MILESBURG - Clutch performances.
That is what Bald Eagle Area coach Kayleen Sidisky has been looking for throughout the regular season from her club.
Whether it be from the plate, in the circle or on the field, she has been trying to find someone to step up for the Lady Eagles.
In the opening round of the District 6 Class AA softball playoffs against Central Cambria, she got what she was looking for.
"The girls were relaxed all day," Sidisky said. "The girls don't want to end their season. They did everything right today and stayed in control of the game."
Seniors Emilie Peters and Carrie Barnyak led the onslaught from the plate, while junior pitcher Megan Dudish controlled the Lady Red Devils' lineup in a 3-1 BEA victory.
Dudish tossed a gem from the circle, giving up one run on two hits, while striking out seven and faced only one over the minimum.
"It feels good," she said. "Today felt a lot better than my last few outings. It was important for me to get up early [in the count]. Once I was able to do that, I could throw some different pitches and make them swing at the bad ones."
In fact, Dudish was in such control, of the 22 batters she faced, she got ahead of 13 batters and got another four with one-pitch outs.
"It is important for Megan to work ahead," Sidisky said. "You can't afford to get behind good hitters in the playoffs. She was able to work ahead and throw the pitches that she wanted. This is one of her best performances all season. She picked a great time for it."
The only trouble the Lady Eagle pitcher ran into was early in the first, when Lady Red Devil Aimee Espe took a 1-2 fastball from Dudish over the left-field fence.
"I knew the team was going to pick me up," the junior said. "It was the first home run I gave up this season, but I knew we were going to score some runs."
After that hit, Dudish went straight through the Central Cambria batting order, giving up only other hit - which later amounted into a double play.
Peters provided the offensive spark in the third.
Down 1-0, with runners on second and third, Peters laced a two-out two-run double, plating teammates Chelsea Poorman and Allie Simpson, giving BEA a 2-1 lead.
"I was nervous," Peters said. "I knew I had to get a hit with the two runners on. It felt great. I am just glad I was able to step up when the team needed me."
Peters finished her day 1-for-1 with a walk and reached on an error to go along with her two-run double.
"That was great to see her step up," Sidisky said. "I expect a lot from Em and she came through today. It gave us the momentum and put the game in our favor."
The Lady Eagles tacked another run on in the fifth inning, when a routine fly-ball by Peters bounced out of the pitcher's glove and Poorman scored from second.
Barnyak stepped up and applied pressure to the Central Cambria defense as she garnered two hits in the game - including a double in the fourth to open the inning.
For Central Cambria, they were never able to figure out Dudish from the plate or find the groove in the field.
"It was a heck of a game," Central Cambria coach Jamie Dixon said. "We had a few shaky plays in the field that hurt us. The anxiety and jitters got to us. We were swinging away at the plate and trying to force a hit. We needed to relax. You can't blame the girls, they played a great game. I am very proud of their performance."
The Lady Eagles will travel to Ligonier Valley on Monday for the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Central Cambria100 000 0 -- 1 2 3
Bald Eagle Area002 010 X -- 3 7 0
2B - E. Peters, Barnyak (BEA). HR - Espe (CC). Multiple hits - Barnyak (BE). WP -Dudish. LP - Ostinowsky.