WEST GROVE—Coming into Wednesday’s Ches-Mont National match-up between Bishop Shanahan and Avon Grove, there had been no hotter pitcher in the state than Shanahan’s Devon Miller. Miller was coming off a three game stretch where she struck out a whopping 56 hitters.
The Red Devils knew they would have to be at their best if they were going to come away with a win. Avon Grove not only ended Miller’s whiff parade, striking out just six times, they hit Miller hard, with 4 of hits going for extra bases as Avon Grove picked up a 6-2 victory.
“We hit the ball at the rights times, with runners in scoring position,” said Avon Grove coach Mike DeLuzio. “We’ve hit the ball hard all year, but this was a big win that came from contributions by the whole team.”
The two teams traded runs early. Shanahan pushed one across in the second when Hanna Keiper, Alexis Peterson and Marley West knocked consecutive singles, and the Devils answered back with one of its own when pitcher Rachel Butler helped her own cause with a solo home run in the third, taking a belt high fastball deep.
“It was a little in, said Butler. “I just do my best to try to take it where it’s pitched.”
Butler picked up the win in the circle, going seven strong. She allowed two runs on twelve hits, but left eleven runners stranded.
“The bottom of our order hit the ball well all day,” said Shanahan coach Ron Savastio. “But we just didn’t string enough hits together. And they did.”
Avon Grove put the game away in the fifth. Down 2-1, after a Keiper single and Peterson double added a run for the Eagles in the top of the fifth, the Devils exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Mack VanSciver, in her first at bat of the day, worked a one-out walk to get things going. Meg Nolan came next, and made it first and second when she also walked.
After Miller got a flyout for out number two, Cutler smacked a double to tie the game at two apiece. Up next came Carly Raymond, who doubled to the left field wall, knocking in Butler and Nolan. Olivia Kunitsky followed with a double of her own to bring home Raymond.
“I had struck out in my previous two at bats, so I was really just thinking that I had to come through for my team,” said Raymond. “I figured she was going to keep going outside, since that’s what she’d been getting me on. She did, so I just went with the pitch and made good contact.”
Now Avon Grove, still within reach of division leading Coatesville for the National title, have to root for Shanahan to make it two straight over the Red Raiders when the two meet Friday night at Caln Park.
“The fences are a little short up there in Coatesville, so that can be tough to contend with,” said Deluzio. “But I might just head up see that one. For now, this was a nice win over a tough, tough pitcher. Getting in games like this can mean so much when you advance through the post season.”
Avon Grove 6, Bishop Shanahan 2
Shanahan ab r h bi Avon Grove ab r h bi
Newton—C 4 0 0 0 Nolan—2B 1 0 0 0
Bedics—RF 4 0 1 0 DeFeo–SS 3 0 1 0
Miller—P 4 0 2 0 Butler–P 2 2 2 2
Weyand—2B 4 0 1 0 Raymond—DP 3 1 1 2
McAllister—CF 4 0 0 0 Kunitsky–C 3 1 2 2
Keiper—DP 3 2 2 0 Laterza–RF 3 0 0 0
Peterson—LF 3 0 2 1 Barnhart—LF 3 0 0 0
Weston—3B 3 0 2 1 Murphy—1B 3 0 0 0
Sano–SS 3 0 2 0 Christman—3B 1 0 0 0
Totals 32 2 12 2 VanSciver—3B 2 1 0 0
Totals 23 6 6 6
Shanahan 0 1 0 1 0 0 0—2
Avon Grove 0 0 1 0 5 0 X—6
2B –Butler, Kunitsky, Raymond, Peterson HR—Bulter
IP H R BB SO
Miller (L) 6 6 6 4 6
Butler (W) 7 12 2 0 1