With an unusually short fence at his team’s home field, Indiana coach Harold Wilson anticipated watching one of his sluggers make the difference in a game with a few long balls.
Kaitlyn Palmer cranked a pair of homers and drove in a season-high five runs to power Indiana to a 9-4 win over Hampton in a WPIAL Section 5-AAA softball game at the Indiana Little League Complex on Thursday.
Palmer vindicated an 8-5 loss to Kittanning on April 11 in which the Indians outhit the Wildcats 12-7, but surrendered four homers. Palmer finished 4-for-4 with a double.
“It was our turn today,” Wilson said. “Kaitlyn’s really been coming through a lot lately. She’s starting to see the ball and hit it well and it showed today with her two homers and a double.”
Indiana erased an early two-run deficit by plating seven runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. Palmer fueled the rally with a three-run homer.
Palmer smacked a two-run homer an inning later, giving Indiana a 9-2 lead.
Jayci Drew had two hits for Indiana, including a double.
Adrian Smith struck out seven, walked two and allowed nine hits in a complete-game win.
Indiana (4-5, 2-5, section) plays host to Freeport on Monday.
BLAIRSVILLE 5, MARION CENTER 4: In a battle of previously unbeaten teams, Blairsville fell behind early in a pitcher’s duel but recovered with a pair of late rallies to nip host Marion Center in a Heritage Conference game.
The Bobcats were trailing 4-1 in the top of the sixth inning when Abby Peace tripled to score Emilie Okopal and Sam Harsh, trimming the Stingers’ lead to 4-3.
The next batter, Cassidy Edmundson, tripled to score Peace and tie the game, 4-4.
Then, with two outs and a runner on third in the seventh, Marion Center shortstop Heidi Peterson knocked down a groundball deep in the hole off the bat of Sam Harsh. Peterson, however, couldn’t get her throw home in time to beat a sprinting Emily Small, who scored after tripling to lead off the inning.
“We jumped on them and got a lead, but we sure let off the pedal,” Marion Center coach Ed Peterson said. “Emilie Okopal got in her groove and then they scored those three runs in the sixth. They definitely had the momentum from that point on.”
Harsh had three hits and drove in two runs for Blairsville.
Okopal fired a six-hitter, striking out four and walking four.
Peterson and Karlie Snyder had two hits each.
Megan Risinger struck out 11, walked three and allowed seven hits in a complete-game losing effort.
Marion Center (4-1) plays host to Penns Manor today. Blairsville (5-0) travels to Ligonier Valley on Monday.
APOLLO-RIDGE 11, VALLEY 6: Apollo-Ridge racked up a season-high 17 hits and used big surges in the second and fourth innings to upend Valley in a WPIAL Section 3-AA game in New Kensington.
Apollo-Ridge trailed 4-0 before plating six runs on seven hits in the top of the second inning. Two innings later, the VIkings scored three runs to take a 9-6 lead.
Sammy Geracia paced Apollo-Ridge with four hits, and three RBIs. Dana Speranza doubled twice and had four RBIs, and Kristen Faiola and Taylor Dilick singled twice each. DIlick had two RBIs.
Freshman Mariah Laird tossed a five-hitter to earn the win. She struck out three and walked five.
Apollo-Ridge (3-6) travels to Ford City today.
NORTHERN CAMBRIA 17, PENNS MANOR 9: Visiting Northern Cambria took advantage of 10 Penns Manor errors and scored seven of the game’s last eight runs to earn a win in a Heritage Conference game.
Northern Cambria led 10-8 before scoring three runs in the top of the fifth inning and four in the sixth to take a 17-8 lead.
Penns Manor outhit Northern Cambria, 9-6.
Kelly Lieb and Bre Sabella each doubled twice and scored three runs to lead Northern Cambria. Hannah Tibbott scored three runs, and winning pitcher Lakyn Fornari pitched the first five innings.
Emilie Stupic singled and homered to power Penns Manor. Emma Tomayko singled twice and scored twice.
Northern Cambria (3-3) heads to United on Monday. Penns Manor (2-3) travels to Marion Center today.
FREEPORT 14, WEST SHAMOKIN 2: Freeport notched 12 hits and scored eight runs in the last two innings to thump West Shamokin in a WPIAL Section 3-AA game.
Alecia Calhoun and Belle McIlwain each singled twice for West Shamokin.
West Shamokin (2-8, 2-6) travels to Burrell today.