LIONVILLE—The first time Steph Jacoby stepped in against Shanahan ace Devon Miller Wednesday, Miller put her away with heat. It was the last time Jacoby would see anything get by her.
With the Cougars up 2-0 in the sixth, Jacoby got a hold of a Miller offering and launched a bomb to deep center field, and circled the bases with a solo home run. That run proved to be the difference, as Downingtown East fought off a seventh inning come-back bid to hold on for the 3-2 victory.
“I’m really not sure what the pitch was,” said Jacoby (2 for 3, 2B, HR, RBI). “I think it was a drop that just sort of hung out over the plate. I really wanted to connect, because Jess (Meluskey) was pitching so well. But I knew as soon as I felt it come off the bat that I hit it well. This is a nice win for us.”
Shanahan coach Ron Savastio was philosophical about the home run.
“That happens sometimes when you throw as hard as Devon does,” said Savastio. “When someone does make good contact, it tends to go a long way.”
Lexi Hammer got things going in a hurry for the Cougars, leading off the bottom half of the first with a double to the gap in left center. Miller looked to be getting out of the inning unscathed, with strikeouts of the next two hitters. Then, with the count full, Faith Willenbrock hit a fly ball to left. The Eagles’ left fielder didn’t play it cleanly, and the ball fell in, allowing Hammer to cross the plate with the first run of the game.
Miller finished the afternoon allowing three runs—one earned—on six hits, struck out eight and walked none. But the Cougars’ Meluskey was just as stingy, if not as overpowering, shutting the Eagles out for the first six innings of play while allowing just three hit over that same span.
Meluskey had help, as the Cougars played fantastic defense all over the field, particularly rightfielder Ava Dudkiewicz, new to the outfield after playing shortstop for Shanahan before transferring to East.
“I knew that Devon was a really good pitcher, so we were going to have to play our best game to win,” said Dudkiewicz. “It’s a lot different in the outfield, and I really wasn’t expecting to see as much action as I did out there. I just tried my best to make the plays when they came to me.”
East manufactured a run in the fifth to go up 2-0. After Faith Pitsikoulis reached on an error to lead off, Hannah Lehman sacrificed her over to second, and Alley Meakim followed with a single to left to plate Pitsikoulis.
Even after falling behind by three in the wake of Jacoby’s dinger, the Eagles were not ready to pack it in. Casey McCallister set the tone for the top half of the seventh scorching a ball down the right field line for a triple. Cat Rosfelder cut the lead to 3-1 with an RBI single up the middle. Miranda Becics made it first and second with another single up the middle, and Claire Kelly came on in relief of Meluskey (6-plus IP, 2ER, 6 H, 1 K, 1BB).
Shanahan made a switch of their own, bringing in Alexis Peterson as a pinch hitter, and Peterson delivered a single to right center. Rosfelder rounded third, but ran into the third base coach, and was called out for coach’s interference.
“I don’t know if she was thinking she’d score, but I think I might have cost us the game by coming in contact with her,” said Shanahan coach Ron Savastio.
So with runners on first and second and one out, Emily Saro came to the plate and worked a walk to load the bases. Katy Newton picked up an RBI with a groundout back to Kelly to make it a one run game, but Kelly put the game away with a strikeout.
“We showed heart coming back the way we did and not giving in until the final out,” said Savastio. “But give East a lot of credit. They hit the ball hard, and played great defense. We just have to forget about this one and get back at it Monday.”
Shanahan AB R H RBI
Newton—C 4 0 2 1
Weston—1B 4 0 0 0
Miller—P 3 0 0 0
Weyand—CF 3 0 0 0
McCallister—1B 2 1 1 0
Rosfelder—DP 3 0 2 1
Bedics—RF 3 1 1 0
Crocetti—2B 20 0 0
Peterson—PH 1 0 1 1
Saro—SS 2 0 0 0
Keiper—LF/FLX 0 0 0 0
Totals 27 2 7 2
Downingtown East AB R H RBI
Hammer—3B 3 1 1 0
Mazza—2B 3 0 0 0
Jacoby—CF 3 1 2 1
Willenbrock—SS 3 0 1 0
Wilcox—C 3 0 1 0
Pitsikoulis—LF 3 1 0 0
Lehman—DP 1 0 0 0
Meakim—1B 2 0 1 0
Dudkiewicz—RF 2 0 0 0
Meluskey—P/FLX 0 0 0 0 0
Kelly—P 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 23 3 6 1
HR—Jacoby 3B—McCallister 2B—Jacoby, Hammer
Shanahan IP R ER H K BB
Miller (L) 6 3 1 6 8 0
D-East IP R ER H K BB
Meluskey (W)* 6+ 2 2 6 1 1
Kelly 1 0 0 1 1 0
*Meluskey faced three hitters in the seventh