NEWTOWN – Usually when Council Rock North and CR South lock horns, the ensuing battle is a thriller. Tuesday, May 30, the two sister schools met in the District One Class 6A consolation semifinal softball game and the results were classic. North seized a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind victory.
During the regular season, the two rivals split in their head on meetings. North won the initial tussle 9-4. South gained revenge in the rematch, taking an 8-5 victory. Jenna Khantzian, North’s sophomore pitching ace, said the first contest proved a turning point in the Indians’ season.
“The first time we played South was a big game not just because they are our rivals. We weren’t winning at first. Coming out on top in that game was a big boost for us.”
North went on to post a 14-5 regular season overall mark. They were 8-4 in the league, good enough for second place in the highly competitive National Division. The Indians captured their opening District bout defeating Boyertown 3-0. An 8-2 loss to Coatesville dropped them into the consolation round.
The Golden Hawks, on the other hand, rounded out their regular season with a13-7 mark. Entering the District tourney seeded 15th, they proved to be the Cinderella team in the early going as they defeated Central Bucks East 4-3 and then upset second-seeded Neshaminy 8-6 in overtime. A narrow 4-3 loss to Avon Grove set up their must win game against the Indians.
Spirits were high despite the damp, cold mid-March type weather. The Golden Hawks appeared ready to continue their magic ways when they plated three runs in the top of the first. With one out, Kylie Woloshyn stroked a line drive single to right. Phylicia Wilcov followed with a walk. The Hawks’ cleanup hitter Melanie Wilkinson ran the count to 3-2 before blasting a home run to straightaway centerfield.
The sudden onslaught might have rattled a less poised pitcher. Khantzian, however, lived up to her own self-description.
“Usually I’m not the type to get really nervous. It’s more of the excitement of going out and playing with my friends. I don’t find myself getting really nervous. It’s more being confident.”
The righty bore down and blanked the hot-hitting Hawks the rest of the way. Her mound rival, Danielle Walters, was equally effective, stymying the Indian hitters over the first four innings. In the fifth inning, however, Lady Luck worked against the freshman hurler. North loaded the bases and brought up their veteran slugger Sabrina Crane who smashed a grounder that eluded the Hawks second baseman and plated two runs for the home team.
The 3-2 score held until the bottom of the seventh inning. Not wanting to see their season end, the Indians came out on fire. Leadoff hitter Riley Sheehy sparked the attack by stroking a line drive single to left. When the Hawk left fielder slightly bobbled the ball, Sheehy alertly raced to second and slid in under the second baseman’s tag.
Lauren Begg followed with a bunt single and never stopped running until she reached second base. Crane, who had two hits on the day, walked to load the bases and bring up the Indians’ number four hitter, Taylor Briggs. South’s first sacker, Wilkov appeared to momentarily save the day when she fielded Briggs’ hard grounder and fired home to force Sheehy.
With the sacks still jammed, sophomore shortstop Juliana Shields strode to the plate. After Walters jumped ahead in the count 0-2, Shields knew she could not be selective about taking pitches. She also knew that Walters tends to work the outside of the plate when ahead in the count.
“Normally, I’m not very good at outside pitches so I just threw my bat out there and just tried to follow through the best I can.”
Shields’ “best” produced a hard single that sent both Begg and Crane sailing home with the tying and winning runs.
The classic 4-3 victory added another page in the heated North/South rivalry. More importantly, it gives the Indians a shot at the final state playoff spot when they tackle the winner of the Quakertown and North Penn consolation game.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North’s Riley Sheehy (12) is forced at home by Sabrina Dobron (30) in comeback District 1 playoff win by the Lady Indians May 30 at CR North, Newtown, Pa. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)
District 1 Class 6A Consolation
Council Rock North 4, Council Rock South 3
(May 30 at CR North)
CR SOUTH (14-9) 300 000 0 – 3 6 2
CR NORTH (16-6) 000 020 2 – 4 7 1
WP: Jenna Khantzian; LP: Danielle Walters.
EXTRA-BASE HITS: CRN — Riley Sheehy 2B; CRS — Melanie Wilkinson HR.
MULTIPLE HITS: CRS — Kylie Woloshyn 2-for-4, Phylicia Wilkov 2-for-3; CRN — Lauren Begg 2-for-3, Sabrina Crane 2-for-3.
RBI: CRS — Wilkinson 3; CRN — Juliana Shields 2