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Photo by Kirk Zembower
Photo by Kirk Zembower

Lions’ Win Streak Reaches Nine as Softball Sweeps Redhawks

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona softball team improved its winning streak to nine consecutive games on Monday afternoon, when the Lions swept Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent La Roche University at the Baierl Athletic Complex.

Penn State Altoona (15-8, 9-1 AMCC) won game one 14-8 in extra innings, then run-ruled La Roche (9-13, 4-8 AMCC) 12-3 in game two. The Lions' nine-game win streak represents the team's longest since the 2016 season, when they put together 12 consecutive victories during that year's schedule.

Game One: Penn State Altoona 14, La Roche 8 (Final/8 innings)

The Lions wrapped up an extra-innings win by putting eight runs on the board in the top of the eighth, after the score had been tied 6-6 through seven innings.

Jayde Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) went 4-for-5 with two doubles, five runs batted in, and one run scored. Gianna Hoppel (Lewistown, PA/Mifflin County) was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Olivia Smith (Martinsburg, PA/Central) hit 2-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored, and one RBI, and Brooke Boonie (Petersburg, PA/Juniata Valley) was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Casey Reese (Cresson, PA/Penn Cambria) pitched a complete game for her seventh win of the season, tossing all eight innings while striking out six batters along the way.

The Lions plated the game's first run in the top of the first when Smith tripled to right and scored on a wild pitch. Penn State Altoona made it 5-0 with a four-run second, as Makenzie Lukehart (Utahville, PA/Glendale) drew a bases-loaded walk to score one run and Burge cleared the bases with a three-run triple to center.

La Roche tightened things up in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to narrow Penn State Altoona's lead to one. Kelly Denk and Emilee Waldrop hit back-to-back two RBI doubles, bringing the Redhawks to within 5-4.

The home team proceeded to take the lead in the fifth, when a two-run single to right by Waldrop gave La Roche a 6-5 advantage.

Penn State Altoona struck back in the top of the sixth, tying the game on Burge's RBI double.

The score remained tied at 6-6 through the end of the seventh, and the game moved to extra innings.

The Lions exploded for eight runs in the top of the eighth to take command of the game. Reese and Hoppel each scored on La Roche errors, and Burge's RBI single to center made it 9-6. Alyssa Fisher (Lock Haven, PA/Central Mountain) drove in her team's 10th run on a fielder's choice, and Smith plated another with an RBI single to left. The Lions scored three more runs on a Cameryn Feathers (Martinsburg, PA/Central) RBI groundout to shortstop, an error that allowed Smith to score from third, and a Hoppel RBI single to center.

La Roche scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on an Ashtin Hoover RBI single to left, as well as an error that allowed Macy Vignolini to come home. But Penn State Altoona avoided any further damage, finishing with a six-run victory.

Game Two: Penn State Altoona 12, La Roche 3 (Final/6 innings)

After game one went long, Penn State Altoona ended things early in the second game of the twinbill by posting a 12-3 run-rule win over La Roche in six innings. The Lion bats were productive again, totaling 18 hits and putting 12 runs on the board over six frames.

Six different Penn State Altoona hitters finished with a multi-hit game.

Feathers was a perfect 4-for-4 with a triple, three runs scored, and two RBI. Boonie went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Hoppel was also 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Smith finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, one RBI, and one stolen base, Fisher went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs score, and one RBI, and Madison Lucas (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Brooke Colledge (Everett, PA/Everett) recorded two RBI.

Fisher tossed a complete game in the circle to notch her eighth victory of the season. In six innings of work, the righty limited the Redhawks to three runs on six hits and just one walk while recording one strikeout.

Smith's sac fly to center and Boonie's RBI single to left put the Lions on the board in the top of the first.

La Roche answered with an Alexis Myers RBI single in the bottom of the first and a Vignolini RBI groundout in the second. But Penn State Altoona came back with RBI singles from Hoppel and Reese in the top half of the third to reclaim the lead, 4-2.

The Redhawks narrowed the score to 4-3 in the bottom of the third, when Myers' run-scoring groundout to shortstop made it a one-run game. However, the Lions got four runs across in the fourth to increase their lead to 8-3. Fisher's double to center drove in one run, and Feathers' two-run single made it 7-3. Feathers scored on an error later in the frame to extend her team's lead to five runs.

Penn State Altoona widened the gap to nine in the top of the sixth, when RBI singles from Hoppel and Lucas and a two-run double to left from Colledge put the Lions up 12-3. The visitors kept their lead through the bottom of the sixth to invoke the eight-run rule, ending the game with a win to clinch the sweep.

Next up, Penn State Altoona softball returns to campus for its final home doubleheader of the regular season this Wednesday, April 27, when the Lions will host nearby AMCC rival Mount Aloysius College starting at 3:00 p.m.