WEST GROVE—Despite weather better suited for football than softball, both West Chester East (4-2) and Avon Grove (5-1) were swinging hot bats. But an eight-run third erased an early Vikings lead, and the Red Devils extended their win streak to five with an 18-9 victory on a windy and chilly afternoon at Avon Grove.
“The weather conditions for both teams were brutal,” said Avon Grove coach Mike DeLuzio. “And that does change the game. But I couldn’t be more proud of the way these girls battled back. No matter what the score, if we just kept swinging the bats and putting the ball in play, we were going to be all right.”
The Vikings jumped out in a hurry, plating three runs in the first and another four in the second to go up 7-1 after two at bats. East stroked line-drive after line drive against Devils’ starter Rachel Butler, pounding out six hits—three for extra bases—in that span.
“I’m not going to use the weather as an excuse,” said East coach Bobby Swier. “Both teams had to play in it. But man, it was cold. Still, I can’t be upset with the way we played. Anytime you put up nine runs, you’re swinging the bats well. And these girls never stopped battling.”
The Devils began the steep climb back in the second. Megan Kristman led off the inning in spectacular fashion with an inside-the-park home run, and Lexi Barnhart followed with a single. Meg Nolan moved Barnhart up sixty feet with a one-out single, and Morgan DeFeo brought them both home with a double. DeFeo finished the day 4 for 5 with three RBI and four runs scored.
After Butler retired the Vikings in order in the top of the third, Avon Grove erased the lead and blew the game open with an eight-run bottom half, keyed by doubles from Carly Raymond and Nolan, and capped by a three-run blast to straightaway center from Butler.
“It was an inside pitch, pretty much right on my hip,” said Butler. “I’ve always hit inside pitches well, and I knew right away I made great contact and it was going to have a chance. It was just great to give us a little bit of a cushion.”
Avon Grove rounded out its scoring with three in the fifth and three in the sixth.
Though Butler struggled through a shaky start, she settled in after the second, allowing just three hits the rest of the way.
“The wind made things really difficult,” said Butler. “It was wreaking havoc on my spins. So I just did my best to throw strikes and hit my spots as best I could.”
Six different Devils notched multi hit games—Nolan (2 for 4, 2B); DeFeao; Allyson Wallauer (2 for 3, 2 R); Butler (4 for 4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R); Olivia Kunitsky (2 for 5, RBI); and Kelly Murphy (2 for 3, RBI).
“Everybody contributed today,” said Wallauer. “The score didn’t matter. Nobody got down. We just cheered each other on and did what we could do to get hits and get on base,”
The Vikings last two runs came in the sixth, when Sam Gomez ripped a two-out single up the middle and a two-run blast over the left field fence from Amelia Andraos. East made it two straight games with hits in double digits, following up Wendesday’s 21-hit explosion with eleven Friday afternoon.
“This is a young team, and we’re still feeling our way a little bit,” said Swier. “But we keep swinging the bat well, and we keep improving. I’m looking forward to seeing this team again, and I believe we can turn this result around.”
Avon Grove 18, West Chester East 9
WC East ab r h bi Avon Grove ab r h bi
Thompson—LF 4 1 1 0 Nolan—2B 2 2 2 0
Olson—2B 4 1 1 2 DeFeo–SS 5 3 4 3
MacLaughlin—3B 4 1 1 0 Wallauer—1B 3 2 2 0
Gomez–C 3 2 3 0 Butler–P 4 4 4 5
Andraos–SS 3 2 2 4 Kunitsky–C 5 1 2 1
Lark–P 2 0 2 1 Laterza–LF 5 1 1 1
McLaughlin—2B 4 0 0 0 Kristman—3B 2 2 2 1
Ahearn—1B 4 1 0 0 Vansciver—3B 0 0 0 0
Wilson–RF 4 1 1 0 Barnhart—RF/P 1 1 1 0
Totals 32 9 11 0 Murphy—RF 3 1 2 1
Raymond—DP 4 1 1 1
Totals 34 18 21 13
WC East 3 4 0 0 0 2 0–9
Home 1 3 8 0 3 3 X—18
2B –Andraos, Olson, Nolan, DeFeo, Wallauer, Butler, Raymond 3B—Gomez HR—Andraos, Kristman, Bulter
IP H R BB SO
Lark (L) 6 21 18 4 1
Butler (W) 6 11 9 2 1
Barnhart 1 0 0 0 0
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