Eckman, timely hits lead Warwick over MC

By on April 4, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo by Cathy Chapis
Manheim Central first baseman Rachel Clippinger (left) stretches for a throw with Warwick's Megan Eyer racing down the line.

When Alex Condie dug into the batter’s box with two outs in the first inning last Friday, the Warwick girls were still looking for their first lead of the season.

And if the Lady Warriors thought that waiting until their third game was a long time, they had to show a little bit more patience with Condie at the plate.

To her credit, Condie proved to be a tough out in her multi-pitch battle with Manheim Central’s Erika Campbell.

Finally, after fouling off several tough offerings and working a full count, she delivered an RBI single to left-center to give her team an early 1-0 lead, and the Lady Warriors never relinquished it as they held on to defeat back-yard rival Manheim Central 2-1 in a non-league game in Lititz for their first win of the season.

"That was huge," Warwick coach Don Miller said, "because I’m pretty sure that was the first time this year that we were ahead. So that was kinda nice to get out in front."

Warwick sophomore pitcher Tessa Eckman ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh inning, as MC halved the Lady Warriors’ lead and put the potential tying run in scoring position. But she put it in the books with a fielder’s choice ground ball by Miranda Becker.

Karlie Watson was 3-for-3 with a double and scored both runs to lead a Warwick attack which had eight hits in the game.

She started the Lady Warriors’ first-inning rally with a one-out single to center, and then Madi Derr laced a two-out base hit to left, setting the table for Condie’s run-scoring single to left-center.

"(Alex) is a contact hitter," Miller said. "We don’t have a lot of power on our team, but we players that will hit the gaps. I’m relying on contact and the occasional gappers. We’re going to get that occasionally, but we don’t have a flat-out power hitter."

Watson hit the gap with a leadoff double to right-center in the third, and she scored on a sharply-hit single by Derr, who was 2-for-3. After Condie reached base on an error, Eckman legged out an infield single to load the bases. But Campbell pitched out of it by getting a deep fly out from Megan Eyer.

Eckman, who earned the complete-game win, struck out three, walked two and scattered seven hits, helped her own cause by going 2-for-3.

Meanwhile, the Central girls threatened in the top of the third with a bases-loaded one-out situation and again in the fourth by getting two base runners with one out, but came away empty both times. Sara McKee was 3-for-3 and Katelyn Grazan added two hits to lead MC.

"That was the whole game for us," Manheim Central coach Steve Ginder said of the missed opportunities. "That was not being able to get the runs in and tie it up or go ahead."

Eckman finished the game with three K’s, while walking two and scattering seven hits.

"(Tessa) doesn’t walk many, and she’s not overpowering, but she’s got a lot of movement on her pitches and she hits her spots," Miller said. "She doesn’t back down from anyone either. So we’re happy with Tessa."

Eckman’s counterpart, Campbell, struck out one and walked none, and she pitched perfect frames in the fifth and sixth to keep it close. Then the Lady Barons were in business in the seventh as McKee singled and Kaitlin Fair walked to lead off and McKee later scored to make it 2-1. But Central could get no closer.

On Monday, the Warwick girls (1-0 L-L, 2-2 overall) built off that game by riding a five-hit shutout from Eckman in a 4-0 win over Penn Manor in both teams’ Section One opener in Lititz.

Eckman struck out eight, walked just one and pitched out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the seventh for the decision.

Although the Lady Warriors weren’t in mid-season form at the plate, they gave Eckman a 2-0 lead through three innings on Derr’s RBI double and Condie’s bases-loaded sac fly.

Derr was on base all three at-bats with double, single and walk, and Eyer finished 2-for-3 off of Penn Manor pitcher Henegar.

"I’d say we have five or six really tough outs in our lineup and we’ve got to work on the other three slots, but that’s a work in progress for everybody, I think," Miller said.

It remained a 2-0 game until Warwick added two more runs in the sixth. Derr singled to center, Condie slashed a base hit to right, and Eckman advanced the runners with a ground out. Eyer then plated Derr with a bunt single, and courtesy runner Jordan May scored on the back end of a double steal.

Leadoff batter Cassidy Godber was also on base twice with a walk and a base hit.

Manheim Central, meanwhile, bounced back from its loss to Warwick by shutting out ELCO 7-0 in their Section Three opener Monday night in Manheim.

McKee was 3-for-3 with a triple, while Ali Morton and Rachel Clippinger each had two hits to lead the offense. McKee also tossed three innings of relief behind winning pitcher Campbell. They combined on a four-hitters while striking out 12 and walking none.

The Lady Barons scored all the runs they needed in the second inning on Campbell’s safety squeeze RBI and McKee’s RBI single.

They pushed the lead to 4-0 in the third on consecutive doubles by Aerika High, Katie VanBlargan and Clippinger.

Morton’s two-run single in the fourth drove in Kaitlin Fair and McKee, and then McKee’s RBI single in the fifth completed the scoring.

Last Wednesday, March 28, the Manheim Central girls jumped to a 3-0 lead after two innings and held on to defeat host Elizabethtown 3-2 in a non-league showdown.

Although MC pitcher Sara McKee allowed just three hits, she issued eight walks, but was able to work out of trouble several times. The junior hurler finished with five strikeouts.

E-town’s Katie Dunkelberger couldn’t escape trouble in the first two innings. The Lady Barons took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on just two hits. Katie Fair reached when Dunkelberger overthrew the bag on a comebacker, then Ali Morton singled, both runners advanced on a passed ball, and Aerika High hit an RBI ground out to third. One out later, Rachel Clippinger delivered an RBI single to left field.

In the second, Abigail Hahn took an outside pitch to right field for a triple and scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0.

Elizabethtown got one back in the fourth when Mariah Keener connected for the first of her two hits, a triple, and then Dunkelberger had an RBI ground out. They closed with one in the fifth on Keener’s RBI double, but that’s as close as the Lady Bears would get.

VanBlargan was 2-for-4 out of the cleanup spot to lead the Lady Barons’ offense. More ECKMAN, page B-5

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