Lady Vikings will need to build upon lessons in state playoffs

By Tyler Kolesar

For the Mirror

VENITIA — Things looked very promising for the Glendale Lady Vikings in the top of the first inning against the defending state champion West Greene Lady Pioneers Monday in the first round of the PIAA Class 1A state softball tournament.

An RBI single by Glendale’s Alaney Vereshack gave the Lady Vikings an early lead. But from there on in, it was all Lady Pioneers as they knocked out Glendale, 12-2, in six innings to advance to the second round.

“We came out with energy,” Glendale coach Phil Barroner said. “We knew they were the defending state champs and we came out with a lot of heart. First inning, we had a little shake on them. Defensively in the first inning, we made some plays to get us out of a big jam that could’ve been ugly. Then after that, we just kind of let the jitters get to us a little more that they probably should’ve.”

Glendale senior Kristen Hewitt led off the game with a single. After a stolen base and a Mackenzie Lukehart sacrifice, Vereshack delivered her RBI single for the short-lived 1-0 lead.

West Greene answered with a Madison Renner RBI double to tie it up 1-1 in its frst at bat. The defensive plays that Barroner mentioned included his team turning in a double play.

From that point on, Lady Pioneer pitcher Jade Renner only allowed three more hits the rest of the game. The Lady Vikings were putting the bat on the ball, with Renner only recording her first strikeout in the fifth inning.

“I don’t think she throws anything that we don’t see on an everyday basis,” Barroner said. “I really don’t. I just think defensively, we have a lot of growing to do. We’re immature in the game –maybe not in age in certain spots — but in the game, we’re very immature. We have a lot to learn and a lot of work needs to be put in if we want to be better defensively.”

The Lady Pioneers scored eight more runs in the next three innings to take a 9-1 lead. Overall, the winners had 17 hits on the day compared to Glendale’s five.

In the top of the sixth, Lukehart led off with a double into the left-center gap. Two batters later, Vereshack had her second RBI single on the day to cut the deficit to 9-2.

But in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, West Greene scored three more runs to make it end the game at 12-2.

Barroner said it’s time for his team to start raising its expectations, as he only has two graduating seniors this year.

“Anytime you can go back-to-back in the state tournament, you have to be happy about it,” Barroner said. “But at the same time, the expectations need to rise. The work effort has to get up a little better and we’ve got to be able to handle pressure a lot better than we did today.”

The two graduating seniors are Hewitt and Lukehart. Hewitt had a single and scored a run in her final game, while Lukehart also scored a run and had two hits.

“Mackenzie and Kristen are going to be two voids that are going to be as near as impossible to fill,” Barroner said. “Kristen’s been on lockdown behind the plate and Mackenzie has held down center field for us. And not only that, that’s our 1-2 in the lineup. I don’t even know if words can describe how badly missed they’re going to be next year.”

Glendale finished 15-7.

“We just can’t settle that going to states is enough now,” Barroner said. “We see the energy, the effort and the knowledge of the game that others have that we need to improve on. We need to get better in certain situations and some people have to do more work. We’ve got some bench and some starters that need to do work if they think they’re going to be assets in the future.”

GLENDALE (2): Hewitt c 311, Mak. Lukehart cf 312, Mulhollen p-1b 300, A. Vereshack ss 302, Reese 2b 300, Smeal dp 300, Mad. Lukehart rf 200, L. Vereshack lf 200, Hamilton lf-pr 000, B. Vereshack 1b-p 201, LeMaster 3b-flex 000. Totals: 24-2-5.

WEST GREENE (12): Mc. Lampe cf 523, Ma. Lampe 3b 412, M. Renner ss 423, Goodwin pr 000, J. Renner p 504, Wise pr 020, Rizor 2b 411, Mooney 1b 210, Stover lf 212, Carpenter rf 312, Simms c 200, Orndoff ph 100, Pettit ph 110. Totals: 33-12-17-11.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Glendale 100 001 X — 2 5 4

West Greene 123 303 X — 12 17 1

E — A. Vereshack 2, Hewitt, Reese; J. Renner. 2B-Mak. Lukehart, M. Renner 2, J. Renner. RBI — A. Vereshack 2, Mc. Lampe, Ma. Lampe, M. Renner 3, J. Renner 2, Carpenter 4.

PITCHING

Glendale: Mulhollen 3 1/3 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; B. Vereshack 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 0 SO. West Greene: J. Renner 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO. WP-J. Renner. LP-Mulhollen.

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