The Lehighton softball field could've been mistaken for the Chicago Cubs famous Wrigley Field Monday afternoon. It's not because the Indians' field staff planted ivy by the outfield fence, but that the constant wind gusts made West Lehighton seem like downtown Chicago.
The wind bothered both pitchers on the day, causing control problems for both sides, but it was the Indians that were able to handle the elements the best. Lehighton held Thorpe to just four hits and three runs. They didn't have a bad day at the plate either, taking advantage of the Olympians' poor pitching to score an 18-3 victory.
Jim Thorpe, much like they have in the recent past, did not get off to a good start. Numerous Lehighton batters reached base on walks in the first inning, scoring six run, putting JT in an early hole.
The Indians didn't do anything fancy all afternoon. They made plays when they had to and often times took advantage of the Olympians mistakes.
"We have such a young team that our girls are literally learning something new every inning we play," said Lehighton coach Greg Poremba. "We have two freshmen pitchers and a bunch of freshmen playing the field, so it was nice to see them play well today. The most important thing is that they're learning and getting better. We're very pleased with their progress."
The Lehighton offense was certainly clicking, but perhaps no one was grooving better than freshman Hannah Binyon. The youngster was the winning pitcher on the day and also went 3-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs.
"The wind did play a part in pitching on both sides and it did affect the hitters too, I'm sure, but we were able to fight through it," said Binyon. "Today I just tried to stay calm out there. There was nothing I could do about the wind, so I just had to go back to my basics and if I threw a bad pitch I just told myself to do better the next time. As far as my hitting goes, that was a little bit of a surprise to me today. I just made good contact with the ball and I was just glad I was able to help my team get the win."
The Indians scored eight more runs in the second to basically put the nail in the Olympians' coffin.
The highlight of the day came when another freshman, Amanda Loudon, hit a rocket to center field and hustled around the bases for an inside the park homerun.
Cami Nalesnik also had a hit and an RBI and Brooke Lucykanish knocked in two runs.
"The main thing you want to see with a young team is consistency," said Poremba. "We've only had four errors in two games this season and for a young team that's pretty good. Our goals are to keep the errors down, stick to the basics, and don't try and force things or do too much. Then hopefully as the season goes on the girls gain more confidence and they become more comfortable on the field. With this group I think it's going to come because it's a good hardworking group of kids for sure."
For Jim Thorpe, Bryanna Kehrli had a hit and an RBI, Talia Valentini added a hit and knocked in a run, and Gianna Bucci collected a single.
Jim Thorpe 003 0 - 3 4 1
Lehighton 681 3 - 18 7 1
Valentini, Murphy (3) and Kehrli; Binyon, Bickert (3), and Hunsicker. W - Binyon. L - Valentini. HR: Lehighton - Loudon (3rd, none on).