Late rally lifts Penns Valley over Tyrone, 4-1
TYRONE — A team doesn’t necessarily need a ton of hits in softball, especially if it can bunch a few of them together.
That’s exactly what the Penns Valley Lady Rams did in their come-from-behind, 4-1 victory over Tyrone on April 18.
Behind by a run and shut out on one hit by Tyrone pitcher Cate Baran going into the sixth inning, the Rams suddenly erupted for four hits and three runs and took control of the game.
Lydia Collison, Cassidy Stover, Ryleigh Cain and Abby Thon all singled in the inning as PV sent eight batters to the plate and took a two-run lead into the final two Tyrone at bats. Stover, Cain and Thon each had an RBI in the outburst, and then Penns Valley added an insurance run in the seventh on a sacrifice-fly RBI by Caroline Collison.
The runs lifted PV pitcher Emma Kubalak to her third win of the season. Kubalak steadied herself after giving up a run in the fourth inning and went on to retire the final 11 batters she faced.
“I think that sometimes we struggle at the plate putting it all together,” Penns Valley coach Kasey Packer said, “but finally today we put the bat to the ball better than we have been. That’s important to win games to be able to string hits together.
“We have to get a jump from the very beginning and stop waiting so long to get hits, but it will come. We have a lot of young talent that we’re working with.”
Both pitchers were on their game going into the fourth inning. Up to that point, there were a total of two baserunners and just one hit. But Tyrone’s Emily Hamer led of the home fourth with a double down the left-field line, moved to third on a ground out and came across after an error. The run at time looked imposing, given the way Baran was throwing.
“This is a process,” new Tyrone head coach Doug Myers said, “and it is going to take some time. Up until then, for six innings, we are winning the game and holding them down. I thought we were doing very well, but I don’t know if Cate (Baran) got a little tired or just got it a little over the plate too much.”
Whichever was the case, freshman Lydia Collison led off the PV sixth with a single, which was only the Rams’ second hit. Caroline Collison followed with a walk, and then after an out, Stover tied the game with an RBI single.
Baran then got a strikeout and at that point could see herself out of the inning. But Cain followed with a hit that drove in Stover, and Thon next made it 3-1 when she slashed PV’s fourth hit in the inning.
‘GOING AFTER IT’
The runs, late or not, were all that Kubalak needed.
“I played softball since I was 8 years old,” she said, “and being a pitcher has definitely taught me you can’t let stuff get to you. I just kept going after it, and I kept hitting my spots. Cassidy (Stover) did a really good job of framing them, and my defense really backed me up.”
Mikenna Lyons added an insurance run for the Rams in the seventh after she led off with a walk, stole second, and moved to third on a passed ball. She then scored on a sacrifice fly by Caroline Collison to set the final score at 4-1.
“Our team always brings each other up,” Kubalak said. “We are a very strongly connected team. We are pretty much a family and we all cheer each other on.
“We have to come out faster, stronger than we did today. Always be better than you were the day before.”
Penns Valley (3-5) returns to the field at Bald Eagle Area on Thursday, April 20.