TOWAMENCIN >> During its seven-game winning streak, North Penn’s softball team was hitting the ball, getting good pitching and playing sound defense.
As a result, the Knights won and did so by a large margin quite a few times. The unintended consequence is that sometimes, all of those things start to slip a little bit and it gets masked by the wins.
Monday afternoon, everything seemed to catch up to North Penn at once.
Central Bucks South snapped North Penn’s winning run with an 11-0 win in five innings, handing the Knights their first Suburban One League Continental Conference loss of the season. South senior Taylor Marinelli blasted two home runs to lead the Titans charge while North Penn couldn’t recover from a slow start.
“It wasn’t our day but this is a good team and we’ll bounce back,” North Penn coach Rick Torresani said. “I told (the players) out there this wasn’t their fault, this was my fault. I didn’t have them ready to play and when a team loses like this, it’s not the players’ fault.”
South leadoff batter Alexa Ortman reached on an error to start the game, an early sign that things were not going in North Penn’s favor. Maddi Bieber and Marinelli hit infield singles to load the bases, a Meghan Bradley sac fly drove in one and double by Alexis McConomy brought in two more.
Up 3-0, the Titans had half of the start they wanted. If there’s one thing that’s stifled South this season, it has been defense. The Titans can hit the cover off the ball and score plenty of runs, but they’ve had a bad habit of giving a lot of those runs back.
On Monday however, CB South was on its game on both sides of the plate. Pitcher Kylie Kenney held the Knights to just two hits while striking out five and her defense only had one error behind her.
“We came in today like it’s another game on our schedule and we’d have to play well to win,” South coach Kevin Rosini said. “We had four games last week and we won them all. I think getting through that proved to all of us that if we play the game the right way, we’re going to be in every one of them.”
Rosini, in his first season coaching South after coming over from Archbishop Wood, inherited a veteran lineup and one of the SOL’s best hitters in Marinelli, a St. Joseph’s recruit. The senior first baseman went an unusual 4-for-4 on Monday, with two hits failing to get out of the infield dirt and the other two going clear out of the park.
Her solo shot led off the third and the Titans added two more runs on four singles to take a 7-0 lead. North Penn had its best threat in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Kenney got Brittany Moyer to hit a short grounder that Marinelli was able to charge and flip to a covering Katie Hines for the last out.
“We had the offense, it came easy to us,” Marinelli said. “We clicked and that doesn’t happen for teams, but we did. We know when we go out there and play solid defense that it’s going to be a good game.”
North Penn freshman Victoria Juckniewitz had the Knights’ first hit in the bottom of the third and it was their only hit until Bri Battavio ripped a double to right in the fifth inning. Juckniewitz also drew two walks in her other plate appearances but the Knights were never able to make something of them.
The Knights had four errors in the game, three coming in the first two innings. CB South likely would have scored some runs anyway, but giving a good offensive team like the Titans extra outs in the opening innings really put North Penn on its heels.
“We gave them some runs in the first inning and second inning and we’ve battled back before,” Torresani said. “Those kids don’t make errors, we’ve been playing really good softball but maybe we were due for one of these. This was my fault and not the girls’ fault, they deserved a better coach today and didn’t get it.”
South added two runs in the fourth when Marinelli sent a 1-2 pitch over the fence in center for a two-run shot then put the run rule in play with two runs in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Alex DeLeon and a sac fly from Bieber.
The senior, who has seven home runs in 10 games, has been an invaluable leader for Rosini as he got to know his new team.
“Even from tryouts, we knew we were going to click,” Marinelli said. “We had so many returners with the seven seniors so we have a great leadership group. Everyone is there picking each other up, everyone is getting playing time and everyone trusts each other out on the field.
“I don’t go out there looking to get home runs, I just want to get a hard hit on the ball, whether it doesn’t go out of the infield or it goes out of the stadium.”
North Penn does have three more games scheduled for this week, starting with a trip to Haverford on Tuesday and Torresani wasn’t worried about anything lingering from Monday’s loss.
“They realize what happened today,” Torresani said. “It’s a learning lesson for everybody but they’ll be ok.”
Central Bucks South 11, North Penn 0
CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH 313 22 – 11 12 1
NORTH PENN 000 00 – 0 2 4
SO-BB: CBS – Kylie Kenney 5-3; NP – Bri Battavio 0-0, Brittany Moyer 0-1. HR: Taylor Marinelli (CBS) 2. 2B: Bri Battavio (NP), Alex DeLeon (CBS), Alexis McConomy (CBS).