LOCK HAVEN - Lock?Haven and Bloomsburg entered Friday's doubleheader at Lawrence Field tied atop the PSAC?Central at 3-1.
They're still tied up there after 12 innings of softball spanning nearly four hours, as LHU won the opener 8-0 in 5 innings before Bloom won the nightcap, 9-5.
"I'll be honest about it when I say at this point of the season, the standings don't even come into play," said LHU head coach Kelly Shannon. "I was just looking for them to come out and play two hard games in a row. That is something that we have been trying to improve on, but clearly we still need to do a little work on that. The first game was really nice, but it would have been nice to have played a little harder in the second game."
In the opener shortened by the 8-run rule, the Lady Eagles had their way with the Huskies in all areas of the game, outhitting them 6-1 and taking advantage of four errors.
"I am not sure why those mistakes happened, but one just led to another and we didn't have the ability to pull ourselves out of trouble," said Bloom head coach Susan Kocher. "That is not the way we want to play and we certainly could have hit better as well. But what is important is that after a game like that, we were able to come back in the second game and play much better."
Leading LHU at the plate was Nicole Smith, with two doubles and a home run. On the heels of that effort, she also had a pair of hits in the second game to finish the day 5-for-6.
"Nicole is key to our lineup," said Shannon. "When I don't have her pitching I have her in left field and she comes through for us regularly. I couldn't be more pleased with the way she is playing. I have been watching her since she was 12 years old when she came to our clinics. She has really developed and I am very glad to have her as part of our team."
Complementing Smith's efforts at the plate were Chelsea Edwards with a two-run home run in the second inning, while Nicole Weaknecht was 2-for-2 with a double and two runs.
LHU?pitcher Sarah Morse didn't allow a hit through the first four innings, and it wasn't until with one out in the fifth when she surrendered a single to Rachel Fredell that she lost her bid for a no-hitter.
"I am pleased with how she is pitching and I am really pleased with the way both of our pitchers are pitching now,"?said Shannon. "I know the second game got a little out of hand, but defensively we made some changes and our defense has been doing a good job of keeping us in ball games."
In the nightcap, Morse again took the ball in the circle for LHU, but this time, she faced a different Bloomsburg team that began hitting the ball hard right out of the chute to score three runs in the top of the first.
When Morse ran into trouble by surrendering three runs to the Lady Huskies in the first inning, Shannon called on Smith and the righthander from Milton retired the first 12 batters she faced.
"We thought we would go with Sarah because the first game was a shortened game," said Shannon. "Credit to them, they came out and made an adjustment to start hitting the ball. I figured if it was going to happen it would happen pretty fast and when it did, we decided to go with Nicole."
With Smith keeping the Husky bats under control, the Eagles battled back with single runs in the first and third frames to cut their deficit to a single run.
However, through the middle innings, the Lady Eagles stranded five runners in scoring position without scoring.
"We didn't put the ball in play very well when we had some good scoring opportunities," Shannon said. "I think we had four innings where we had a runner in scoring position, but we didn't come up with the hit we needed in the clutch."
Just as effective as Smith was in her first four innings of work, the roof caved in on she and her teammates as Bloom scored four runs in the sixth to break the game open.
"We had a couple little miscues defensively and then we gave up some hits," said Shannon. "When that happens, things spiral out of control sometimes and that is what happened today."
Held hitless in the first game, Brittany Favuzza joined Smith with a multiple-hit game in the nightcap as she went 3-for-4 with three singles. She also scored a run and drove in another in the setback.