Raezer sharp in 5-0 victory over Cocalico

By on April 6, 2016
Ephrata first baseman Lauren Shuke (left) goes to a full-out stretch to retire Cocalico runner Jackie Polverini during Friday’s game.

Ephrata first baseman Lauren Shuke (left) goes to a full-out stretch to retire Cocalico runner Jackie Polverini during Friday’s game.

Sophomore Jenna Raezer tossed her first career varsity shutout in a 5-0 win over Cocalico in Denver on Friday afternoon.

Ephrata added to a 1-0 lead with two outs in the final inning after a 10-minute rain delay, padding the slight lead to the final margin.

Raezer and the Lady Mounts (1-2) were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel with Lady Eagle junior Kourtnee Good until the top of the fifth. Ephrata sophomore shortstop Daniella Tristaino slapped a ball past third base to start the inning. She promptly stole second base, scoring on a single by junior centerfielder Jenna Black.

“I felt that I could trust the defense behind me,” said Raezer, in sharing the credit for the shutout. “I knew that if they hit it, we’d get the out.”

“We want our pitchers to throw between nine and 13 pitches each inning,” added Ephrata coach Meredith Dombach. “She did that every inning. She was awesome, hitting her spots. It was her best effort ever.”

The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when Cocalico was poised to at least tie the game with runners at first and third with only one out and shortstop Katlyn Heft at the plate. Heft drove a pitch toward the middle that was speared by Raezer and relayed to Lady Mount third baseman Danika Weaver. Weaver stepped on the bag, completing the double play and ending the rally.

The Lady Eagles never threatened again.

“You feel like you’re dreaming when your third hitter smacks one, and it’s caught,” lamented Cocalico coach Wendy Kohler. “We wanted to be aggressive early in the count. The final scoreboard didn’t reflect how good this game was.”

Raezer also commented on her dramatic play.

“I actually didn’t think there were any outs, but I knew Danika would know what to do,” she said. “The rest was all instinct.”

Raezer struck out two, while only walking one in the complete-game effort. Good struck out seven and walked five over four and two-thirds innings. Senior Summer Burkholder relieved for two and a third innings, walking four after the rain delay.

Offensively, junior Aaliyah Alfano and senior Rachel Hackman singled in a run each then scored in the rain interrupted seventh for Ephrata. Five different Lady Mounts scored in the contest.

Senior center fielder Jess Snader had a perfect day at the plate for the Lady Eagles, stroking two singles and drawing a walk. Steph Kochel, Alyssa Schmeck and Lexi Beiler also each had a hit for Cocalico.

“It’s definitely a huge rivalry,” commented Dombach. “For us to win at their house, on their new field feels great. We were very aggressive on the bases, and that was a key.”

“I was very proud that we stayed with them for most of the game,” added Kohler. “Last year they 10-runned us. Our outfielders made some great catches today.”

Last Thursday at home, Ephrata was dealt a 14-1 setback in five innings by visiting Lampeter-Strasburg as the Lady Mounts were out-hit, 11-4.

Cocalico also was on the wrong end of a 17-4 decision last Wednesday at home vs. Conestoga Valley. In that one, CV pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of seven Cocalico errors.

Up next Ephrata hosts Lebanon Wednesday before traveling to Garden Spot Friday afternoon. Cocalico is on the road Wednesday at Northern Lebanon, then will host last year’s section champ L-S on Friday.

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