances of the season - a 13-3 five-inning shellacking of the Trojans at Palmyra Area High School on Wednesday afternoon.

Led by a single, double, triple and three RBIs from second baseman Bri Long, the Cougars pounded out 13 hits and scored five times in the first inning en route to the 10-run rule triumph, which was preceded by a ceremony honoring those battling breast cancer that included Palmyra superintendent Lisa Brown throwing out the first pitch.

On Saturday, the Cougars began their efforts to slam breast cancer via a benefit home run derby that netted $650 for the those waging war against the dreaded disease. Then on Wednesday they went out and put on their own display of hitting prowess while continuing the fight.

"It was not only to support a really good cause, but one of our teammates' grandmothers is dealing with breast cancer, so we really wanted to support her," said Long, who smashed an RBI triple to highlight the first-inning uprising. "Because she's going through a rough time right now. We really wanted to come together and support her and support a really good cause.

"It was great. We raised over $650, we beat a really good team, and had a really good hitting day. Hopefully we'll keep the momentum going through the rest of the season."

The Cougars did indeed have a really good hitting day, led not only by Long  but also by, among others, cleanup hitter Rebecca Randall, who had three hits and drove in four, including the game-ending run with a single in the bottom of the fifth that sent the Pink Out crowd home early.

Lead off hitter Kayla Bonawitz added three hits of her own and a steal of home as the Cougars swung from the heels throughout, and rarely missed.

"It's great," said Palmyra coach Tod Whitman, whose mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. "I expect that we had a few people here who don't normally come to games, because of the breast cancer thing, so it was just nice to keep it relaxed and fun. It was nice for people to see what we're all about and what we're trying to do with the program."

What Palmyra is all about is improvement, which has come steadily since an 0-3 start to the season. Now 7-6, the Cougars are beginning to emerge a bit and certainly continued to show their mettle on Wednesday.

Following the five-run bottom of the first, which came after Hershey plated a run in the top of the first against starter and winner Abbey Krahling, Palmyra added four more runs in the second with the help of Long's two-run double, then put up three more in the third sparked by Randall's two-run single.

"We've been keeping our spirits really high, even though we've had some up and down games," Long said. "We've been doing a lot of great drills and just coming together as a team."

They may have peaked in that regard on Wednesday while battling and defeating opponents both seen and unseen.

"The breast cancer thing is something that's close to me - my mother-in-law is a survivor and she was here today," Whitman said. "It's absolutely near and dear to my heart, and having the superintendent, Lisa Brown, here today, shows the support the school and community has for this particular cause. It's important for the girls to recognize that while it's not affecting them specifically yet, it's something they need to get in the back of their mind as they grow into young ladies."

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