Williamsport softball loses at BEA

MILESBURG – After battling for 6 1/2 scorless innings, Bald Eagle Area scored a run in the seventh inning to defeat Williamsport, 1-0, in dramatic fashion on Wednesday.

With one out in the seventh, BEA’s Megan Dudish walked and was replaced by courtesy runner Sydney Foster. Logan Fischer followed with a bunt that hugged the third-base line for a hit.

“I wanted to have her hit away, but my dad said, no, we have to play for the run so we’ll give him the props on that one,” BEA coach Kaleen Sidisky said. “It couldn’t have been more perfect and she hustled it out for the hit. She always hustles.”

It appeared Williamsport pitcher Alexis Bower was going to escape the inning and force extra innings when she recorded her ninth strikeout of the game, but Makennah Dyke worked Bower for the second walk of the inning to load the bases.

After going 0 for 2 with a strikeout and a ground out, Mikayla Smith worked Bower to a 2-2 count before she lofted a soft fly ball between Williamsport shortstop Mikayla Bower and left fielder McKenzie Tebbs to allow Foster to race home with the game-winning run.

“I knew that I could hit the ball and I wanted to hit it hard to get a hit so that we could score the winning run,” Smith said. “After (Tuesday’s) tough loss to Philipsburg, to win this game really feels great.”

Williamsport (5-2) coach Quint Bower agreed that the game was simply a battle between two good teams that came down to execution.

“Both teams battled hard,” Bower said. “It was a mirror of last year’s game when we beat them 1-0. This game came down to the last inning and the team that wanted it the most stepped up and won the ball game. They executed when they had to. They got the bunts down and we didn’t. We just didn’t do our jobs when we had to do them.”

Dudish, pitching in her third game in as many day, struck out 12 Millionaires and didn’t allow a hit.

“She was just outstanding today and there is no other way to describe her performance,” said Sidisky, whose team improved to 4-3.

While Dudish was nearly perfect, Bower wasn’t far behind. She allowed only three hits and struck out nine. She walked three with two of those coming in the deciding seventh inning.

“When you give your opponent free passes and don’t give your defense an opportunity to make the plays, there is nothing you can do about it,” manager Bower said. “When they got the runners on base, they got the bunt down to move the runners and they did their job. You have to tip your hat to them.”