LOCK HAVEN - LHU softball coach Kelly Shannon has been looking for her team to respond by playing tough back-to-back games. Maybe the message Shannon delivered to her team following a double loss to Mansfield finally got through.
Going into to Sunday's non-conference twinbill with Shippensburg, the Lady Eagles had won five of their last six games. Although they split their non-conference twinbill with Ship Sunday afternoon at Lawrence Field, Shannon might have seen some of what she has been looking for during the stretch as the Lady Eagles blanked the Red Raiders 5-0 in the opener before dropping a tough 2-1 decision in the nightcap.
"I saw a little bit of what I was looking for, but we still have a few things to clean up offensively," Shannon said. "We'll just keep working at it."
The story for LHU in the first game was the combination of Brittany Favazza with the bat and Sarah Morse in the circle.
Favazza was her usual self as the catalyst of the Eagles by going 4-for-4 with three singles and a triple while also scoring a pair of runs.
"That is what you want your leadoff hitter to do," Shannon said. "She has done a great job this year finding a way to get on base and she is doing a better job of finding her pitch up at the plate. When she puts the ball in play and gets on base we can make things happen."
As for Morse, she was almost untouchable in the circle as she only allowed the Red Raiders one hit in her route-going effort, an infield single off her glove by Rachel Shumway in the second inning. Morse only allowed one walk while striking out three in her dominating effort.
"The umpire called a good game and gave me pretty much everything that was there," Morse said. "I don't really try to set hitters up with any type of approach. I just go at them (batters) one at a time."
Shannon has seen Morse do her thing many times before and she is just hoping that her right-hander can continue to be strong down the stretch for a few more wins.
"Sarah is throwing well right now," Shannon said. "Hopefully we can string a couple of wins together in a row because that is what we have to do if we are going to end up in the post-season. I thought Nicole (Smith) threw well also, but we just didn't generate any offense for her."
While Favazza was setting the table offensively and Morse was handling the pitching chores, the LHU defense also stepped up big as the infield came up with two nice double plays to keep the Ship offense under control.
"Sarah Schwalm at shortstop has been a big component of our defense," Shannon said. "We put her there and she is very solid, very smart and she also has a strong arm that enables her to make plays like she did today."
The Lady Eagles scored a pair in the first inning when Favazza tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Schwalm. With two outs, Nicole Smith singled to right, Chelsea Edwards moved Smith to second with a single to right and Erin Clary drove Smith across the dish with a RBI double to center.
Already leading 2-0, LHU doubled its lead in the second inning when with one out, Alyssa Smith was hit by a pitch and Favazza followed with her second hit of the game, an infield single to third.
Schwalm walked and Nicole Weaknecht drove Alyssa Smith in with the third LHU run on an infield groundout. Two batters later, Favazza scored her second run of the game when Chelsea Edwards was safe on a Ship error.
With the game well in hand, the Lady Eagles completed the scoring in the fourth when Weaknecht singled, stole second, move do third when Edwards was again safe on a Red Raider error and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Clary.
Just as energetic as they were at the plate in the first game, the Lady Eagles might have lost a little of their aggressiveness in the second game.
In game two, Ship went up 2-0 with single runs in the first and sixth innings before The Haven cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Weaknecht and a RBI double by Edwards with one out.
The inability to move Edwards around to score the tying run after squandering a first-and-second with nobody out situation in the third hurt the Lady Eagles chances of winning the game.
"I think Bridgette (Clark) was up in one of those situations and she struck the ball hard, but unfortunately for us, they caught it," Shannon said. "We had a pop up with a runner at third and nothing good happens when you have a pop up. What we are trying to get across to the girls is to have quality at-bats every time they go up to the plate."
With the possibility of the post-season looming in the near future, the Lady Eagles pretty much control their own destiny as they face and Mansfield this week to close out the regular season.
"That is huge for us," Shannon said about the return engagement with Mansfield Saturday at Lawrence Field. "There is no way around it that if we are going to make the playoffs we are going to have to take care of matters this week. We just have to come out, play hard and see what happens."