By Brad Morris
WILLIAMSPORT —Meredith Jarvis knew it was her turn on Monday to step up in the season-opener for Logan Elm.
With a non-league game tied at 2-2 in the fifth, the senior second baseman smacked a two-run homer over the left field fence that ultimately provided the difference for the Braves in a 4-2 win over the host Westfall Mustangs.
“We were in a situation where I knew it was my time to step up and help to support our team,” Jarvis said. “I got an inside pitch that I was able to turn on and hit with a lot of power. As soon as it came off my bat, I knew it was gone.”
The Braves rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to defeat Pickaway County rival Westfall for the first time in recent memory.
“We kept battling as a team and we found a way to win,” Jarvis said. “This was a big win for us to open the season, especially since we haven’t beat Westfall in a while. Westfall is always a good team.”
While the Braves received timely hitting and had some big moments in the pitching circle on Monday, it was their defense that sparked the first of two rallies.
Delana Landefeld led off the home third with a double and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt courtesy of Ava Heath. Olivia Dumm then grounded out to pitcher Sadie Binkley, who threw on to first for the out. Landefeld was sent home on the play after Binkley tossed the softball to first. First baseman Jacie Clifton then threw home to catcher Kaitlyn Otterbacher, who applied the tag to end the inning and keep the score at 1-0.
“That was a big play and momentum shift in the game, because it kept us down by just a run and then we took advantage of that momentum in our next at-bat,” Logan Elm coach Jeri Hartley said.
Jarvis led off the fourth with a double to right, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a single to left courtesy of Clifton.
Makayla Cook put the Mustangs back into the lead in their half of the inning when she hit a solo home run over the left field fence.
Logan Elm’s Tia Fowler started the fifth with a double to left and scored two outs later on a double to left off the bat of Lynsay VanHoose. Jarvis then launched her aforementioned two-run homer to give the Braves their first lead of the game at 4-2.
“I was pleased with the way our girls worked at the plate against Olivia Dumm, who is a very good pitcher for Westfall, and only struck out four times,” Hartley said. “We kept putting the ball in play. We hit some lined shots that Westfall made some really nice plays on defensively, but we stayed with it and strung together some hits at key times.”
The Cook home run turned out to be the final hit of the night for the Mustangs.
Westfall was able to load the bases in the sixth on an error and two walks with two outs in the inning. Binkley stepped up and struck out the next batter to end the threat.
“Sadie has accepted her role and the pressure that comes from it and excelled in her first outing,” Hartley said. “I know she would want those two walks back to the bottom part of Westfall’s order in the sixth, because it allowed them to get back to the top of their lineup in the seventh. Sadie will learn from that.
“Overall, I felt like she did a nice job of mixing her pitches, pitching out of a few tough spots and she only gave up four hits to a pretty good lineup.”
The Logan Elm freshman right-hander then retired the Mustangs in order during the seventh, catching an infield pop-up to put the finishing touch on her first varsity win.
Binkley allowed four hits, two runs (one earned), walked a pair of batters and struck out 11.
“I can use several different pitches, but my curveball wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to early on,” Binkley said. “I threw a few more changeups than I probably normally would until I got the feel for my curve as the game went along and then it was pretty effective.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there, because I knew if I gave up a run, like I did with the home run, that my teammates would have my back and get it right back.”
Jarvis led the Braves by going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
The top four batters in the Mustangs’ lineup had three of their four hits, with Dumm contributing an RBI double to put Westfall on the scoreboard first in the second inning.
“We struggled with our hitting during our three scrimmages, and it continued into our opener tonight,” Westfall coach Lance Heath said. “We are not stringing together hits like we need to, and we are leaving runners out on the bases that need to be knocked in. We left six runners on the base pads tonight, including the bases loaded in the sixth.
“I was pleased with our defense. Other than one error on a bunt, they were spot on and made several really nice plays in the infield and outfield. We’ll continue to work on our offense and get ready for our next game.”
Both teams return to the diamond on Wednesday for non-league action, as the Braves (1-0) host Zane Trace (1-0) and the Mustangs (0-1) travel to Circleville (3-0).
Logan Elm 4, Westfall 2
Logan Elm 000 130 0 — 4 6 3
Westfall 010 100 0 —2 4 1
Binkley and Otterbacher; Dumm and Cook. HR — LE — Jarvis (fifth, one on); WF — Cook (fourth, solo).