Penn Charter pitcher Jess Drossner (right) is coming in to help cover home plate, but SCH senior Alexis Giovinazzo is already sliding in to score. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The Penn Charter softball team arrived at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on April 23, which is widely celebrated as the birthdate of William Shakespeare. The drama that unfolded might be considered the SCH version of the Bard’s “All’s Well That Ends Well,” as the host team gave up most of an early 10-1 lead, then came out of its swoon and ultimately prevailed, 16-11.

There was a late starting time for the contest, and with a few rain sprinkles intruding upon the high-scoring affair, participants and spectators were chilled by the time the game ended at 7:00 PM.

The PC Quakers scored once at the top of the first inning, but then walked seven batters and hit another in the bottom half, helping the Lions go up by nine. Charter blanked the home team over the next three frames, though, and by scoring a few runs at a time, the visitors closed up the score to 10-8 in the top of the fifth inning.

Springside Chestnut Hill got its bats going again, scoring three times in each of its next two turns on offense. That made it 16-8, and the Quakers added their final three points in the top of the seventh. They slipped to 4-3 in the Girls Inter-Ac League and 6-7 overall, while those records rose to 4-1, 7-3, respectively, for the Lions. Both teams had fallen to league leader Agnes Irwin, and PC’s third loss came at the hands of the Academy of Notre Dame, a team SCH defeated, 6-4, on Friday, April 20.

On that same Friday, Penn Charter lost more than just a game to Irwin (8-3); the Quakers also lost talented young pitcher Kayla Quinn when the freshman was involved in a collision at first base, injuring her left wrist (her non-dominant side).

Junior Jess Drossner had started in the circle for PC during the 2011 season, but she took some time to settle in at SCH last week. The Quakers went ahead early when junior Molly Mornhinweg led off the game with a walk, went to second on a sacrifice grounder by classmate Rachael Garnick, and then scored on a hot grounder doubled down the third base line by Danielle Sienko, a senior shortstop who signed with Kutztown University last November.

Two pop-ups retired the side, and SCH started out with singles to centerfield by Lions junior Michelle Cybularz and freshman Julia Moriarty. The bases filled up when senior Alexis Giovinazzo (who will play for Muhlenberg College) was hit by a pitch, then the first of seven walks in the inning got the home team on the board.

Three more runs were pushed across the plate on bases-loaded walks. On singles down the first base line, sophomore Jenna Moriarty (Julia’s sister) and senior Resnya Hughes drove in one and two runs, respectively. A base hit down the opposite line by eighth-grader Ashley Lubisky drove in a run, and in her second at-bat of the inning, Cybularz sent up a sacrifice fly to right field for an RBI. Another Lions runner scored on a passed ball.

PC’s Drossner had better luck with her bat as she started the second inning with a single, moving up to second with a walk to junior classmate Carly Zuercher. Seniors Emma Cataldi and Melissa Samuels sacrificed themselves with a bunt and a ground-out to score PC’s second run. In the bottom half, Drossner allowed just four Lions up to bat.

Senior Emily Kurtz singled in a third run for the visitors in the third inning, and she came home herself when three straight walks followed, making it 10-4 with one out and the bases still loaded. SCH’s Saltzman avoided further damage by striking out the next two batters. In the bottom half the Lions got a double to right field from senior catcher Aly Markey (Albright College), but later she was called out for interference in the base path and SCH did not score. The next time up, the Lions went down in order.

PC kept chipping away, scoring twice in the fourth and adding two more in the fifth. In the fourth frame, as in the third, Kurtz produced an RBI single (this time to center), and eventually came home on a walk with the bases loaded. The PC senior (who’s going to Penn, but doesn’t plan to play ball there) came through yet again in the top of the fifth, whacking a two-run triple to left center.

Now, in the middle of the fifth round, SCH had gone scoreless for three innings while watching the tally tighten up from 10-1 to 10-8. The Lions got the sticks moving again just in time.

Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Cybularz batted up an infield error to reach first, then went around to third on wild pitches before Julia Moriarty drew a walk. Both runners scored on a line drive double to left center by Giovinazzo, who later stole third and then came home on another wild pitch, spreading the score to 13-8.

Next, Penn Charter got the bases loaded with one out due to a pair of walks and a hit batter, but SCH’s Giovinazzo snared a line-drive at short and then doubled up the PC runner at third base.

The Lions tacked on their final three runs in the bottom of the sixth, which began with a walk to Hughes (who’s headed for Drew University). She moved ahead on a ground-out by newly-entered freshman Brigit McDermott. Cybularz then drove a hit just to the right of second base, scoring Hughes and reaching second herself on the throw home.

The SCH junior went to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a hit to the right side by Julia Moriarty. Moriarty eventually worked her way around to third, thanks in part to a fly ball hit by Giovinazzo, then Markey earned an RBI on the home team’s final run of the day.

For the start of the seventh inning, sophomore Julia Casasanto was inserted into the order for Penn Charter, and an SCH error on her bunt put her on first. Next, an errant throw by the Lions got Seinko to second while letting in a run. When a wild pitch advanced Sienko and also helped bring about a walk for Kurtz, the Quakers had runners on first and third with no outs.

Sophomore Kristina Kubach clubbed the ball out into center and it bounced past the SCH outfielder, getting Kubach all the way to third and scoring the two baserunners.

The Lions were still up by five runs, 16-11, but they had to regain their poise to slow down the PC offense. The Lions got one out in the books with a strike-out, and Saltzman fanned the next hitter, as well, completing the “K” with a change-up. The contest concluded on the next play, a ground-out to short.

In the end, SCH hurler Saltzman (5K, 9H) yielded a dozen walks, one more than the 11 issued by Drossner (2K, 11H), but she distributed those bases on balls more evenly than the PC junior. Later in the week Drossner picked up non-league victories over Germantown Friends and Little Flower, while SCH logged an Inter-Ac win over Baldwin.

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