Williamsport offense goes off for 19 hits in win

Williamsport’s Skyler Colarusso is congratulated by her third base coach after hitting a three-run home run in the fifth inning at James Short Park in Loyalsock on Wednesday afternoon. (MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette)

Williamsport seniors Kaylee Hornberger and Brittany Thompson delivered a passionate pregame speech before the Millionaires played Loyalsock on Wednesday.

Then those two and all the Millionaires put words into action. Over and over again. Words are nice, but Williamsport is doing some pretty loud talking with its bats at the perfect time.

Elaina Stone and Brittany Thompson each had four hits, Skyler Colarusso homered for a second straight game and nine players delivered 19 hits at James Short Park as Williamsport built a big lead and held off a furious Loyalsock rally, defeating the Lancers, 14-9 in a Backyard Brawl-flavored game. The Millionaires defeated Loyalsock for a second straight season in a game that featured 23 runs and 31 hits.

“Our seniors are a big part of our team and we had a group chat and they were on us the whole time and said we have to hit,” Stone said. “We know our fielding is good, but they kept saying in the end we have to hit and jump on them as early as we can and that’s what we did.”

Williamsport scored five runs in the first two innings and took a 5-0 lead. Loyalsock pulled within one in the third, but Williamsport scored nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings and built a 14-4 advantage. It was the latest and most powerful offensive explosion from a team that has scored 38 runs and collected 60 hits during a four-game winning streak.

Eight starters had ripped at least one hit by the third inning and the Millionaires scored multiple runs in four of the first five innings. Williamsport answered Loyalsock’s four-run rally that made it a one-run game with a four-run burst of its own and never led by fewer than five runs again.

“We talked to them and said they are one of the best hitting teams around and they are not going to quit. We need to put at least 10 on the board to win this game and the kids really responded and you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Williamsport coach Quint Bower said. “Everybody is having good quality at-bats right now, swinging at good pitches and recognizing. They’re not hitting the pitch that the pitcher wants you to hit, but are looking for their pitch to drive.”

Williamsport did that early and often. Katie Meale (3 for 3, two doubles, three RBIs) hit an RBI single and Jessica Brooks hit a two-run single in the first inning before Thompson ignited the second inning with a double, stole home and Cali Shields hit an RBI grounder, making it 5-0. After Loyalsock made it a one-run game, Thompson sparked a four-run fourth-inning with a lead-off single. Sammi Reeder and Stone both hit RBI singles and Colarusso added an RBI single and Hornberger (2 for 4, three runs) scored in both game-breaking innings.

Stone delivered hits in each of her first four at-bats and continued thriving since being moved to the clean-up spot. It was her second four-hit performance in three games and she has five RBIs during that time.

“Last year was great that Quint gave me the chance to go up to varsity and gave me a lot of opportunities at third base,” Stone said. “This year I just realize I have to step it up and help my team and I’m just trying the best I can and it’s working out great.”

Williamsport is showing power in addition to making good contact. The Millionaires have home runs in three straight games and Colarusso hit her second home run in two games, driving a fifth-inning three-run shot well out in center field that put them up, 14-4.

“It’s cool to see your teammates go out and hit home runs,” Stone said. “It pumps everyone up seeing someone do big things and it makes them want to step up and do that same thing so everyone keeps trying and trying.”

That is exactly what Loyalsock (10-7) did as it made two spirited comebacks. The Lancers scored nine two-out runs and consecutive RBI hits by Sam Stopper, Rhiallie Jessell, Elizabeth Haller and Bella Barone made it 5-4 in the third inning. And when Williamsport was one out from mercy-ruling Loyalsock, Haller delivered a two-run home run, keeping the game going and give her team hope.

The Lancers scored three more runs in the sixth inning highlighted by Stopper’s two-run double and Maegan Reitz epitomized the team’s relentlessness in the seventh inning. Reitz fell behind 0-2 before fouling off six pitches and taking three balls. Mikayla Aldendefer induced a game-ending pop-out but the last sequence spoke volumes.

“They fought right to the last pitch. That was our mentality and it showed on the field and we took advantage of every one of those 21 outs and that showed if we go down, we go down fighting,” Loyalsock coach Tom O’Malley said. “We could have just said in the fifth inning the game is over at 14-4 and as it turns out we score five more and they don’t score any. A hit here or there and who knows. If we build off this and keep cleaning up the little things, good things are going to happen.”

Haller has made big things happen all season and is having a fantastic senior season. The first baseman is hitting over .600 and went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Haller drove her home run over the left-center field fence and delivered her ninth multi-hit performance this season.

“She’s having great at-bats and what is impressive is she’s hitting it the other way,” O’Malley said. “She’s hitting the ball really hard and she smoked it today.”

Both teams have big games coming up and hope to keep hitting the way they did yesterday. Williamsport will play at Delaware Valley in next week’s District 2-4 Class 6A semifinals. Loyalsock has a chance to win at least a share of the HAC-III championship Friday against Southern Columbia.

Williamsport 320 450 0–14 19 2

Loyalsock 004 023 0–9 12 0

Mikayla Aldenderfer and Kalindi Maggs. Juliana Cruz and Rhiallie Jessell. W: Aldenderfer, (9-5). L: Cruz, (9-7).

Top Williamsport hitters: Elaina Stone 4-5, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Brittany Thompson 4-4, 2 runs, SB; Skyler Colarusso 2-5, HR, 4 RBIs; Katie Meale 3-3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs; Kaylee Hornberger 2-4, 3 runs, SB; Jessica Brooks 1-4, 2 RBIs; Erika Talini 1-1, run; Cali Shields 1-5, RBI, run; Sammi Reeder 1-3, 2 RBIs, 3 runs. Top Loyalsock hitters: Elizabeth Haller 3-4, HR, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Katie Welker 2-4, 2 runs; Sam Stopper 2-3, 2B, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Rhiallie Jessell 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, run; Bella Barone 2-4, RBI.

Records: Williamsport (9-7), Loyalsock (10-7).