Having been blasted by West Holmes in their only contest to date this season, the Hiland Lady Hawks were dealt no favors by the scheduling gods when they found Div. IV state power Strasburg waiting for them in their second contest Monday, April 6 at Hiland.
Hiland coach Erica Glasener said she really got on her players following that first lost and challenged them to step up, and the Lady hawks responded.
No, they didn’t win, dropping a 6-4 game to Strasburg, but in the process, found themselves, and found that they could compete with a great program.
“We really battled tonight, and played very well,” said Glasener. “I told the kids that we need to go out and play every game, every inning, like it was their last. They went out and did that tonight.”
With Allison Aleshire toeing the rubber for Hiland and Ashleigh Gessner on the mound for the Lady Tigers, Strasburg would strike quickly in little pieces., pecking away at Aleshire. Two runs in the second, one in the third and another in the fourth and fifth saw Strasburg roll out to a 5-0 lead. Everything was going accordingly for the mighty Tigers, until the fifth, when Hiland took a swing at the mighty Tigers.
With one out, Kelsey Mat legged out an infield single and Brittany Wengerd reached on a fielder’s choice.
Megan Kandel walked to laod the bases, and after Aleshire popped out for the second out, Hayley Schrock came through with a clutch two-run double to trim the lead to 5-2. Hiland wasn’t done. Up stepped Lindsey Yoder, who thrashed a single to right-center to plate two more to make it 5-4.
Strasburg would respond with a run in the sixth, and Gessner would work through the final two innings unscathed to secure the win for the Tigers.
While it was a loss for Hiland, it was a different team on this night compared to Hiland’s opener.
“I told our girls that they wanted to come in here and play five innings and leave,” said Glasener. “They didn’t think we would compete. We had to come ready to play, and we did that.
“Those two huge hits were really big for us. Hayley came through with a big hit and Lindsey, a first-year player, came through too. It was nice to see us respond to a challenge.”
Mast ripped three for Hiland, while Schrock and Yoder both added the big RBI hits.
Aleshire went the distance, allowing eight hits walking six and striking out three while allowing five earned runs. She did a nice job of working out a real jam in the sixth, stranding runners on second and third by getting through the heart of the Tigers line-up.
Gessner picked up the win, going seven strong innings, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out six.
While it was a loss for Hiland, it was definitely a building block moment for a team looking to show everyone they can play.
“People are going to see that score and realize that we aren’t going to back down, we are going to come in and fight and work for everything we can get,” said Glasener. “That is the kind of attitude we need to bring night in and night out.”