SCH softball succumbs in non-league game with Lawrenceville

by Tom Utescher
Posted 5/4/21

On an April afternoon when the temperature reached the mid-80's at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy's softball field, visiting Lawrenceville School seemed to be on fire as well. Belting two home runs …

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SCH softball succumbs in non-league game with Lawrenceville

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On an April afternoon when the temperature reached the mid-80's at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy's softball field, visiting Lawrenceville School seemed to be on fire as well. Belting two home runs as they outhit the host Blue Devils, 8-1, the Big Red got nine strike-outs from sophomore pitcher Sarah Zimmerman (two walks), who went the distance in a 7-0 victory.

With last Wednesday's win, Lawrenceville rose to a record of 6-2 overall, while SCH leveled off at 5-5. In the Inter-Ac League, the Blue Devils remained 5-1, their only loss coming against league-leading Episcopal Academy.

For the first few innings, the game was shaping up as a pitcher's duel between the visiting Zimmerman and the Blue Devils' mainstay, junior Sam Klug. The only interruption in the string of outs was a double by Lawrenceville's Allison Haworth in the top of the second.

Her hit, sent out to right centerfield, occurred with one out, and it was followed by a strike-out. The third out came on an infield grounder, with SCH sophomore shortstop Courtney Oliver fielding the ball and throwing to freshman first baseman Kamaha'o Bode.

Things started to change in the third after Springside's Klug struck out the first batter for the Lady Larries. A high throw to first on an infield dribbler mounted a runner on first base, and she came home on junior Emma Fleming's home run to straightaway center. Two consecutive outs followed, but the visitors had a 2-0 toehold.

An SCH batter tagged Zimmerman for the first time when eighth-grader Layla Shands led off with a strong hit to deep center that scooted under the plastic fence for a ground-rule double. Next, however, a bloop bunt was caught in the air by the third baseman and Shands was doubled-up at second as she tried to return. A strike-out ended the inning.

An error put the visitors' first hitter on base at the top of the fourth, and she advanced to third on Haworth's second double of the day, this one to left centerfield. A sacrifice fly deep into centerfield by Jasmine Bright got the lead runner home to make it 3-0.

The top of the order was now up for the Blue Devils, but after sophomore Emma Blaszczak drew a walk, Lawrenceville booked three straight outs.

Things didn't get better for the hosts in frame five, which began with a hard-hit ball that caromed of Klug to get the batter to first base.

This brought up the top of the Big Red order in the person of Fleming, who bashed her second two-run homer of the day, targeting right centerfield this time. After a pop-up for the first out, singles to shallow left and right field positioned Lawrenceville runners on first and third. Jordan Wright's very high fly ball to right field was gloved, but dropped, getting another run home.

The baserunners stayed put on first and second as Klug struck out the next batter, but then when SCH had trouble fielding a soft grounder down the third base line, the bases were loaded with Lady Larries. A fly ball to right field - caught this time - dispelled the threat.

Now down 6-0, SCH had senior Trinity Smith begin the home half of the fifth by drawing a walk. She moved ahead to second on a passed ball, then a strike-out and two ground-outs retired the side.

For the start of the sixth inning, Smith went into the circle to relieve Klug, who shifted over to first base. The starting catcher, junior Marissa Wolff, went out to play shortstop as Oliver moved to third base in place of Smith.

The senior hurler had a bit of a rocky start with a walk and a hit batter. A wild pitch sent the runners to second and third, but Smith settled down and ended this at-bat with a strike-out. The next batter grounded out to Oliver at third, and a run came home in the process to make it 7-0. After walks loaded the bases, Oliver grabbed a grounder and stepped on third for a force-out.

The final score was now on the board. The two teams went down in order in the bottom of the sixth and the top of the seventh. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh Smith drew a walk, then a fly to center ended the game.

At least this loss, like most of Springside's setbacks, came outside of league competition. Smith is the lone senior on the team this spring, and with three freshmen and two eighth-graders on the varsity roster, prospects look good for the program going forward.

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