By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Jess Kerstetter quickly turned around to grab the passed ball near the backstop off the errant pitch.
The sophomore quickly threw the ball to her pitcher, Jordan Wilt, attempting to get the Danville runner out at home.
The throw was just off, though, and the resulting error allowed two runs to cross the plate, and all but put the game away.
Those two runs were part of a 4-run fifth inning and put the 10-run mercy rule into effect as Danville defeated Selinsgrove, 13-1 in five innings on Thursday afternoon at Selinsgrove High School in a Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I contest.
"There's a lot of things that if you don't come ready to play -- besides their good players -- you can be in for a long day (at Selinsgrove)," Danville coach Dwayne Heeter said. "We talked about that: getting on top with runs, hitting the ball and starting right from the beginning, and that's pretty much what we did."
Danville (5-4, 4-3) jumped out right from the get-go against Selinsgrove (4-4, 3-4), scoring runs in all five innings. However, it was the third inning where the Lady Ironmen did a lot of damage.
Alyssa Shaw and Tara Fritz opened the third inning with back-to-back singles before Danville grounded out twice. Ericka Heath then reached safely on an infield error to allow a run to score before Aurora Freedman hit a 2-RBI double down the left field line.
The spurt by Danville put the Lady Ironmen ahead 6-0.
"That's a pretty good combination coming up there," Heeter said of Danville's top of the lineup. "We've been doing pretty good at the top of the lineup, so hopefully it continues."
The Lady Ironmen strung together 13 hits in the win while their defense, including senior pitcher Fritz, held Selinsgrove to just five. The Seals also committed five errors in the loss, four of which occurred in the final three innings.
Danville's offense continued throughout the fourth and fifth innings as the Seals struggled to contain its offense.
Kylie Romeo opened the fourth by reaching on an error before Shaw was walked. That opened the door for Fritz, who came through with a huge 2-RBI single up the gut before Lesley Fritz hit an RBI single into deep left two batters later. Lesley would have 3 RBIs in the win while Tara ended the game going 4-for-4 with two RBIs.
"We have a lot of hitting power on the team, so it's really nice to see everybody on the team hitting consistently," Tara Fritz said.
"Even when you got two strikes on you, I think everybody was feeling really confident (at the plate)," she added.
Selinsgrove's lone run came in the fourth inning. After Brynn Musser grounded out to start the inning, Kerstetter reached on a walk.
The sophomore then came home on an ensuing single by Katie Spriggle thanks to the left fielder struggling to field the ball to make it a 9-1 Lady Ironmen lead.
"That's our job (to not allow Selinsgrove to do anything offensively)," Fritz joked. "Throwing (and) giving them tough pitches to hit (like) outsides, drops, anything you can to get them to swing and just kind of beat it off somewhere."
All of Selinsgrove's hits were singles, and only one left the infield. Rachel Goodling was the only Seal to have two hits in the loss.
"Tara's been tough all year," Heeter said. "She's just going to come out there and battle you and battle you and sometimes you win, but right now, she's doing more winning than losing."
Danville scored in the top of the first inning when Alyssa Shaw drove Zina Knight home with two outs. Heath then scored in the second inning when Knight came through with a single to short with two outs to put Danville up 2-0 early.