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SLUMP BUSTER: Karns City’s Haley Sheman Breaks Out of Funk in Big Way With Homer and Five RBIs in Wild Win Over Moniteau

WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Haley Sherman had been mired in a deep and confounding slump.

The Karns City junior outfielder was hitless in her last seven at-bats dating back to March 28.

She and Gremlin coach Mike Stitt tinkered with her swing leading into Monday afternoon’s game against rival Moniteau.

The adjustments worked.

(Pictured above, Haley Sherman)

Sherman broke out of her funk in a big way, going 2 for 4, including a three-run home run that stuck the Karns City bus parked beyond the right field fence, and drove in five runs in the Gremlins’ 15-9 road win over the Warriors.

“Just the other day we worked on her swing. I made her do it on the tee,” Stitt said. “And that home run was crushed. It was so nice to see her get the monkey off her back and watch that left-handed swing we know she can do.”

Sherman said there was no doubt in her mind that she had hit her first career high school homer as soon as she made contact.

“Oh, I knew it was over,” she said, smile beaming as she clutched that home run ball tightly in her left hand. “It felt so good.”

It also turned out to be much-needed in another wild game between the two clubs. Just 12 days ago, Karns City beat Moniteau in a 21-10 slugfest.

But slugfests are nothing new to Karns City and Moniteau; they’ve both had their fair share of them this season.

Sherman’s blast with two on and two out in the top of the second inning gave the Gremlins what looked to be a comfortable 10-1 lead.

But not even a nine-run advantage in this rivalry is safe.

Ronni Radaker got the start and pitched three strong innings, giving up three runs (one earned). But Moniteau got to reliever Addison Bell, who is coming back from an injury, for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to 10-8 with just one out.

Addison Burrows came to the rescue and calmly got out of the inning with a groundout and a strikeout.

Burrows went the rest of the way, giving up just one unearned run on one hit over 3⅔ innings to earn the save. She struck out three and walked just one, attacking the zone with a heavy fastball and her lethal curve.

(Addison Burrows)

The plan was to save Burrows for a key matchup at home against Forest Area on Tuesday night. Moniteau’s rally quickly changed that approach.

“We wanted to see what (Bell) could do when she came in,” Stitt said. “She’s slowly getting back into it. She was depressed about how she did, but it is what it is. We’re only going to see better things coming from her.

“(Burrows) came in and shut them down,” Stitt added. “We didn’t want to throw her. Burrows is gonna go out tomorrow night and we’ll see what she can do.”

Burrows said she figured there was no chance she would see time in the circle on Monday.

But when she was called upon, she was ready for the challenge.

“The nerves were kicking in a little bit, because this game matters a lot to everybody on the team, not just me,” Burrows said. “I was happy to just be able to back up my other girls and come in and shut it down. I had 100% confidence in Ronni and Addy Bell that they were just gonna come in a mow everyone down. When the wheels fell off there for a little bit, I was like, ‘Alright. You know, you have to be mentally prepared here.’”

After Burrows staunched the bleeding, the offense went back to work.

Karns City (5-3) tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 12-8, and then added three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh for some breathing room.

The Gremlins had 14 hits. Lyrik Reed, Burrows, Jada Polczynski, Sherman and Addison Fox each had multi-hit games for a lineup that has given scoreboards a workout this season.

Karns City has scored nine or more runs five times, including in three of the last four games. The Gremlins have scored 48 runs in their last three wins.

“And we haven’t seen our full potential, and that’s the scary part,” Stitt said. “All 14 of the girls, it doesn’t matter where I put them, it’s a lineup to be reckoned with.”

Burrows certainly appreciates the offensive output, especially when she’s in the circle. Often, she’s also right in the middle of the onslaught as one of the most polished hitters on the team.

“It’s unbelievable,” Burrows said. “I’m super proud of every single girl in the lineup because we have girls who enter and they still hit the crap out of the ball. Everybody’s doing awesome. I have 100% faith in every single girl who steps to the plate that they’re going to do their job.”

Moniteau (3-6) also has a formidable order and has been putting up runs in bunches.

Addy Williams was at it again, driving in three with a triple during the big fourth-inning rally. Alex Stewart had a singled and a double and Ashley Huffman also had a pair of hits.

The big bugaboo this season so far for the Warriors has been defensive lapses, and they haunted them again with five errors that produced seven unearned runs.

Mariska Shunk relieved Graysen Rottman and surrendered just two earned runs in 5⅔ innings. But the damage was already done as Karns City jumped out with six runs in the first and four in the second.

“We hurt ourselves,” said Moniteau coach Bob Rottman. “I’ll give credit to them. They hit the ball and put it into play. Like Mike Tomlin once said, ‘You’re either applying pressure or feeling it.’ We felt it. I thought we flipped it there for a little bit, but that first inning hurt.”

Karns City has had a knack for hurting foes this season.

With that deep lineup, Stitt is hoping his team can be a very dangerous one come playoff time in a wide-open District 9 Class 3A field.

Sherman for one thinks this team has the potential to do great things.

“This is a really special team,” Sherman said. “We are so young, too. We only have three seniors. I’m really proud of this team. This is the most connection I’ve ever had on a team before. We really bond well.”