Tigers rally for win
ron gower/times news Northwestern catcher Katie Williams blocks the plate and prepares to tag out Northern Lehigh's Meghan Weil.
What a day Brooke Heller had for Northwestern's softball team on Monday.
Besides going 3-for-4 at the plate, it was her triple in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runners on that helped the Lady Tigers stun Northern Lehigh, 5-4 in a Colonial League contest.
The win avenged an 11-2 loss that Northwestern (6-8, 5-6) sustained earlier this year at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs.
Heller said it was "nerve-racking" stepping up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with her team trailing by a run with two runners on base and one out.
"I just wanted to put the ball in play and drive in a run," she said.
She handled the pressure well, swinging hard and rocketing the ball deep into left field for a triple. Lauren Horner and Blaise Barron came home on the play.
"That was probably my best hit all season," she beamed.
Just two innings before, she belted a single that also scored Horner and Barron. In all, she accounted for four RBIs.
Northern Lehigh (8-6, 7-5) was unable to increase its one-run lead in the top half of the seventh and left two baserunners stranded.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Horner led things off with a drive to the pitcher, who bobbled the ball and let the batter safely get to first. A sacrifice bunt by Jess Dietrich moved Horner to second. Barron took second on a throwing error that moved Horner to third. Next came Heller, who slayed the opponent with her triple.
"I'm so pround of them because the past couple of games they've played good softball against good teams, quality teams," said Northwestern coach Jen Horner of her team. "This is a lift to get us into districts.
"We lost our last two games close. First to Pen Argyl, 4-3 and then a 10-inning game to Notre Dame. We're playing quality ball."
Horner praised pitcher Tori Papp, who went the distance. Of Papp, Horner said, "Tori has been pitching so strong and not giving up many runs. And the defense has been backing her up."
Both pitchers completed their games. Papp gave up 10 hits, including a sixth-inning home run to Kristi Steiler. She gave up just one walk.
Tossing for the Lady Bulldogs was Maggie Lear, who gave up 11 hits, struck out two and walked two.
Northern Lehigh scored two runs in the first inning on singles by Tamara Stubits and Payton Marunich. They were aided by a pair of Northwestern errors.
Horner walked for Northwestern in the bottom of the first, stole second and scored on a single by Barron to make the score 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the 'Dawgs scored again with Maggie Lear pounding a triple. She later scored on a single by Amber Kibler.
Among the hitting leaders for the Bulldogs was Stubits, who went 3-for-4. Marunich chipped in by going 2-for-4.
Horner was 2-for-3 for Northwestern.
No. Lehigh 200 101 0 - 4 10 2
N'western 100 020 2 - 5 11 2
Lear and Bowman, Papp and Williams. WP - Papp. LP - Lear. HR: NL - Seiler (6th, none on).