Nanticoke bats overwhelm Sem
Holly Sarnak opens scoring for Trojanettes with solo HR in three-run fourth inning.

By lsokolowski@leader.net

When you’re standing at the plate, watching the pitch, you don’t have much time to think. You only have time to react.

During the windup, you might think about the pitch count. You can try to figure out if you want to take the first strike, but it isn’t until the ball is close enough to swing at that you actually make a decision.

Sometimes, it’s an easy one. At least, Greater Nanticoke Area’s Hollie Sarnak made it look that way in a 9-1 win over host Wyoming Seminary on Thursday at the Plains Township Little League Field.

Sarnak, a junior, was ahead in the count 2-0. Instead of taking the next pitch in hopes of a third ball, she swung, hitting an in-the-park home run to left-center field.

“I’ll decide when they take balls,” said Nanticoke coach Gary Williams. “Hollie is in the three spot because she’s a good hitter. She has the green light (to swing).”

Sarnak’s solo homer in the top of the fourth inning broke a scoreless tie and sparked a three-run inning for the Trojanettes. Sarnak finished the day 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two doubles, including a two-run shot in the seventh.

She wasn’t the only player who did well at the plate. Megan Barton went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Pam Walters went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.

But, the Trojanettes got off to a slow start. Wyoming Seminary pitcher Molly Grossman saw only one batter over the minimum during the first three innings.

Grossman, who pitched six innings, threw the Nanticoke players off – not because of her pitches, but because of her presence. The Trojanettes were expecting Sarah Brown, the Blue Knights’ ace, to be on the mound. Brown pitched just the seventh inning in relief.

“The last couple of games, we were hitting a slow pitch,” Sarnak said. “We thought we were going to get a faster pitcher. That’s what we were ready for.”

It put more pressure on Nanticoke sophomore pitcher Jessica Higgins, who got into a jam in the bottom of the first inning. There were runners at second and third with one out, but Wyoming Seminary’s Kat Sharkey got caught between third and home on the next at-bat, and an ensuing groundout ended the inning.

After Nanticoke took a 3-0 lead in the fourth, Wyoming Seminary finally got on the board. Abby Sordoni led off the bottom half of the inning with a single, took second and third on groundouts and scored on a passed ball. It was the only run the Blue Knights would post.

The win is the sixth consecutive for Nanticoke, which started the season 1-2.

Higgins and Williams had the same motivating line for the team, one that the Nanticoke coaches are sure to repeat to the team: “Wins are contagious.”

Times Leader Girls Softball Preview

Top five players:

1. Sheree Horvath, Lake-Lehman, Sr. Horvath earned a 13-3 record as a junior, striking out 183 in 113 innings. She allowed 46 hits and gave up 18 walks. She also hit .411 with six triples.

2. Hollie Sarnak, Greater Nanticoke Area, Jr. Sarnak led the WVC with a .522 batting average and had six triples and five doubles while playing right field and third base as a sophomore.

3. Hannah Sharp, Coughlin, Jr. Sharp, only a sophomore last year, had a 13-3 record, striking out 151 in 111 innings. She allowed 50 hits and gave up 12 walks. She had a .417 batting average.

4. Kasey Corbett, Dallas, Sr. Corbett had a .425 batting average with eight RBI and 16 runs scored as a junior.

5. Jess Higgins, Greater Nanticoke Area, So. Higgins is stepping in to pitch for Nanticoke ace Jess Brenner. Brenner pitched for four years, so all eyes will be on Higgins.

Top five teams:

1. Hazleton Area returns four starters from last year’s 19-3 squad that made it to the PIAA Class 4A semifinals.

2. Coughlin returns six starters from last year’s 15-4 team that lost in the District 2 finals.

3. Lake-Lehman brings back all but one starter from last season’s 14-4 team.

4. Greater Nanticoke Area went 16-3 last year, but lost its ace Jess Brenner. Look for Jess Higgins to fill her shoes.

5. Dallas lost five starters from last year’s 17-1 squad, but returns Kasey Corbett, a three-year veteran.

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