Offense ignites in Warwick’s win over CV
The Warwick girls softball team couldn’t afford another week like the one they just had.
Losses to Ephrata and Elizabethtown in a span of four days dropped the Lady Warriors two games off the pace for a L-L playoff berth in Section One behind co-leaders Manheim Twp. and Hempfield.
On Monday, they were a different team.
Facing one of the League’s top pitchers in Conestoga Valley’s Nicole Allen, Warwick erupted for 26 hits and routed the Lady Bucks 27-4 in five innings in a Section One-Two crossover in Witmer.
The game was still close after three with Warwick leading just 4-2. But they broke it open with eight in the fourth and 15 in the fifth inning.
“Last week wasn’t a very good week and I think the kids came back really focused,” Warwick coach Mark Hough said. “We were just playing smart small ball (early) and then I think the kids really started getting their confidence and it just kinda got ugly in a hurry.”
The Lady Warriors’ (5-3 L-L, 7-4) win, coupled with Hempfield’s (6-2 L-L, 8-4) 5-4 loss to Solanco, moved them within one game of the second and final L-L berth in Section One with eight games left. It was also a positive way to open a week in which they will play five games in five days.
“It’s a crazy week,” Hough said. “Each game is very important and obviously you’re hoping to go 5-0. We’ve really just got to take care of our business.”
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the third, Warwick took care of business with two go-ahead runs. Victoria Byler doubled, moved to third on a sac bunt by clean-up hitter Nikole Rottkamp and scored on a wild pitch. Jenny George then singled, courtesy runner Rene Ross stole second and third, and Lacey Lefever delivered an RBI single.
Pitcher Tessa Eckman answered with a shut-down inning in the home half of the third, and then the Lady Warriors removed all doubt with an eight-run fourth-inning rally.
“I think Nicole was a little wild early and I think the umpire was kinda tough on her strike zone,” Hough said. “That’s the one nice advantage with Tessa is she’s such a consistent pitcher around the strike zone that she’s going to get benefit. And I think Nicole started feeling that she had to come pretty much right down the plate and even though she’s probably one of the fastest pitchers in the league, we were just jumping all over it.”
Warwick finished with five doubles in the game, one each by George and Ashley Royer, who led the way with four hits apiece. Royer chipped in with a team-high four RBI’s. August Mason and Lefever were 3-for-3 with four runs scored each, while Nicole Mengel went 3-for-4 and Rottkamp and Strohm chipped in with two hits apiece.
Eckman struck out seven, walked two and scattered eight hits in the complete-game win.
“We finally hit the ball the way we’re capable of hitting it,” Hough said. “It was the offense that we knew we had and I think the girls have proven now that they want to go after this. I’m very proud of it.”
In other action last Thursday, Elizabethtown snapped a 4-4 tie with two runs in the top of the ninth inning and held on to defeat Warwick 6-4 in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz.
Lacey Lefever went the distance on the hill for Warwick and suffered the loss, allowing 10 hits while striking out two and walking one.
The Lady Bears jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings, but the Lady Warriors tied it with two in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Nikole Rottkamp was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI’s, Nicole Mengel finished 2-for-3 with a double and Ashley Royer added a pair of hits.
But E-town pitcher Heather Secord finished the game with three shutout innings to get the win. She struck out four and walked three.
The Lady Warriors were also on the field last Wednesday, April 16, weathering a comeback attempt from Manheim Central to earn a 7-4 non-league win in Lititz.
Ashley Royer was 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two runs scored, helping Warwick take an early 4-0 lead. The Lady Barons rallied to tie it with three in the top of the third and another in the fourth.
But Warwick took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth, and then added two insurance runs in the fifth inning. That was all Lefever needed, as she pitched three scoreless innings in relief to nail down the win for starter Tessa Eckman.
Vanessa Strohm went 2-for-3 with a double and Mengel finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored to help lead the Warwick girls’ offense.
Katie Fair suffered a complete-game loss on the mound for the Lady Barons, striking out one and walking three.
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.