Softball Sweeps Harrisburg in Home Opener
ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona softball started its 2022 home schedule off with a sweep, as the Lions won both ends of a doubleheader with non-conference opponent Penn State Harrisburg on Friday at Stewart Athletic Field.
Penn State Altoona (4-5) performed well in all three facets, getting strong pitching and defense to go along with timely hitting. The Lions prevailed 4-2 in game one, then defeated Penn State Harrisburg (4-4) 10-2 in a run-rule shortened game two.
Game One: Penn State Altoona 4, Penn State Harrisburg 2
Penn State Altoona got a strong pitching start in the circle and came up with enough offense to pull out a two-run victory in its first home game of the season.
Casey Reese (Cresson, PA/Penn Cambria) pitched an efficient complete game for Penn State Altoona to record her second win of the season. In seven innings, the right-hander limited Harrisburg to two runs on just five hits while issuing no walks. She also struck out five batters.
Reese was also the Lions' leading hitter, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in and a run scored. Jayde Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) and Madison Lucas (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) each hit a double, and Brooke Boonie (Petersburg, PA/Juniata Valley) and Cameryn Feathers (Martinsburg, PA/Central) each recorded an RBI.
Penn State Altoona capitalized on a leadoff double to left by Burge in the bottom of the first inning, as she eventually scored later in the frame on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Feathers.
Harrisburg got its first hit of the game in the top of the fourth, and the visitors put together a two-run inning to grab the lead. After Maddie Krantz and Maddy Lehigh reached base on hits, Olivia Herncane came through with a two-run single up the middle to put her team up 2-1.
But Penn State Altoona responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score. Reese reached on a one-out single and moved up to third base following an error and a groundout. Boonie followed with a base hit up the middle, driving in Reese and tying the game 2-2.
The Lions put two runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead for good. Lucas doubled to left-center, and Feathers reached on a two-out error to put two runners on for Penn State Altoona. That error proved costly for Harrisburg, as the next batter, Reese, singled up the middle to score Lucas and Feathers to make it 4-2.
The Lions kept Harrisburg off of the scoreboard the rest of the way, limiting the visitors to just one base runner over the final two innings.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 10, Penn State Harrisburg 2 (Final/6 innings)
Penn State Altoona's bats came alive in the second part of the doubleheader, as the Lions produced 10 runs on 15 hits to take down Harrisburg in six innings.
Olivia Smith (Martinsburg, PA/Central) went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored, and one RBI, and Reese was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Burge was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
Alyssa Fisher (Lock Haven, PA/Central Mountain) started in the circle and picked up her second win of the season, going four innings and yielding just one run on five hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. She also went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
Makenzie Lukehart (Utahville, PA/Glendale) pitched two innings in relief, limiting Harrisburg to one run on two hits and no walks while striking out one batter.
Harrisburg scored a run in the top of the first inning when Lehigh led off with a double and later scored on a wild pitch.
But Penn State Altoona jumped ahead with a five-run third inning. With one out, Burge doubled and Smith singled to put two runners aboard. After a groundout moved Smith over to second, back-to-back RBI singles to left from Reese and Fisher scored Burge and Smith to make it 2-1. An outfield error in the next at-bat allowed Fisher and Reese to both score, and another error later in the frame let Kristen Hewitt (Coalport, PA/Glendale) come home to put Penn State Altoona up 5-1.
The Lions added to their lead with three more runs in the fourth. Lucas led off the inning by drawing a walk, then stole second base. Burge followed with a single to center, and Smith came next with an RBI double to right-center. Feathers and Reese each collected an RBI on groundouts that plated Burge and Smith, upping Penn State Altoona's advantage to 8-1.
Harrisburg scored its second and final run of the game on Emma Einarson's RBI single to left-center in the top of the sixth.
But Penn State Altoona ended the game early by plating two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Smith led off with a double, and Feathers followed with a single. Reese kept the hitting going, singling up the middle to drive in Smith. Lukehart's base hit in the next at-bat loaded the bases, and after a pop out, Gianna Hoppel (Lewistown, PA/Mifflin County) hit an RBI single to left to seal an eight-run rule victory for the Lions.
Penn State Altoona travels for its next games, as the Lions will head to Huntingdon on Tuesday, March 22 for a doubleheader against non-conference opponent Juniata College starting at 3:00 p.m.