Wyoming Area demonstrated Thursday that it’s going to do what’s necessary to produce runs.
If that means a lot of bunting and stealing, so be it. The Warriors ended up needing every bit of offense against Tunkhannock.
A comfortable lead abruptly turned uncomfortable in the seventh inning, but Wyoming Area managed to hang on for a 7-5 victory in the Wyoming Valley Conference softball opener for both teams.
“I said it in the beginning of the year, I’m going to play aggressive any chance I get,” said Wyoming Area first-year coach John McNeil.
Aggressiveness allowed Wyoming Area to turn a one-run game into a 7-1 advantage with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth.
Bree Bednarski and Emily Wolfgang opened the fifth with bunt singles. Nicole Turner followed with a blast that landed at the base of the left field fence for a triple. She scored on Julez DeAngelo’s groundout.
The Warriors then had two of their five stolen bases in the sixth to produce two more runs. Bednarski walked with two outs and stole second. An error allowed her to reach third, where she scored on a bloop single to left by Wolfgang. Then Wolfgang stole second and the same thing happened as an error on the play put her at third.
Turner followed with the shortest hit of the game after cracking the longest. She barely hit the ball five feet in front of home plate, but it was enough for Wolfgang to score.
Things were looking good for Wyoming Area even after Tunkhannock’s Traci Kromko hit a double to move the Tigers within 7-2. Pitcher Nicole Cumbo got a groundout to the mound for the second out, yet the Tigers refused to go quietly.
Erin Smith knocked in two more runs with a single to center and scored when Ryleigh Fitch powered a double to right. Cumbo, though, induced a grounder to end the game.
“We always have an inning like that,” McNeil said, “and I warned them in the fourth inning that could occur. You can’t rest on your laurels. You have to play seven innings.”
The loss left Tunkhannock wondering why it didn’t have more innings like the seventh. The Tigers left runners stranded on second and third in the first and sixth innings. The bats were quiet from the second through the fifth as Cumbo retired seven in a row.
The teams finished tied for second place in Division 2 last season. Both are expected to be in the title hunt again, but are still trying to find the right combinations to make up from losses to graduation.
Pittston Area 9
Julie Lyeback went 2-for-3 with a triple to help the Patriots earn the win over the Crusaders.
Pittston Area’s effort was guided by a five-run second inning after spotting Coughlin three runs in the first. Taylor Baloga picked up the win, tossing all seven innings and striking out six. She also added a triple.
Marissa Ross led the Coughlin effort with a 2-for-3 day, including a three-run home run.
Wyoming Area 6
Sophomore Bree Bednarski led the Warriors with a pair of hits and scored three runs in the win over Honesdale.
Nicole Turner drove in a pair of runs, while Drew Bednarski and Lindsay Carey each had an RBI. Bree Bednarski had three steals, while Emily Wolfgang had four. Wolfgang also scored two runs. The Warriors were 9-of-11 in stolen base attempts.