by Tom Utescher
As an April Fools’ prank, the Penn Charter players hid their softball scorebook from longtime coach Don “Doc” Mittica before last Wednesday’s home game. It’s a good thing that the Quakers produced the ledger before the start of their contest against Hill School, because they would definitely need it in a 14-0 romp against the Lady Rams.
PC literally hit the cover off the ball; plate umpire Tim Gallagher had one softball thrown out because the seams were splitting.
Starting relatively slowly with two runs in the bottom of the first, the Quakers scored four times in each of the next three innings, and the game ended midway through the fifth frame thanks to the mercy rule. Starting hurler Kayla Quinn (K-6, BB-1, H-4) went four innings, then sophomore Faith Fenton (K-1, BB-0, H-0) finished up in the fifth. They were supported with 15 Penn Charter hits.
Quinn, who will go on to Ursinus College, is one of just two seniors on the roster, along with utility player and pinch runner Mikayla Cimino. Quinn is a team co-captain this spring along with junior Eileen Hennessy, a three-year starter at shortstop. Hennessy is no slouch with her stick, either; on Wednesday she produced two doubles and a single, with a total of six RBI’s.
After Hill went down in order at the top of the first, sophomore second baseman Brigitte Gutpelet led off for the Quakers. She got on base with a bunt, advanced to third base through a steal and a wild pitch, and then scored the first run of the day when Hill went to first base for the out on a grounder to short by Quinn. Next, the Rams walked Hennessy – by the end of the game, they’d wish they’d done that more often.
Sophomore catcher Angela Zeidler slammed a ball that skipped out of the pocket of the centerfielder’s glove, and PC’s second run scored.
Hill had one of its better turns at the plate at the top of the second, but still couldn’t get a run home. The lead-off batter doubled to right field, but when she tried to steal third, Zeidler rifled the ball down the line from behind the plate to get the out. After a strike-out, two Rams singled and then went to second and third on a wild pitch. Quinn got things back under control with another “K”, retiring the side.
Penn Charter designated hitter Abby Cohen drove a grounder through the right side of the infield for a hit, and the sophomore then went to second on a single to shallow center by junior Zoe Neefe. A potential fielder’s choice play failed to produce an out at third for Hill, and Quakers filled the bases.
The visitors were able to get the force at home plate on the next play, and a second out came on a PC pop-up. Hennessey began a two-out rally, clearing the bases with a line-drive double to left center. Zeidler followed up with a two-bagger down the left field line, driving in another run and sending the Quakers into the third inning with a 6-0 advantage.
After Quinn struck out the side in the visitors’ half of the third frame, Charter started out with base hits by junior Devon Loftus and by Cohen. A force-out at second followed, but then a stolen base had PC runners on second and third. Although the batter at the time ended up striking out, before that happened Charter had both baserunners steal, netting a run to make it 7-0.
Gutpelet waited out a walk and the Quakers had players on first and third with two outs. Quinn hit a grounder past the shortstop for an RBI single, and a little later an errant pitch allowed her and Gutpelet to move up to second and third. This was just what Hill didn’t need, with Hennessy in the batter’s box. The junior belted a base hit up the middle to score both of her teammates.
A ground-out finally got the Rams out of the inning, but they had given up another four-run, two-out rally to the Quakers, who now led 10-0.
The Rams were able to get five batters into the box in their half of the fourth inning, but none of them got past second base.
PC was quickly back on the attack, with freshman Grace Stansfield and Loftus beginning the bottom half with singles. After sophomore Emily Zuercher drove in a run, Hill notched back-to-back outs, but once again, the Rams would be unable to nail down a third out before suffering more damage on the scoreboard.
Ninth-grader Celena Militello directed a base hit to right field and Quinn singled up the gut, each driving in a run. Hennessy then doubled to right center, ringing up her sixth RBI of the afternoon and sticking the 14-0 final score up on the board. A walk loaded the bases, but Hill was spared further trauma as a strike-out sent PC back out into the field.
With Fenton now on the mound for PC and a different cast of characters behind her, Hill got its lead-off batter on base through an error. She was tagged out trying to steal second, and then a ground-out had PC one play away from victory. An outfield error got the next batter all the way around to third, then Fenton bore down for a strike-out, putting this one in the books.