FALLS TWP. – Council Rock South shortstop Phylicia Wilcov says the bats started off slow for the Golden Hawks this season. While that was not the case in the team’s recent wins over Archbishop Ryan and Gwynedd Mercy Academy, South seemed to once again struggle at the plate Thursday afternoon (April 20) at Pennsbury.
After the first inning in which the Hawks took a 1-0 lead on a leadoff double by Steph Andreoli and an RBI bunt single by Melanie Wilkinson, the Hawks went hitless until the seventh when Wilcov dropped a single in front of the center fielder.
While she’s confident the bats will come around, Wilcov says, it’s the defense that is a cause for concern. In Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Suburban One National League rival Pennsbury, South committed four errors in the first three frames including a pair of gaffes in the second inning that helped the Falcons take a 4-1 lead they would not relinquish.
Having Wilcov, who is currently struggling with an arm injury, limited to batting duties only hasn’t helped things. It has forced the Hawks to scramble the infield so some are playing out of position.
“It’s tough,” said Wilcov, who is headed to Yale. “We had to move some things around. My arm has been bothering me so I’ve only been able to hit. We had to switch up our infield – who’s catching and our outfield – so it’s been a big adjustment.”
In its previous two games, South outpaced Ryan, 14-0 and GMA, 14-2. Facing Pennsbury’s veteran pitcher Alyssa Hileman, the Hawks managed to get only five runners on base. The junior righthander for the Falcons also struck out eight batters and walked none.
“In the last inning and we were down, I kept saying ‘you know what girls, we’ve scored how many runs in a single inning?’ We did great against Gwynedd Mercy. We did great against Archbishop Ryan; we scored so may runs in one inning.
“I kept saying we have to stay tough and we know we can. But Alyssa pitched a great game and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
South has a pretty good pitcher, too, in freshman Danielle Walters, who comes to Rock Way via the New Jersey Mystics Fast Pitch 18U Premier team. The Hawks righthander pitched out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam in the first inning, fanning third baseman Mia Pitt and DP Jenn Brady and inducing a ground ball to third base by Olivia Mauro.
Brady and Mauro fouled off numerous pitches on full counts to reach base on a single and a walk, respectively, in the fifth inning. That time, Walters fanned outfielder Karli Haines and first baseman Anna Downs to escape any harm.
“Danielle is great,” said Wilcov. “She’s a freshman but she comes ready to play every game, gives it her best in the field and at bat.
“She’s always so tough in there. When she gets down in the count, she always comes back. She comes in clutch. Bases loaded – she gets us out of it.
“Runners on base, she gets us out of it. Two outs, she helps us; she’s been great.”
While the Hawks have wins over Abington and Truman, South suffered through some costly fielding errors in a 9-4 loss to sister school CR North and now Pennsbury.
“The problem with us is that we get down on our defense,” said Wilcov. “A lot of it is unearned runs.”
Wilcov is sure the team will rebound from this recent loss.
“We started off a little shaky with our hitting but the last game and the game before that, we were killing the ball. As a team, we’ve gotten so much better.”
“I think people shouldn’t overlook us. Even though this game didn’t reflect who we are, we’re going to come back and surprise some people.”
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock South freshman righthander Danielle Walters comes to Rock Way via the New Jersey Mystics Fast Pitch 18U Premier team. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)