SELLERSVILLE >> As Skylar Hengeveld watched the ball sail over the left-center fence, she thought of just one thing.
Pennridge’s junior catcher rounded the bases, following the two runners in front of her and knew things had finally broken her way. The Rams had finally gotten over the hump and they were ready to keep it going.
Pennridge, like Hengeveld, felt they were overdue for it.
“It was way overdue,” Hengeveld said. “When I saw it go over, I said to myself ‘finally.’ It’s that momentum we need to take from last week and carry through the rest of our season.”
Hengeveld’s three-run homerun in the bottom of the first inning set the tone for the day and the Rams didn’t let up, taking care of visiting Lansdale Catholic 10-0 in five innings Monday afternoon at Druckenmiller Playground. The catcher went 3-for-3 with six RBI while her batterymate, junior right-hander Kailyn Bell, struck out eight and allowed one hit in four innings of work.
Bell rang up five of the first seven batters she saw and aside from a fourth-inning bloop hit and a second-inning walk, had LC under her control.
“We wanted to come out strong on the first pitch for every batter,” Bell said. “We wanted to carry the momentum.”
LC senior shortstop Maggie Wunder made her season debut, returning to the field after tearing an ACL in a soccer scrimmage back in August. Even with her back in the fold, the Crusaders struggled all afternoon across the board.
After going down in order on two strikeouts and pop-up in the first, the Crusaders took the field for defense and hurt themselves. Pennridge leadoff hitter Logan Scott reached when an LC outfielder dropped the ball out of her glove and the Rams cashed in.
Shortstop Sam Harty, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, doubled and after a groundout, Hengeveld cleared the bags for a 3-0 lead.
“Right out of the chute, you have to catch that ball, it’s a routine fly ball,” LC coach Paul Suder said. “I told the girls you can’t feel sorry for yourselves if you don’t make the plays. When you’re not making the plays and not making the pitches, you can’t feel sorry for yourself.”
The Rams scored four runs in the second inning with Scott and Hengeveld each hitting a two-run single. Pennridge, which just couldn’t seem to get everything going at the start of the season, picked up its first win to end last week going into the holiday break.
Having done that, the Rams’ focus was to get themselves going at the plate. They took a nice step toward that on Monday.
No. 8 hitter Mary Kate Levush worked two walks while right fielder Allie Motts, hitting ninth, belted a pair of doubles to support the top of the lineup. Nikki Rosenberg made it a 3-for-3 day out of the nine spot with a fourth-inning single after she came in for Motts.
“We’ve been weak at the plate,” Bell said. “We wanted to start hitting the ball early in the game and hopefully we can carry throughout the week.”
Monday also flipped the script for how the offense has been going. With a 7-0 lead after two, the Rams still weren’t ready to stop and tacked on three more runs in the third with Bell drawing a leadoff walk and scoring on an error.
Motts doubled with one out and scored on a Harty single with the shortstop crossing for the final run on Hengeveld’s two-out RBI single.
“It was very big for us,” Hengeveld said. “Lately we’ve been weak in the first couple of innings then coming back, but it wouldn’t be enough. Today we started strong and kept going, it was a lot better. It kept the runs up, kept the score up and kept the hype up.”
It’s a busy week for both teams. LC has four more games scheduled including three PCL contests while Pennridge has two SOL Continental games on deck.
The Crusaders have plenty of chances to break out of the team-wide funk they seem to be experiencing right now but it starts with them getting out of their own heads. Suder said at times he players are almost expecting something to go wrong and with their schedule so swamped, there haven’t been chances to work through it.
“The things that we’d like to work on, we can’t get out and work on,” Suder said. “It’s got to all come out and sort itself out during the course of the game. Unfortunately, things are not going well for us and it’s contagious too.”
Between Bell and senior Meghan Bauer, the Rams feel they have the pitching to compete in the league. Getting the offense on-track Monday was just what they needed and if they keep those two up and continue to play clean defense, the Rams think things will continue to go their way.
“We were missing a lot before, we weren’t talking or communicating,” Hengeveld said. “Those beginning of the season nerves are gone now.”
“Everything’s starting to click,” Bell added. “Now that we’re all used to each other, we’re getting more comfortable and playing with that.”
Pennridge 10, Lansdale Catholic 0
LANSDALE CATHOLIC 000 00 – 0 1 2
PENNRIDGE 343 0x – 10 12 0
WP: Kailyn Bell. LP: Taylor Molettiere. SO-BB: Bell 8-1, Meghan Bauer 1-0, Molettiere 1-2, Erin Llewellyn 0-1
HR: – Skylar Hengeveld (P). 2B: Allie Motts (P) 2, Sam Harty (P). Multiple hits: P- Hengeveld 3-3, Harty 3-3, Motts 2-2.