by Tom Utescher
On a jaunt up Bethlehem Pike to Wissahickon High School last Monday, Mount St. Joseph started out with a four-run burst of offense, including the eventual game-winner and the first insurance run.
With sophomore Kailey Karabin accumulating 11 strike-outs (against four walks), the Magic held the host Trojans in check and came away with a 9-2 victory. The non-league win raised the overall record to 3-5 for the Mount, which remained 2-4 within the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
Wissahickon, which had Halle Segal (4K/4BB) in the circle, fell to 0-8.
Mount St. Joe had a 12-5 advantage in the hits column, and committed one error in the field while the Trojans had three miscues.
Batting in the lead-off spot for the Magic is Sam Burns, a senior headed for Franklin & Marshall College. She also played varsity volleyball for the Magic, and she has two younger sisters who start for the softball squad. Jess, a sophomore, was positioned at first base, and Julie, a freshman, started out in centerfield.
The catcher for Karabin is senior Becca Barton, who will attend Boston University next year.
In the first inning at Wissahickon, the eldest Burns got the visitors going with a triple down the line in right field, and she scored when the Trojans mishandled junior Jen Leinheiser’s tap along the first base line. After the next batter struck out, clean-up hitter Karabin helped her own cause by pounding an RBI triple that took one hop into the fence in right centerfield.
Next, Jess Burns took a full swing at the ball but the result looked like a bunt. In any event, it was good for a base hit and brought in a third MSJ run. She moved to third thanks to a double to center by little sister Julie, then a hit to left by Barton put the Magic up 4-0.
Wissahickon got one back in the bottom of the first, leading off with a walk, moving the runner with a sacrifice grounder, and then scoring on a single.
After that, the Mounties quickly ended the inning with an unusual double play. The ball was smacked hard at junior second baseman Hailey Gleeson, and when it hit her it hopped up in the air in the direction of second base. Shortstop Sam Burns, who was coming over for the force out, grabbed the ball, stepped on the bag ahead of the approaching runner, and then threw to first in time to get the batter out, as well.
The 4-1 score from that inning would stay on the board for some time, despite a double deep to center by Sam Burns in the second, and a triple to right field by Karabin in the third inning.
More frustration was in store for the offense in the fourth frame. Freshman Angela Gervasi led it off with a double to center, and after a pair of outs, walks to Sam Burns and Leinheiser loaded the bases. A pop-up to shortstop got the Trojans out of the jam, leaving all three Mounties stranded.
The Magic batters broke through for three runs in the top of the fifth, starting a two-out rally with a Julie Burns double that skipped to the foot of the fence in centerfield. Gervasi then hit to left field and reached second as the Trojans threw the ball home to keep Burns from scoring. Both baserunners crossed the plate on the next play, as Barton dropped a double into shallow centerfield.
When freshman Ava Jancarski hit a dribbler down the first base line, a low throw and a missed grab let her get on base, while another Mount run came home to make it 7-1.
The visitors added another in the top of the sixth. Walks to Leinheiser and Karabin were each followed by an out, then a high throw to first on a ball hit by Julie Burns brought in the run. This time, the Trojans were able to answer in the bottom half, loading the bases on two singles and an error, and scoring their final run when a hit batter forced the lead runner home.
After a strike-out, with the bases still loaded, the Magic caught the runner on third away from the bag, and Sam Burns chased her down and tagged her out. Another “K” by Karabin ended the inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Jancarski singled to center, then stole second. Sam Burns sent a base hit into left, and the fielder couldn’t pick up the ball cleanly, allowing the final run of the afternoon. In the bottom half, Wissahickon got runners on first and third with two outs, but a ground-out to short completed the contest.