by Tom Utescher

In terms of varsity softball experience, the Germantown Friends School Tigers were at a significant disadvantage when they faced defending champ Abington Friends in their Friend Schools League season opener last Friday afternoon.

Host GFS, which only had two seniors in the starting line-up after graduating eight players from its 2010 squad, suffered a six-inning, 13-0 setback against the Kangaroos, who started five seniors, including their pitcher and catcher.

Abington, which had opened its league campaign a day earlier against Friends Select, improved to 2-0 in the FSL and 4-2 overall. GFS came into the game with a split in a pair of non-league bouts, beating Barrack Hebrew Academy and losing to Baldwin School.

Abington fielded a veteran battery consisting of catcher Maria Savarese, a Moravian College recruit, and pitcher Kelsey Clark (1H, 9K, 0W). Throwing to GFS freshman catcher Rachel Allison were senior starter Anita Thachet (8H, 2K, 3BB), who went five innings, and sophomore Erica Heinz (3H, 0K, 3BB), who started the game in left field and then moved to the mound for the sixth frame.

Thachet is headed for the University of Pittsburgh next year while the team’s other senior starter, shortstop Jenna Goldstein, plans to stay local at Penn. Their classmate Sabrina Ruchelli, who subbed in late in the game on Friday, has selected the University of Delaware as her college destination.

In addition to Goldstein, Thachet, Heinz and Allison, the starters for the Tigers last Friday were juniors Allison David (centerfield), Lauren Kelly (right field), Melanie Mason (second base), and Reem RosenHaj (first base), and freshman Maddie Andrews (third base). Isabelle Linguiti, a sophomore, was Germantown’s designated player and lead-off batter.

The Tigers contained the Kangaroos in the first inning, when both teams went down in order at the plate. The visitors got on the board in the second stanza, as Savarese led off with a home run over the fence in left field.

In the top of the third Abington not only churned out five hits and drew a pair of walks, but also picked up additional bases by running aggressively and taking advantage of some indecision on the part of the Germantown fielders. The big blow was a two-run double to right center by senior first baseman Christina Furlong, the number five hitter, and in all the ‘Roos scored six times to lead the game, 7-0.

GFS limited its guest to four batters in the top of the fourth, and in the bottom of the inning the Tigers put a player on base for the first (and only) time in the contest. With two outs, Allison singled to left field, but she got no farther as a ground-out retired the side.

The game proceeded into the sixth inning with the score still 7-0. Here Abington erupted once more for six runs to make it 13-0, and after three straight outs by GFS in the bottom half, the ten-run mercy rule brought the encounter to its conclusion.

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