ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona softball hosted its last home games of the 2019 regular season on Tuesday afternoon at Stewart Athletic Field, and the Lady Lions posted a pair of wins over Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Hilbert College.
Penn State Altoona (15-15, 5-7 AMCC) won game one 4-2, then came from behind to post an 8-7 victory in game two. The doubleheader included a little bit of everything, from a Senior Day ceremony, to a lengthy weather delay, to a big comeback.
For Senior Day, the Lady Lions recognized senior shortstop Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) on her collegiate career. Giedroc finished her day with three hits, four runs batted in, two runs scored, and a stolen base, helping lead her team to the sweep of Hilbert (8-16, 3-11 AMCC).
"Two games against a conference opponent that we needed to get today. We got the first game, and then showed a lot of heart in winning the second game, coming back with a big six-run sixth inning," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "Hopefully, it sets us up now for the next six conference games and a playoff run."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 4, Hilbert 2
Despite having some of its momentum broken due to a long weather delay in the sixth inning, Penn State Altoona still managed to grab a win in game one. The Lady Lions had just three hits, but they were helped by error-free defense and solid pitching.
Sidney Lewis (Smithmill, PA/Moshannon Valley) pitched a complete game for her seventh win of the season. In seven innings, she held Hilbert to two runs on seven hits while walking none. Lewis also recorded five strikeouts.
At the plate, Giedroc had two of her team's three hits, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) was hit by pitch three times, tying a Penn State Altoona softball single game record.
Penn State Altoona scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Lewis drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the first run, and Brittney Dellaquila's (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts) RBI groundout made it 2-0.
A Hilbert error in the bottom of the fourth helped Penn State Altoona increase its lead to 3-0. Lewis led off the inning with a walk, then moved up to third on Dellaquila's sacrifice bunt. A throwing error on the play allowed Lewis to score, giving the home team a three-run advantage.
Hilbert got on the board in the top of the sixth, when Sam Shallcross' RBI double to left-center cut Penn State Altoona's lead to 3-1.
The Lady Lions appeared poised for a big inning in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, Giedroc was hit by a pitch to score Leyo, making it 4-1. But lightning halted play, and a heavy thunderstorm soon followed, forcing the field to be tarped. Play finally resumed after a delay of 1:21, but a double play ended Penn State Altoona's scoring threat.
Hilbert got a run in the top of the seventh when Kaitlyn Barone scored on a wild pitch, but Penn State Altoona allowed no further damage to be done.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 8, Hilbert 7
Still dodging occasional rain downpours in game two, the Lady Lions overcame a 7-2 deficit by scoring six runs in the sixth to grab the win.
Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Penn State Altoona. Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Giedroc finished 1-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored.
Sarah Gearhart (McVeytown, PA/Mount Union) started in the circle and took a no decision, allowing three earned runs over 3 2/3 innings pitched. Lewis entered and ultimately took the win to improve her season record to 8-3. In 3 1/3 innings, she allowed three runs.
Hilbert staked out a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on Melanie Basile's RBI single through the right side and Shallcross' RBI double to left-center.
Penn State Altoona tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the third, when Giedroc came through with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to knot the score.
Hilbert responded in the next half inning, getting two runs across in the top of the fourth. Maia Delaney's RBI triple to right center put the visitors back in front, and Alyssa Barnas followed with an RBI base hit to make it 4-2.
The Hawks added to their advantage in the top of the sixth. Morgan McNeill's RBI single up the middle and Gabriella Bongiorno's two-run single down the left field line extended Hilbert's lead to 7-2.
But the Lady Lions rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to jump ahead. Lewis' RBI single to right started things off, and after a walk, Jayde Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) plated two more runs with her base hit to left. Back-to-back RBI singles from Showers and Gearhart later in the inning tied the score, and Giedroc drove in the go-ahead run with her sac fly to left.
Penn State Altoona softball returns to action tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24, for another big AMCC doubleheader. The Lady Lions will travel to Cresson, Pa. to play rival Mount Aloysius College in a pair of games starting at 3:00 p.m.