by Tom Utescher
Back on April 13 Germantown Friends School staged a 7-6 softball upset over defending league champion Abington Friends, and those same AFS Kangaroos rebounded for a 17-3 mercy-rule decision over the George School on Tuesday of last week. However, juxtaposing those two results failed to provide an accurate indicator of what would occur last Friday in the head-to-head meeting between the host GFS Tigers and the visiting Cougars of George School.
Making up most of an early shortfall, Germantown trailed 4-3 after four innings, but the visitors sent eight runs across the plate in their next two batting stints, and wound up winning, 12-5.
Both pitchers went the distance, with victorious senior Katelyn Richerts (3K, 1BB, 9H) helping George School reach a record of 5-2 in the Friends Schools League and 6-3 against all opponents. Sophomore Becca Bateman (3K, 2BB, 13H) was in the circle for GFS, which leveled off at 3-3 within the league and slipped to 3-6 overall.
The victory over perennial league power Abington earlier in the month had been a milestone for the Tigers.
“This is my fourth year as coach and this was the first win against them for any of my teams,” noted GFS skipper Susan Robinson. “I think Abington’s streak with us went back well before that, though. It was a good game for us; we just put the ball in play and made things happen.”
With the score tied 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth, host GFS got a single from senior Allison David, who stole second and then came around to score the winning run when the Kangaroos made an infield error on a ball hit by sophomore Rachel Allison.
David was not on hand for last Friday’s encounter, since she was off on a college visit. The other two seniors on the Germantown roster have determined their destinations for next fall; Lauren Kelly will attend Oberlin College and Reem Rosenhaj is headed for Middlebury.
In addition to missing David, the Tigers were also trying to regain their mojo after Wednesday’s neighborhood tussle with Penn Charter, which PC won, 17-4.
“We really didn’t play badly, but Penn Charter just smacked the ball all over the place,” Robinson related.
On Friday, Kelsey Taylor’s two-run triple to right field got George School on the board, and the Cougars added two more in the second inning, thanks in part to a costly outfield error. The Tigers tightened up their defense to keep the Cougars scoreless over the next two frames.
The hosts scored their first run in the bottom of the third, when sophomore Maddie Andrews got on base through an error and came home on Allison’s triple down the line in left. A lot of balls coming off the bats of the Tigers headed in that general direction, including a number of hard-hit fouls. The GFS batters were tending to start their swings a little too soon against the relatively slow pitches of George School’s Richerts.
“It benefits us to see someone a little faster, because we’ve struggled against slower pitching,” admitted Robinson. “It’s something we have to work on, because we need to be able to deal with that.”
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Germantown junior Isabel Linguiti singled to shallow left field, then stole second and went to third on a ground-out to the right side by classmate Eden Beschen. Linguiti came home when Rosenhaj sent a base hit to left field, and Rosenhaj wound up on second when the ball bounced past the outfielder. Andrews moved the runner up with a sacrifice grounder, setting up an RBI double to centerfield by Allison.
The Tigers had pulled within a point of the leaders, 4-3, but the game didn’t stay close for long as the Cougars piled up five runs at the top of the fifth. George School had just two bona fide hits, but was helped along by a walk and three GFS errors. The last two runs scored when Steph Heys hit a hopper between third and short.
At the top of the sixth, Molly Gorelick and Rachael Lippincott each had RBI hits for George School, and a third run scored on an error to make it 12-3. The Tigers recouped one run in the bottom half, when Rosenhaj got on base through an error and was doubled home by Allison later on.
Germantown got through the top of the seventh with just four Cougars coming up to bat, then Kelly led off the flip side by putting the ball in play to the left side and reaching first on an error. Wild pitches got her around to third, where she remained as the visitors collected the first two outs. Linguiti then slapped an RBI hit between third and short to put the final run on the board.
“Except for that one inning, we were at least able to limit the damage on defense,” remarked the Tigers’ mentor, Robinson. “Mistakes are going to happen, but this season we’ve done a better job of regrouping after a letdown than we have in the past.”