by Tom Utescher
After four scoreless innings of Inter-Ac League softball at the Academy of Notre Dame last Friday, visiting Springside Chestnut Hill Academy garnered the game’s first run in the top of the fifth. Adding an insurance run their next time at bat, the Blue Devils then sealed the deal with a three-run seventh inning, taking away a 5-0 victory that bumped their league record up to 2-3.
SCH (3-3 overall) kept the Irish batters in check thanks to a dozen strike outs by junior pitcher Madi Saltzman, who didn’t give up a single walk in the contest.
Notre Dame (2-4 Inter-Ac) experimented with several different looks in the circle. Emma Spaeder threw the first three innings, sat for three, and then returned for the seventh frame to compile a total of one strike-out and three walks. Teammate Gabby Fanucci performed in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, finishing with no strike-outs and one walk.
Spaeder’s relatively slow pitches flummoxed the SCH batters during her first three-inning stint. The only Blue Devils who got on base (and were left there) were Julia Moriarty, with a walk in the first inning, and fellow senior Kathleen Foley, with a single to left field at the top of the third. Facing Fanucci in the fourth, the visitors went down in order.
SCH’s Saltzman rang up seven strike-outs in the first four frames. In the second a Notre Dame batter reached first on a hit to centerfield, but advanced no farther, while in the fourth an error and a sacrifice bunt got an Irish runner to second base with two outs. A Saltzman strike-out then retired the side.
As the fifth inning got underway, a pair of SCH outs were sandwiched around a walk to freshman Kayla McTamney. She moved to second on a passed ball while her classman Rachel Kazlauskas was in the batter’s box. Kaslauskas clubbed a hit to right field, winding up on second as Notre Dame made a throw to the plate that was not in time to prevent McTamney from scoring.
A ground-out sent Springside Chestnut Hill back to the field, and the Irish saw their lead-off hitter produce a single and eventually advance to third base with two outs. Another ‘K’ by Saltzman dispelled the threat.
The visitors picked up a second run in the sixth inning, which began with Moriarty sending a double to the foot of the fence in right center. She moved ahead on a wild pitch, then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Saltzman.
Going down one-two-three in the home half of the sixth, the Irish returned to the field with Spaeder back in the pitching circle. After she’d faced the three batters, there were two outs and SCH senior Emily Chicchi was on second base thanks to a walk and a passed ball. Foley hit a relatively soft line drive back at the pitcher, who dropped the ball and now had to cope with Blue Devil runners on first and third.
Moriarty’s bat sent the ball bounding down the third base line, and although the third baseman knocked the ball down a few yards behind the bag, she could not make a play. A run scored, and Springsiders were on first and third base once more. Senior Ashley Lubisky then lined a hit over second base, driving in the last two runs for the Blue Devils. Lubisky reached third when Saltzman singled, but the next batter lined out to the third baseman for the third out.
In the final turn at bat for the Irish, a strike-out was followed by a single to center. A second strike-out brought SCH to the brink of victory, and the game ended with a fly ball to Lubisky in left field.