MILTON — Lewisburg entered Friday’s Heartland Athletic Conference cross-cover game against Milton clinging to hopes of qualifying for the District 4 playoffs.
With five games remaining, the Green Dragons need to win every contest just in order to reach the postseason.
Lewisburg got a big boost in those efforts as Brynn Wagner hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to pave the way for the Green Dragons’ 6-3 victory at Milton Area High School.
“It’s definitely a very needed (victory), with losing seven games by one run in the last four weeks. It’s been a tough year for us,” said Lewisburg coach Ken Wagner. “We’ve been in every game — losing seven games in the last inning or in extra innings — the season has been a little disheartening for the girls.
“Something like this picks them up. We still have four games left and we still have a shot to make the playoffs, so who knows, maybe this will jump-start us and get us in,” added Lewisburg’s coach.
And with the game tied at 3 and with two outs, there was no better time for Wagner to provide some heroics for Lewisburg (6-10).
Wagner, after taking a first-pitch strike from Milton’s Jillian East, pounced on the second pitch she got and drove the ball over the center field fence to bring home Erin Field and Sydney Hoffman.
Field reached on a fielder’s choice and Hoffman singled to set the table for Wagner’s bomb.
“I knew that I had to hit the ball, because there were two outs and the game was tied,” said Brynn Wagner about her third homer of the season. “And as soon as I hit it, I could feel it. I knew it was gone. It was really exciting.”
Said coach Wagner,” Brynn has been hitting the ball well all year for us. Between her and Rylee (Dyroff), they’re both batting around .460, so they’ve been leading the team all year. It’s sort of expected out of her and Rylee to carry the team, and they’ve been doing a great job doing it.”
With the lead back in her team’s grasp again, Hoffman would do the rest to nail down the win for the Green Dragons.
Hoffman pitched a complete game for Lewisburg. She struck out two and allowed just seven hits and one walk on the day. In the final two innings once her team got the lead, Hoffman faced a total of six Milton players and turned them all away for a pair of 1-2-3 innings.
“Syd did pitch a good game. She hit her spots today, and the only time she got into trouble was when she hung her change-up. She hung that several times and Milton hit some shots off her, but besides that when she kept the ball down she did a great job,” said Lewisburg’s coach.
“That was one of the things we were lacking in the last game. Sydney’s been giving up about 12-15 hits a game, but today she limited that to only seven, so that was a big plus, too.”
Wagner finished with a 2-for-4 day at the plate, plus Dyroff singled and drove in two runs for Lewisburg, which also got a 2-for-3 day from Hoffman and a 2-for-4 effort from Kendall Murphy.
“We haven’t had the best of luck this year, so it’s nice to get our confidence back (at the plate) to know that we’re still in it,” said Brynn Wagner.
The win by Lewisburg spoiled Senior Night for Milton (3-14), which clawed its way back from a 3-0 deficit with a three-run fourth — on RBI singles from Cait Guisewite, Siarra Buck and Olivia Eisenhauer.
Lewisburg took a 3-0 lead after getting two runs in the second on Dyroff’s two-run single, and then a Kendall Murphy sacrifice fly in the third.
The Black Panthers who were honored following the game included East, Buck, Eisenhauer, Hayley Aunkst, Cam Guisewite, Rachelle Campbell, Emily Snyder, Kayla Reich, Hannah Hagenbuch and Millena Sowden.
It was definitely a bittersweet moment for Milton coach Todd Fedder seeing that many of his players saying good-bye in their final home game.
“There’s a phenomenal amount of talent in that group. They’ve been playing together since they were very young in Little League, and all the way up through travel ball,” said Milton’s coach. “They are a good group of kids. Of course as they got older challenges arose and everything else, but all in all they are a great group of kids. They really are.”
Lewisburg is next at Line Mountain at 4:30 p.m., Monday; and Milton doesn’t play again until the Central Columbia Tournament next weekend.
Lewisburg 6, Milton 3
Lewisburg 021 003 0 — 6-11-0
Milton 000 300 0 — 3-7-2
Sydney Hoffman and Erin Field. Jillian East and Cam Guisewite.
WP: Hoffman. LP: East.
Lewisburg hitters: Rylee Dyroff, single, 2 RBI; Field, single, run scored; Hoffman, 2-for-3, double, walk, run; Brynn Wagner, 2-for-4, HR (6th, 2 on), 3 RBI, 2 runs; Lily McBride, single; Kendall Murphy, 2-for-4, double, RBI, run; Grace Rosevere, single, run; Kerstyn Koons, double, walk.
Milton hitters: Olivia Eisenhauer, 2-for-4, RBI; Hayley Aunkst, double, run scored; Cait Guisewite, double, RBI, run; Siarra Buck, 2-for-2, double, RBI, run; Emily Snyder, walk; East, single.