HYDE — Year after year, the Mountain League has proven to be one of the toughest in the state for the classifications of high school softball teams that are members, so facing a perennial championship contender that boasts one of the very best pitchers became a reality check for the young Clearfield Lady Bison in their opener Tuesday afternoon.
Madison Peters, who beat Clearfield twice on her way to earning All-ML First Team laurels as a freshman last season, authored a one-hitter with eight strikeouts and belted one of the Lady Eagles’ four home runs in what turned out to be a rather deceiving 17-2 final at the Bison Sports Complex.
The Lady Bison’s lone highlight came in the bottom of the first inning when Emma Hipps launched a home run over the fence in center field for a 2-1 lead. Karly Rumsky, who had reached on an error, scored ahead of her.
“For Emma, the first pitch of her varsity career, it doesn’t get any better than that,” noted Lady Bison coach Derek Danver.
It was all downhill after that, though, for Peters retired 20 of the last 21 batters she faced.
The only blip was a leadoff walk to Hipps in the fourth frame.
“I told them this is one of the better pitchers we’re gonna see, but we’re gonna see a lot of pitchers in the Mountain League that are pretty equivalent to her and we need to be ready to face that type of pitching,” Danver said. “I don’t think they were intimidated, but once things started going bad, it escalated quickly. Maybe they started to get down on themselves a little bit.”
Kaleigh Kinley got the Lady Eagles even with a homer to left center in the second inning, and they went in front 4-2 in the next inning as Maralee Caldana doubled to drive in Mara Hockenberry and then scored on Marina Shawley’s groundout.
“We were right in the game in the first few innings,” Danver said. “Then, we started making mental errors, along with physical errors and some poor at-bats.”
BEA doubled its output in the fourth with the top of the batting order getting to Hipps on their third look at the right-hander.
Makena Baney singled inside third base, stole second and scored on Hockenberry’s single to center. After pinch-hitter Meagan King singled off Hipps’ glove, Peters socked a three-run homer to center for what should have been an 8-2 win.
However, after Hipps regrouped and worked two strong innings, the Lady Eagles turned five Lady Bison miscues into nine unearned runs with just four hits in the seventh. The big blows were back-to-back homers by Shawley, good for three RBIs, and Maddie Perry.
Hipps struck out seven in her debut. She issued four walks and hit one batter while giving up seven earned runs.
Hockenberry had three of BEA’s 13 hits. Baney, Peters and Shawley registered two apiece.
Danver questioned whether his second Lady Bison team, which features six freshman and one sophomore in the starting lineup, was really ready to take on a team of BEA’s caliber.
“I told them I was disappointed, not necessarily for making errors or not hitting the ball well but I thought our attitudes were poor,” he said. “I don’t think our heads were in the game. It was like we were more worried about the temperature than winning the game.
“But we talked about how are we gonna react to this. Are we gonna show up tomorrow (Wednesday) and work harder and get ready for the next one?”
The Lady Bison will try to shake off their difficult opening assignment and prepare for a bounceback Friday when Huntingdon visits the BSC for another league game.
BALD EAGLE AREA — 17
Makena Baney lf 5322, Mara Hockenberry cf 5331, Maralee Caldana c 2111, Meagan King ph-c 2221, Marina Shawley dp 5114, Bryn Bisel pr 0100, Maddie Perry ss 4111, Autumn Tobias 3b 3101, Kaleigh Kinley 2b 3111, Sydney Hill pr 0100, Lauren Fisher 1b 3000, Maddie Eckley rf (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 37 17 13 15.
CLEARFIELD — 2
Kylee Hertlein 2b 3000, Karly Rumsky cf 3100, Emma Hipps p 2113, Alyssa Twigg p 0000, Olivia Bender c 3000, Lauren Ressler 1b 3000, Casey English 3b 3000, Kyra Mollura rf 2000, Alexis Benton dp 2000, Alexis Bumbarger ss 2000, Morgan Cheek lf (flex) 0000. TOTALS; 23 2 1 2.
Score by Innings
Bald Eagle Area 112 400 9 – 17 13 1
Clearfield 200 000 0 – 2 1 8
E – Fisher; Hertlein 1, Hipps 1, Bender 2, Mollura 2, Cheek 2. LOB – Bald Eagle Area 5; Clearfield 1. 2B – Caldana, King. HR – Peters, Shawley, Perry, Kinley; Hipps (1). SF – Tobias. SB – Baney 1, Hockenberry 2, King, Bisel. CS – Tobias (by Bender).
Bald Eagle Area – Peters 7 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.
Clearfield – Hipps 6-2/3 IP, 13 H, 17 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 7 K; Twigg 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB.
HB – Hipps 1 (Fisher).
W – Peters. L – Hipps (0-1).
Umpires – Doug Metheney (plate) and Jay Siegel (bases).
Date Opponent Score Record
3/26 BALD EAGLE AREA 2 – 17 0 – 1
4/01 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
4/09 @ Penns Valley
4/15 @ Bellefonte
4/18 @ Bald Eagle Area
4/23 @ Huntingdon
4/29 @ Tyrone
5/02 PENNS VALLEY
5/07 @ Central
5/13 @ Punxsutawney
5/15 @ Altoona