Softball Splits Saturday Games, Advances to AMCC Championship
ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona softball team navigated through day two of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament, surviving Saturday's playoff action to earn a berth to the conference championship.
Number two seed Penn State Altoona (20-12) suffered a 5-3 loss to top-seeded Penn State Behrend in the Lions' first game of the day on Saturday, but Altoona bounced back with an 8-6 victory over four seed Medaille College in an elimination game to advance to the conference championship.
With its victory, Penn State Altoona will face Penn State Behrend for the AMCC title tomorrow, Sunday, May 8, at 10:00 a.m.
Game One: #1 Penn State Behrend 5, #2 Penn State Altoona 3
Penn State Altoona led 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth, but Penn State Behrend (22-13) tied the game in their half of the inning, then went ahead in the fifth to earn a trip to the AMCC title game on Sunday and send the Lions into an elimination game later in the day Saturday.
Casey Reese (Cresson, PA/Penn Cambria) started in the circle and suffered the loss for Penn State Altoona, pitching five innings and surrendering five runs. Alyssa Fisher (Lock Haven, PA/Central Mountain) tossed a scoreless inning in relief.
Reese led the Lions at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one run batted in. Kristen Hewitt (Coalport, PA/Glendale) was 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk, and Gianna Hoppel (Lewistown, PA/Mifflin County) was also 1-for-2 with a run scored. Brooke Colledge (Everett, PA/Everett) went 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Behrend scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first inning on a Jocelyn McNany sacrifice fly.
But Penn State Altoona capitalized on a key Behrend error in the top of the second inning to score two runs with two outs. With two down, Hoppel reached on an error to keep the inning alive, and Hewitt followed by drawing a walk to put two runners aboard. The next batter, Reese, delivered an RBI single down the right field line to tie the score, and Colledge came next with an RBI base hit to center to put the Lions up 2-1.
Behrend used a two-out hit of its own to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the second, when Kayla Salvini's two-out RBI single to right evened the score at two runs apiece.
Penn State Altoona countered by reclaiming the lead in the top of the fourth. Boonie led off the inning with a single, and Hoppel moved pinch-runner Madison Lucas (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) over to second on a sacrifice bunt. Hewitt's RBI double to left propelled the Lions back into the lead, 3-2.
But Behrend responded quickly again, using a two-out RBI triple to right-center from Salvini to tie the score 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Kylee Bundy's two-out, two-run double in the fifth put the home team in front for the first time since the first inning, making it 5-3.
Penn State Altoona got two runners on in the top of the sixth, when Hoppel and Reese each reached on singles. But Behrend forced the Lions to strand both runners, and the home team held its lead to record the victory and advance to the AMCC championship on Sunday.
Game Two: #2 Penn State Altoona 8, #4 Medaille College 6
Penn State Altoona came out on top of a back-and-forth battle with Medaille (25-16), knocking the Mavericks out of the AMCC Tournament and earning a berth to compete for the AMCC title.
The Lions pounded out 14 hits as a team, with five different players recording a multi-hit game.
Feathers was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Burge went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Hoppel finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, Smith was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, and Reese was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Boonie added a 1-for-2 showing with a double, two RBI, and two walks.
Fisher started the game in the circle and took a no decision after going 1 1/3 innings. Reese finished the game, pitching 5 2/3 innings to record her team-leading 10th victory of the season. The righty limited Medaille to one run on four hits and three walks.
Medaille claimed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, when groundouts by Brenna Fenstermaker and Sidney Cooper drove in runs for the Mavericks.
Penn State Altoona got a run back in the bottom half of the inning, when Feathers' RBI single up the middle scored Hoppel from third.
Medaille expanded its lead to 5-1 in the top of the second. Gabrielle Presutti's two-run single made it 4-1, and she later scored on a wild pitch to put her team ahead by four runs.
The Lions chipped away at their deficit in the bottom of the second, getting two runs across to make it a two-run game. Reese and Fisher started the inning with back-to-back singles, and base hits from Burge and Hoppel scored them later in the inning to cut Medaille's lead to 5-3.
The Mavericks answered with a run in the top of the third, as April Chambers' fielder's choice grounder scored Camryn Adimey to increase Medaille's advantage to three, 6-3.
Penn State Altoona got that run back in the bottom of the third, however. A walk by Boonie and single from Hewitt helped the Lions start the frame by getting two runners on base, and Reese's RBI single to left-center made it 6-4. Penn State Altoona appeared poised to continue scoring during the inning, loading the bases with just one out. But Medaille got out of the jam with a double play, ending the Lions' threat in the third.
Penn State Altoona kept its foot on the pedal, getting closer in the bottom of the fifth after Burge's RBI double to left-center that cut the Medaille lead to one, 6-5.
The Lions rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to jump ahead. Boonie's two-run double down the left field line put Penn State Altoona in front, and Colledge scored on Fisher's fielder's choice grounder to make it 8-6.
Medaille put the potential tying run aboard with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Penn State Altoona got the final out without allowing any damage, sealing a trip to the AMCC Championship on Sunday.