PROSPECT PARK >> If Thursday’s Del Val League opener was any indication, Interboro is the team to beat in the Del Val League for roughly the 100th time since Chuck Pedrick was named head coach of the program many moons ago.
That is a slight exaggeration. Pedrick isn’t that old, of course.
But it does seem to get old if you’re Interboro’s rivals in the Del Val. Chichester, which has gone toe-to-toe with the Bucs for the title in recent years, discovered Thursday afternoon how tough the reigning champs will be to take down this spring.
Lily Bonner, Amber Seamen, Emily Gavin and Nicole Floyd each collected two hits and junior pitcher Bridget Bailey struck out eight as Interboro rolled to a 15-1 victory over Chi. The Bucs pounded out 12 hits in less than four full innings to win their season opener.
“We wanted to have good at bats and good fielding,” said Seamen, an All-Delco senior catcher. “Everything, all-around. We wanted to have a good game, play as a team and play hard. That’s all you can ask for.”
Bailey was on top of her game. After a shaky first inning, when Chichester senior first baseman Hayley Coale tagged her for an RBI double, Bailey settled in and dominated. She retired the side in order in three consecutive innings and struck out six of the final nine batters she faced.
“I was trying to hit my spots the best that I could,” Bailey said.
After splitting time from the circle as a freshman and sophomore, Bailey should be expected to handle most of the pitching workload this year.
There’s a running gag among Bailey and her coaches. For every walk she allows, she’s supposed to cut off one inch of her hair.
The good news? She issued only one free pass Thursday.
But so long as she’s missing bats and getting outs, her hair length will be a moot point.
“She’s getting there,” Pedrick said. “She’s working on her command and hitting the right spots with her pitches. She’s a good kid. ”
Bailey mixes three pitches, but relies heavily on her fastball. She recorded six swinging punchouts.
“Most of them were missing it,” Seamen said. “We’re really not allowed to throw more than three different pitches. Her fastball (is her best pitch). The changeup is good. Whatever we throw, they work.”
Bailey, who was a flex player and thus did not bat, got plenty of help from her friends. Interboro struck for four runs in the bottom of the second on five hits, including a double by Gavin and a two-run single by Floyd.
In the fourth inning, Bonner ripped a triple to knock home two runs. Seamen kicked off the Bucs’ nine-run fourth inning with a screaming double to left field. She raced all the way around to home, taking advantage of a two-base error.
Seamen, though she’s a catcher, is very fleet of foot. Her teammates are amazed at how faster she seems to get, every day.
“All that basketball (in the winter) helped,” Seamen said. “Lots of running.”
Barb Carosi smashed a triple to the gap in right-center field to drive home Seamen. Gavin then followed with an infield RBI hit to plate Interboro’s
15th and final run.
For Chichester, growing pains are a part of the game. Coach Jamie Blumenthal is hoping for continued development from her two new varsity pitchers, sophomore Haley Larrabee and freshman Rose Ryback, who combined to pitch Thursday.
It’s senior leadership from players such as Coale and catcher Nicole O’Donnell that is expected to carry the team forward this season.
Coale will play college softball at East Stroudsburg, while O’Donnell is headed to West Chester.
“We have a lot of freshmen that have come up to varsity. They’re really strong players and they’re dedicated to playing,” Coale said. “I think the hard work is going to eventually pay off. We may not win every game, but if we play hard, at the end of the day, that’s all that counts.
“The good thing about losses is you learn from them and you come back harder and stronger for the next time.”
Elsewhere in the Del Val League:
Academy Park 6, Penn Wood 3 >> Kaleigh Cervino went the distance with 12 strikeouts to lead the Knights past the Patriots. Halley Wallace scored the tying run and Mekaylah Cann came across to score the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Top photo: Interboro infielders convene to celebrate one of Bridget Bailey’s eight strikeouts on the day (Anne Neborak — Digital First Media)