TURBOTVILLE — Two days after handing Mifflinburg its first loss of the season, Loyalsock continued to be a giant killer on Monday — this time to the Warrior Run Defenders.
Loyalsock tagged Warrior Run starting pitcher Madi Waltman for a pair of runs in the first inning, and the Lancers never gave the lead up to beat the Defenders, 3-2, in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division III showdown at Warrior Run High School.
And although Warrior Run was aiming for a win to keep its undefeated season rolling, the Defenders can find some solace in the fact they held one of District 4’s best offensive teams to only three runs on the day.
“We came out here with a mindset to win, and we didn’t. We can’t take anything away from (Loyalsock). When you hold those girls to three runs, you’re doing something right,” said Warrior Run coach Garth Watson.
“One thing we did wrong — you have to score runs. We left the bases loaded in the first inning, and I told the girls we didn’t string timely hits together, and it’s not much science to it. With the 1-9 (batters) on our side, we have some young girls that are stroking the ball right now, and today we just didn’t punch them through.”
After missing an opportunity to score in the first inning, Warrior Run (4-1, 3-1 HAC-III), however, didn’t go down without a fight.
The Defenders cut their deficit to a run in the fourth when Lauren Watson first drew a walk, moved to second on an error, moved to third on a sac bunt by Valandra McHenry and then scored on another bunt by Kaelyn Watson.
In the top of the fifth Loyalsock (6-2 overall) went back up by two runs on Sam Stopper’s RBI double to the wall in center that plated Summer McNulty, who reached on a one-out single to right prior to stealing second.
Warrior Run couldn’t get much going after that as Loyalsock starting and winning pitcher Madison Jean held the Defenders to a single hit in the final two innings to help her team hold on.
“Very few times are you going to get Stopper and McNulty out. Those two just scorched the ball. They’ve been around four years, and you know if you can hold them to singles (you did your job),” said Watson.
“But we got to score more than three runs. I thought we did a fantastic job. Madi (Waltman) pitched a great game and we had a great game plan. Our defense, other than one bobble at short, it didn’t hurt us — but you have to be lights-out (on defense).”
Waltman went the distance in the game for Warrior Run. She struck out 12, walked one and gave up three runs on six hits.
Two of those runs came on three hits in the first inning as Loyalsock jumped out in front with a 2-0 lead.
With out one, McNulty singled and then scored on Stopper’s ground rule double to center. Stopper came home moments later on an RBI single by Bella Barone.
Warrior Run had a perfect opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead when the Defenders loaded the bases in the first.
Hannah Michael led off with a single to left and then moved up a base when Gracy Beachel reached on an error.
Waltman popped up to the first baseman for the first out, but Marissa Pick drew a walk to load the bases. Jean though settled down to get Lauren Watson to pop up to the shortstop and then Swartz to ground out to third for an easy force play.
“We were hitting Jean — we only struck out four times — but she was effective,” said coach Watson. “She’s a tough girl and she hit her spots, but we just didn’t drive the ball today.
“We can’t get along with lazy fly balls — not against their defense. They are pretty stellar and you have to earn everything,” added Warrior Run’s coach. “We got a good crew here and they’ll be fine.”
Warrior Run will try to get back into the win column when it travels to play Central Columbia at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“We go to Central, and the girls will respond,” said coach Watson. “They have long faces because it wasn’t the outcome they wanted. When you play in a league — especially the HAC-III with South Williamsport and Loyalsock and Bloomsburg — it’s like a playoff game every day.”
Loyalsock 3, Warrior Run 2
at Warrior Run
Loyalsock 200 010 0 — 3-6-4
Warrior Run 000 110 0 — 2-5-2
Madison Jean and Bella Barone. Madi Waltman and Jade Swartz.
WP: Jean. LP: Waltman.
Loyalsock hitters: Juliana Cruz, single; Summer McNulty, 2-for-4, 2 runs scored; Sam Stopper, 2-for-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, run; Barone, single, RBI.
Warrior Run hitters: Hannah Michael, single; Gracy Beachel, 2-for-4, double, run scored; Waltman, single; Marissa Pick, single, walk, RBI; Watson, walk, run.