by Tom Utescher
As pleasant spring weather returned at midweek after unseasonable warmth the previous two days, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy softball players and their fans thoroughly enjoyed one of the last home games of the 2015 campaign.
The Wednesday outing was a non-league match-up against The Hill School, whatever tension existed at the outset soon dissipated as the host Blue Devils accumulated five runs in the first inning and added another four their next time up. The contest ended in the middle of the fifth inning with a 16-0 score, and SCH saw its overall record rise to 9-7 while the team remained 5-5 within the Inter-Ac League.
Hill’s Lady Rams, who have struggled in and out of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League, retired with a mark of 2-12.
Junior Madi Saltzman threw the first three innings for the winners, recording three strike-outs, then freshman Kayla McTamney finished up, striking out two and giving up a little Texas League single in the fifth.
Neither pitcher gave up a walk. Overall, SCH outhit Hill, 12-1.
After Saltzman sent down the visitors in order at the top of the first, the hosts were able to stack up five runs in the bottom half with only one actual hit. This was a two-run single to centerfield by freshman Lucy Lamb, who had seen the three batters immediately ahead of her draw walks. The Rams gave up a total of five bases on balls in the inning, and they also had a lot of trouble keeping runners from advancing around the base paths after they’d gotten on base. For the SCH runners, the “green light” was on almost all the time.
The Blue Devils actually scored all of their runs in the first frame with two outs against them; those came right after senior Kathleen Foley led off with a walk. She stole second, went to the third on a ground-out by classmate Julia Moriarty, and then scored the first run of the day on another sacrifice grounder, this one by junior Ashley Lubisky.
A fielding error got Hill’s first batter on base in the second, then the hosts collected three outs in succession. In the bottom half, Hill only gave up two walks this time, but the Blue Devils got RBI hits from senior Brigit McDermott, McTamney, and Lamb to go up 8-0. One more runner scored thanks to a passed ball, and the tally was 9-0 after two full innings.
Saltzman’s last stint in the circle was a one-two-three affair, so SCH was quickly back in the batter’s box for the home half of the third. This was a relatively short session with the sticks. Four batters in, there were two outs and the Devils had Foley (single) and Moriarty (walk) on base.
McDermott singled in Foley, and after a base hit by McTamney loaded the bases, an infield error on a ball put in play by freshman Rachel Kazlauskas let the second run of the inning score.
In the fourth, Hill’s batters went down in order once more, this time against the arm of the SCH freshman, McTamney. The hosts already had enough of a lead (11-0) to put the mercy rule into effect, and for good measure they hung another five points on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Two of them were forced home with bases-loaded walks, and RBI singles were marked down for McTamney, Kazlauskas, and Lamb.
The Blue Devils had been making a number of line-up changes, and at the top of the fifth the visitors enjoyed their best inning at the plate. SCH let first Ram reach first through an error, but McTamney struck out the following batter, and after that she got a force-out at second.
Next up was Hill’s Caty McCray, who had relieved Rams starting pitcher Kyli McKee after the first out of the second inning. McCray hit the ball over the infield to shallow center, and then an infield error by the Blue Devils loaded the bases for the visitors. SCH would preserve the shut-out, though; the game ended on a pop-up to sophomore Alivia Villari, who had come in to play second base.