Norristown’s Mya Humphries slides safely into home past Upper Merion’s catcher Sammie Deskiewicz during their game Thursday. (Gene Walsh — Digital First Media)
UPPER MERION >> It’s not easy being a Norristown softball player.
There’s little support, next to no travel league experience and a history that’s spotty at best.
But that didn’t matter Thursday afternoon when the Eagles finally were able to tack a “1” in their 2017 win column.
Behind the home run and five-hit pitching of Steph Orman, and a three-run fourth inning, the Eagles found a 3-2 win over Upper Merion and a chance to celebrate something for a change.
“This is really great,” said Orman after her solo homer opened the game-winning three-run fourth. “I’m really proud of all of us.
“Our bats are starting to come alive, and we’re getting better every day. It’s been difficult, but we’ve pushed through it and we’re still all friends, so it’s been fun.”
The Eagles began Thursday’s game much like they’ve begun many of their games this year.
They were hitless through three and their first 11 hitters were retired.
But that ended when Orman slugged an offering from Upper Merion starter Alyssa DiNolfi over the left-field fence to put the Eagles on top.
And Norristown was far from through.
Mya Humphreys followed with a single to left, then took third when Ashley Kinsey’s fly ball was dropped in right field.
Kinsey scored on a wild pitch, Hannah Griffin’s single plated Humphreys and the Eagles were in front, 3-0.
Norristown has had leads before, but as Orman pointed out, something has always managed to take that victory away.
But this time, the Eagles would prevail.
Upper Merion got two runs back in the home sixth on a run-scoring passed ball and Colleen Quinn’s RBI single.
But this time, the Eagles would hang on.
The Vikings would get a runner to third base with two out in the seventh.
But Orman would retire DiNolfi on a pop-out to second, and the Eagles were breathing rarefied air.
“It’s been very difficult,” said Norristown head coach Don Berry. “Our girls are working hard, but we’ve been seeing better competition in the PAC.
“And as the season goes on, we’re getting better. And as long as we keep seeing improvement, I’m happy with our season.”
At the opposition dugout, Upper Merion head coach John Whitney was not as jovial.
“I’m very frustrated with our team,” Whitney said. “We actually played better when we got 10-runned by Spring-Ford the other day.
“I’m going to find out by the end of the year what’s going wrong, and if I don’t think I can fix it, I’ll be done. I’ll be an umpire next year.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Norristown. I’m happy for them and I’m happy for Don. He’s a good guy and he’s done a good job over there this year.”
But by this time, the Eagles were happily ensconced in the team bus, on their way home with a win to celebrate.