The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 2, 2014

High School Softball: Southern can't make a comeback this time

ALMEDIA — Central Columbia has seen Southern Columbia already this year and remembered the Tigers overcame a 7-0 deficit to rally for a huge early-season win. So clinging to a three-run lead with two innings to go, the Blue Jays knew they had to tack on some insurance runs.

Nine batters later in the sixth inning, Central Columbia had the game all wrapped up.

The Blue Jays used a five-run sixth inning to put away Southern Columbia, defeating the Tigers 9-1 Thursday in a big Heartland Athletic Conference Division II game for sole possession of first place.

With runners on third and second, Central Columbia’s (10-1, 8-1 HAC-II) Allison McCracken (2-for-3) came through with a huge two-out single into left field to drive in two runs.

While the Blue Jays seemingly managed to hit the ball at will — collecting 10 hits on the day — the Tigers struggled at the plate. By day’s end, Central Columbia pitcher Paige Siegrist relented just two Southern hits.

“(I) knew I had to keep it low. They have some great hitters like Taylor Hoffman, but I just threw where my coaches told me to and my defense was behind me the whole time,” Siegrist said with ice taped to her shoulder.

Southern Columbia put a runner across the plate in the top of the first inning when Hoffman came through with a nice RBI-single into shallow left that brought Jaydn Dunkelberger home; she had reached on a bunt single to start the game.

After that first inning, Southern proceeded to go three up, three down in the next five innings before leaving two runners stranded in the top of the seventh. The Tigers’ only two hits came in the first inning as well.

“We didn’t hit the ball well today. Give their pitcher some credit, she threw a good game,” Southern Columbia coach Al Cihocki said. “They were firing on all cylinders and hit the ball well. We got ourselves in trouble here and there. What are you going to do? They got a good team, there’s no doubt about that.”

Other than Hoffman’s single into left, the Tigers managed to put the ball into the outfield just twice, both fly outs.

“I didn’t think we had an especially sharp game today either, but last time (against Southern) we put on way too many runners,” Central coach Duane Ford. “This time we held them within arm’s length a little better.”

Central Columbia started to get things going in the third inning. Marissa Shelhamer (3-for-3, double) scored on a passed ball to snap Herr’s streak of three consecutive shutouts before Rachel Davis came through with a single to bring in two runs and make it a 3-1 game.

The Blue Jays added another run in the fifth when McCracken had an RBI-double into right field to bring Kimmy Hollister home.

“Our team, we feed off each other,” Siegrist said. “So when some of us are having a good day, we’re all having a good day.”

Hoffman and Herr reached to start the seventh on back-to-back walks before Siegrist recorded two strikeouts and assisted in a groundout to end the game.

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