by Tom Utescher
With last Tuesday’s 12-0 mercy rule victory over visiting Westtown School, Germantown Friends finished its Friends Schools League regular season schedule without a loss, clinching the top seed for the league playoffs for the first time in the history of the program.
The Tigers (9-0 league, 10-1 overall) did all of their scoring in the first two innings, then had their reserve players see some action. The game ended after the Westtown Moose batted in the top of the fifth.
The undefeated run through the FSL made Germantown’s senior day celebration all the more special. The Tigers bid farewell to a pair of four-year starters, catcher Rachel Allison and shortstop Maddie Andrews, as well as third-year veteran Becca Bateman, who pitched throughout the Westtown game. She struck out four batters, with four hits and four walks, while GFS out-hit the Moose, 9-4.
Allison, the only one of the three who plans to play at the next level, is headed for Ursinus College. Andrews is going to Penn, and Bateman will attend Boston University.
The ace on the Tigers’ pitching staff, sophomore Lizzie Becker, gave her arm a rest but remained in the batting order on Tuesday, hitting after Andrews (number three) and Allison (clean-up).
Sending the Moose down in order at the top of the first, Germantown immediately acquired baserunners in the bottom half, as Liana Spiro led off with a grounder that was mishandled by Westtown, and fellow junior Sophie Trotto drew a walk. Andrews also waited out a base-on balls, loading the bases for the home team. Allison then delivered a shot to center that bounced at the foot of the fence. Three runs scored, and Allison landed on third as the Moose made a fruitless throw to the plate.
She came home on a sacrifice ground-out by Becker to make it 4-0. Freshman Hannah Hanson then got on with a walk and eventually scored the Tigers’ last run of the inning on a ground-out by ninth-grade classmate Lilly Dupuis.
As the second inning got underway, Westtown had two runners on base with one out, but wasn’t able to score as the Tigers wrapped things up with a foul pop caught by Spiro, the first baseman, and a strike-out by Bateman.
Back at work with the sticks in the bottom half, GFS started with a ground-out, but then belted back-to-back triples. Trotto tagged one that bounced past the centerfielder untouched, and Andrews directed her RBI hit down the line in left. Allison doubled through the left side of the infield to make it 7-0, and following a walk to Becker, Hanson went all the way to second as she blooped up a ball right near the plate and Westtown knocked it out of play, allowing another run to score.
Junior Julia Mankoff made it to second on a hit down the third base line that scored a ninth GFS run. On a fielder’s choice batted up by Dupuis, the Moose got a force-out at the plate, but then a walk to Bateman loaded the bases. With an RBI single by Spiro and a two-run hit to right center by Trotto, the final score of 12-0 was now on the board. Westtown switched pitchers and got out of the inning on a fly ball to left field.
After coming up with one walk as four batters appeared at the top of the third, Westtown had chances to spoil Bateman’s shut-out in the fourth and fifth frames.
Maggie Cottone led off the top of the fourth with a double down the line in left, and after a pop-up and a strike-out, she made it to third on a base hit, but the next batter grounded out to Germantown’s Andrews at short.
In the fifth, Rowan Keeney-Hepps beat out the throw to first on a ground ball, but after a strike-out, Keeney-Hepps was tagged out by Andrews as she approached second base on a steal attempt. A walk and then a single by Kat Naham gave the Moose runners on first and second, but a very high pop fly was pocketed by Andrews to end the game.
Former GFS coach Susan Robinson, who built up the squad over the previous five seasons, attended the game. Current head coach Steph Aurello is in her first season with the club, so longtime assistant Dana Griffin served as the MC for the senior day ceremony after the contest.