Third-inning eruption lifts Ephrata past Cocalico

By on April 1, 2015
 Ephrata’s Brittany Ritter (4) slides into home plate safely ahead of the tag of Cocalico’s Alyssa Schmeck during Friday’s contest. (Photo by Dick Wanner)

Ephrata’s Brittany Ritter (4) slides into home plate safely ahead of the tag of Cocalico’s Alyssa Schmeck during Friday’s contest. (Photo by Dick Wanner)

It was all about one inning in Friday’s girls softball clash between Cocalico and Ephrata held at Highland Elementary.

Both starting pitchers&tstr;Jenna Yarger of Ephrata and Cocalico’s Meghan Cervantes&tstr; cruised through the first two and a half frames with both teams generating just one hit between them.
Then the Ephrata offense suddenly, almost out of nowhere, woke up in a huge way against the junkballing right-hander from Cocalico.
When the bottom of the third was all said and done, Ephrata had sent 16 batters to the plate, pounded out 11 hits and 11 runs in the frame to break things open and key an eventual 11-0 five-inning victory.
Alexa Hershberger knocked three runs with a pair of hits in the inning, including an RBI double. Yarger and Caroline Stauffer also had two hits each in the frame, which included RBI, while Mason Hornberger delivered a big two-run double to the gap in left-center field.
Cervantes was replaced by Zoe Gapinski, and Ephrata knocked in two more runs off her before she finally was able to retire the side.
“The first two innings they were a little fooled by our pitcher, but they adjusted to her,” Cocalico Coach Wendy Kohler said. “They are a good hitting team.”
Ephrata, which faced flamethrowing Jordan Weaver from L-S the day before, took a little time adjusting to Cervantes’ off-speed offerings.
‘She kept us off-balance the first two innings but the third inning we adjusted,” Ephrata Coach Meredith Dombach said. “We just talked about that as a team. We got to make adjustments sooner because we are going to see all different types of pitching and all different pitchers even within a game…but it was definitely making the adjustments in the third inning that got us going.”
Hershberger and Brittany Ritter both went 2-for-3 on the day to pace Ephrata’s 12-hit attack. But it was the pitching of Yarger and the solid defense played behind her that kept the Lady Mounts in the game until the offense adjusted.
Sparked by solid defensive plays by second baseman Hornberger and Stauffer in left field, to name a few, Yarger, who struck out five and walked one, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
Gapinski ended that drama when her sinking liner found the turf in right-center field for what turned out to be the Lady Eagles’ only hit.
“Jenna pitched well and our defense was very solid,” Dombach said. “We feel we have a very solid infield, and we don’t think anything is going to get through them. Our outfield is still very young so we are still working with them but all around we feel our defense is very good.”
Except for the third inning, Cocalico did a lot of things well also, especially considering it was the Lady Eagles’ first day on the field (practice or game) this spring.
“I would say for our first outing, we had one bad inning but otherwise we saw a lot of good things,” Kohler said. “We had a lot of good defensive plays, and we hit the ball well at times but we hit them right at people. I was happy with the way we were hitting. It’s just that they didn’t fall and sometimes that happens.”
Both teams were also in action Monday afternoon where Cocalico’s hitting woes continued in the Section Three opener at Donegal.
The host Indians led 4-0 after two innings before scoring seven in the third to break open what turned out to be another 11-0 loss by the Lady Eagles.
Cocalico had just three hits in falling to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in Section Three play.
Ephrata, meanwhile, lost a tough 9-5 decision on the road at Solanco Monday as the host Mares scored four in the fourth and four more runs in the fifth to key the victory.
In the game last Thursday vs. L-S, the Pioneers’ Weaver collected 14 strike outs and scattered six Ephrata hits to help L-S earn a tight 2-1 victory over the Lady Mounts.
Ephrata (1-2) will look to even its record Wednesday when the Lady Mounts travel to Lebanon. They will also host Garden Spot Thursday before traveling to E-town for a night game next Monday night.
Cocalico also returns to action Wednesday at Stevens Field when the Lady Eagles host Northern Lebanon, beginning at 4:15 p.m. Cocalico will then hit the road Thursday to face L-S and Monday to play Elco.

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