Lehighton waits out Panther Vy.
Lehighton's Brook Lucykanish (17) rounds second base on her way to a two-run homer against Panther Valley. Looking on is Panther second baseman Cassie Schmidt
Over the last few days, Lehighton softball coach Todd Weaver had been stressing the important of patience to his hitters.
Wednesday afternoon the Lady Indians' patience paid off in the form of a victory.
Lehighton hosted Panther Valley in a non-league match-up and went on to win in three innings, 15-0. The Indians heeded the words of their coach and worked out 11 walks on the day. When they did decide to swing, they delivered with powerful hits to drive in runs.
"I was very happy with what we were doing," said Weaver. "We played Pocono Mountain West a couple of days ago and we were very impatient. We worked on that in practice, but working on it in practice and doing it in a game are two different things.
"I was happy to see us come out and actually do what we had been talking about. We have been telling the girls to be patient, wait for the ball to come in and make a good swing. We are starting to do that and we are starting to gain confidence which is important."
The Indians' Krysten Breiner started things off on the right foot with a solo homerun to deep centerfield. Although Lehighton did not score another run in the inning, they would certainly make up for it in the next two.
Lehighton plated eight runs in the second inning thanks in large part to five walks issued by the Panthers' pitching staff. All but one of those batters that walked eventually came around to score. Breiner drove in the first three runs of the inning with a bases-clearing triple. Brook Lucykanish followed with a two-run homer to left-center field and quickly made the score 6-0.
Starting pitcher Julie Evans helped her own cause by later driving in a run on a fielder's choice. Fellow catcher Jenna Smith then proceeded to drive in two more on a single. The Indians could have scored some more runs, but Breiner went down looking with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Lehighton's first six batters reached base in the third and later scored to enact the 15-run rule. Emily Kollar, Katlin Green and Smith each recorded RBIs in the inning. Two other runs scored on wild pitches, while the game-ender came in on an error by the Panthers' right fielder. All nine of the Indians' starters scored at least one run on the day.
Although she was only on the mound for three innings, Evans pitched very well. She struck out five Panther Valley batters while walking one. She allowed just two hits on the day both singles to Ashtin Walck and Angie Piscitelli.
"I thought Julie did very well," Weaver said. "She has been pretty consistent. The games that she has lost in the past have mainly been because of unearned runs, so it is hard to judge her pitching up until this point.
"We have two good pitchers between her and Krista Rehrig. With all of the rain-outs that we have had, it is going to be hard to make sure that they don't pitch too much. But they are both capable of going out there at any time and getting the job done."
The win moves the Indians to 2-4 overall. Weaver felt the win was good for his girls and that they are starting to move in the right direction thanks to some added confidence.
"I am feeling real good," said Weaver. "The big thing in the beginning of the year was our defense, which kind of let us down the first couple of games. We are starting to get confidence at the plate and in the field and that's all that we have been preaching to them.
"We believe in them, but until they start believing in themselves it's not going to help. I think they are starting to get that."
Panther Valley 000 - 0 2 3
Lehighton 186 - 15 6 0
Gates, Zlock (2) and Walck; Evans and Smith. W - Evans, L - Gates. HR: L - Breiner (1st, none on), LucyKanish (2nd, one on).