The Bats Come Out Swinging in Softball


Christopher Palm

Carissa Yeager (right) makes a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader against Penn State Abington.

After finishing their return to play in the 2021 season, Penn State Harrisburg softball returns to the ballpark as the bats come out swinging.

Beginning the season with a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Lions got off to an even start on opening day with an 8-5 loss to Gettysburg followed by a 6-5 win over Kean.

In the first game, Madelyn Lehigh gave the team a healthy lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, driving in three runs off a double hit to left field.

The lead would soon go away as the bullets scored six runs in the last three innings, giving the Lions their first loss of the season.

The Lions would soon turn things around in their second game of the day against Kean, with Steph Reider and Lehigh scoring an RBI and an unearned run, respectively.

Reider, Lehigh, McKenzie Boozel and Madeline English combined with six RBI as the Lions held off a late-charging Kean, earning their first win of the season.

The bats would come charging against Eureka College with Boozel hitting two doubles with four RBI while Carissa Yeager threw six strikeouts and a no-hitter in five innings.

The 8-0 win over Eureka would be the first of many shutout victories to come as the Lions defeated St. Elizabeth 6-0.

Yeager threw five strikeouts despite giving up four hits while Lehigh continued to lead the scoring effort with two RBI.

Spring break play would soon come to an end in Myrtle Beach as the Lions dominated early in their first game against Gwynedd Mercy, scoring 10 runs including a two-run homer from Reider.

Delaney Nevius was credited with three RBI with Lehigh and Reider earning two RBI each in the Lions’ 10-2 win in five innings.

Despite losing to Cazenovia 8-4, the team returned to Pennsylvania with the winning focus mentality.

“I think our team has been able to really capitalize on our hitting and working together as a team,” said Madelyn Krantz.  “It’s just, all around, good teamwork.”

In their first doubleheader on the road against Penn State Altoona, the Harrisburg Lions were faced with growing adversity.

While the bats would come alive in the top of the fourth inning, the Altoona Lions held them off, resulting in a 4-2 final over the Harrisburg Lions.

The team got off to a good start in the second game as Lehigh scored on a wild pitch after a double hit to left field followed by a sacrifice bunt from Krantz.

However, the Altoona Lions would soon answer in the bottom of the third with five scored runs along with another five runs afterwards, resulting in a six-inning 10-2 loss for the Harrisburg Lions.

“From Myrtle Beach, we came out on fire, which was amazing,” said Yeager.  “We were just down a little bit (against Altoona).  But coming back to (Pollock Field), it’s a brand new day and we’re a whole new team.”

Returning home to Middletown, the Lions opened their 2022 home campaign with a split-doubleheader against Elizabethtown at Courtney Pollock Memorial Field.

The team was victorious in the first game, beating the Blue Jays 14-3 in five innings but the roles were reversed as Elizabethtown won the second game 5-2.

Reider led the hitting effort with three hits and four RBI while Lehigh and Krantz scored four runs apiece.  Nevius and English were also credited with three RBI each.

“Anything’s up, like we can win it if I feel our team is that good enough,” said Yeager.  

Opening conference play on the road, the Lions traveled to Washington, D.C. to take on Gallaudet in a scoring clinic.

The hitting effort was hot as Lehigh lent her performance combining six hits, including a triple to left field in the first game and six RBI combined.

Reider also contributed to the hitting effort with seven RBI combined while Krantz scored five runs on the day.

Yeager and Mary-Kate Penczkowski were each credited with a win in their respective games, bringing in four strikeouts each as the Lions swept the Bison 14-0 and 22-1, respectively, in five innings each.

“When we bring our confidence and we bring it to the field, everyone can tell and we play better,” said Krantz.

The next day, the team traveled to Lancaster Bible and continued to lead the way in the United East Conference.

Herncane and English kept the ball rolling, bringing in four combined runs and two RBI each in the Lions’ 10-2 win in the first game.

Krantz, Lehigh and Boozel contributed in the second game, combining eight RBI and sweeping the Chargers with a 10-0 win in the second game.

Yeager continued to show her resilience, throwing six combined strikeouts against Lancaster Bible as the Lions increased their win total to nine overall and four in the United East.

“I believe in our team,” said Yeager.  “If we keep that motivation up and keep hitting, I feel like we’ll do well.”

Returning home to Pollock Field, the Lions completed non-conference play this season in a split-doubleheader against rival Franklin & Marshall.

Krantz got the Lions on the board in the bottom of the second with a grand slam home run while Yeager threw five strikeouts in a 4-1 win in the first game.

The Diplomats came back fighting in the second game, giving the Lions two fielding errors en route to a 5-1 final score.

“We just have to learn to make those small adjustments in the (batting) box and the mental game of it,” said Krantz.  “There’s a lot of potential and I see us doing well this year and coming out strong.”

The Harrisburg Lions stayed confident heading into the weekend as they opened home conference play against Penn State Abington.

The bats came swinging in the first game with Herncane and Reider each earning three and two RBI, respectively, and Yeager scoring the win with five strikeouts.

The second game saw a close matchup between the Harrisburg Lions and the Abington Lions in the first four innings.

After a fielder’s choice play scored a run for the Abington Lions, Boozel and Nevius answered back for the home team with two home runs, increasing the Harrisburg Lions lead and resulting in an 11-5 win.

In a rematch of last year’s conference championship series against Penn College, the Lions were swept by the Wildcats on the road, allowing 12 runs combined despite an attempted comeback in a nine-inning second game.

“We just like don’t give up,” said Boozel.  “We always say ‘all gas, no brakes.’  No matter if we get down, we’re always up.  We’re always cheering, we just want to play as a team and work hard.”

The Harrisburg Lions will look to keep the momentum going this week as they face Morrisville State in a doubleheader on the road on Friday, April 8.