HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg and Altoona high school softball squads battled Thursday evening in prime time under the lights on a special night honoring the Armed Forces at Legion Park.
Just as the night was meant for the two communities to rally around and show their support for area service men and women, the two teams took it a step further as both rallied back from deficits late in the contest on the field.
Julie Brustle's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh plated Taylor Herr for the winning run in the Lady Tigers' 10-9 victory.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Altoona’s Amanda Parrish slides into third base as Hollidaysburg third baseman Biz Carter takes the throw during Thursday’s game.
"This was a fantastic night. It was a great atmosphere," Hollidaysburg coach Mike Harris said. "The game was tied 9-9 and our kids were saying 'we got this coach.' Tonight the kids rose to the challenge. We had a senior that came through with the game-winning hit. It's great for the kids."
The victory was just the second on the season for the young Hollidaysburg group but it proved to be quite a memorable one.
"It just shows how tough we are as a team that we were able to come back," Brustle said. "I had to have the right mindset [entering the last at bat]. I just wanted to do it for the team."
Trailing 9-4 heading into their last at bat, the Lady Lions (2-12) took a patient approach to the batters box that proved to be the difference as they put together quite a comeback - scoring all five runs with two outs.
"We told [the girls] to be a little more patient at the plate heading into the seventh. Don't jump on the first pitch - see what she [Alyssa Pheasant] had," Altoona coach Christie Klausman said. "Things just started to develop from there and worked itself out. One thing lead to another and the momentum just really went our way."
Shania Feathers roped a two-run single to get the scoring started, then advanced to third when Tiger second baseman Marissa Rosensteel overthrew the catcher on a play at the plate - allowing Sckylauer Kane to score the third run of the play.
Summer Feathers ripped an RBI single to tie the game, then came around to score for the 9-8 lead on a single by Didi Rizzo.
The Lady Tigers would not be denied however, as Rosensteel walked to start their half of the seventh. Herr followed with a single to center that sent Rosensteel to third.
Biz Carter lined out to left field and Rosensteel tagged and scored when the umpire ruled that the catcher, Marshe Barnes, dropped the ball on the tag.
Courteney Storm was the second out when she hit into a 6-3 groundout. However, Brustle, who had been taken out of the game in the sixth, re-entered with a focus and determination that would end the game.
"We're really young. We get leads and then we lose them because we get tired," Harris said. "Every game we're getting better at battling it out, and tonight the kids rose to the challenge and finished it."
The Tigers grabbed a 4-0 lead after one inning of play as Altoona committed two errors which led to two HAHS runs.
The Lady Lions got on the board in the third on singles by Amanda Parrish and Morgan James.
Hollidaysburg scored two in the fourth to push the lead to 6-2, then both teams put two apiece on the scoreboard in the sixth to make the score 8-4.
"I was delighted to be invited to play in this event," Klausman said. "My father served in the military, as did my brother and other various family members. So for me, it had a nice special meaning."
Game notes: Michael Beaudoin, father of Lady Tiger Kaylee, surrounded by his wife, Lisa and son Tyler, threw out the first pitch to his daughter before the game ... Beaudoin is currently stationed at Joint Base McGuire in New Jersey as a Unit Safety Officer flying a UC-35 Citation Jet ... All sales from the concession stand will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project ... For more information on how to donate to the project, log-on to www.woundedwarriorproject.org ... Hollidaysburg sported camouflage jerseys and headbands.
ALTOONA (9): Feathers 3b 412, Mad. Berry 2b 401, Rizzo 1b 411, Parrish ss 513, Barnes c 411, James cf 312, Kerr p 000, Mar. Berry dh 211, Harris dh 010, Kane lf 210, Sh. Feathers rf 312, Weaver rf 000. Totals-31 9 13.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (10): Brustle lf 422, Beaudoin lf 010, Shay rf 312, Mercer ss 212, Ickes 1b 400, Pheasant p 411, Gallagher cr 000, Rosensteel 2b 210, Herr c 302, Stitt cr 000, Carter 3b 210, Storm 422. Totals -26 10 11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Altoona002 002 5- 9 13 8
Hollidaysburg400 202 2-10 11 4
E-James 2, Kerr 2, Barnes 2, Parrish, Su. Feathers, Rosensteel 3, Pheasant. 2B-Parrish, Mercer. RBI-Sh. Feathers 2, Parrish 2, Su. Feathers, Rizzo, Mercer 2, Rosensteel, Brustle, Carter.
Altoona: Kerr - 7 innings, 114 pitches, 11 hits, 2 strikeouts, 7 walks
Hollidaysburg: Pheasant - 7 innings, 150 pitches, 13 hits, 4 strikeouts, 6 walks
Records: Altoona (2-12); Hollidaysburg (2-14).