WEST GROVE >> During the game, it was reserve player Madison Keller’s job to hold the iPhone up against the fence and shoot.
At one point, Interboro’s Barb Carosi injured a finger attempting to field a scorching line drive her way. Play was halted as Interboro coach Chuck Pedrick went out to check on his senior third baseman
You could hear the voice on the iPhone say, “She’s not coming out of the game, let’s go!”
That was Interboro assistant coach Dave Wilson, on vacation with family in Costa Rica, on the other line and watching the Bucs’ PIAA Class 5A quarterfinal against Cedar Cliff via FaceTime.
Oh, the magic of technology.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, they were unable to extend their season and, perhaps, cause overage charges to Keller’s cellphone bill. Interboro bowed to District 3 champion Cedar Cliff, 4-0, at Avon Grove High School Thursday.
All-Delco catcher Amber Seamen normally receives the pitching calls from Wilson, but she and Interboro junior ace Bridget Bailey were on their own Thursday.
“He told me it was my turn to call the game,” Seamen said.
Seamen promised Wilson she would take care of something else for Wilson while he was roughly 4,000 miles away.
“I’m baby sitting his dogs,” she said, “So, he said to me, ‘You better FaceTime me.’”
After the Bucs held their final team meeting of the season, junior second baseman Sam Bellano surprised Pedrick with a water-cooler dousing. The Bucs love “Ped,” and for one last time, they showed their gratitude for the veteran coach, who has been running the softball program at Interboro for nearly 20 years and had never taken a team to the PIAA tournament before this spring.
“I had to do it,” Bellano said. “It just … had to be done. I knew I could get him when he wasn’t looking.”
Amber Seamen singles to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Interboro trails, 4-0. pic.twitter.com/xDMurezbcq
— Matt Smith (@DTMattSmith) June 8, 2017
Interboro tried to enjoy the experience as much as possible. Pedrick is a fairly laid-back coach, and by the time the post-game meeting had adjourned at second base, players were laughing and smiling.
“I’ll remember … all of it,” said Seamen, who will take her immense softball talent to Cabrini in the fall. “All of it was really great. It was a really fun season.”
The Bucs just couldn’t get anything cooking against Cedar Cliff, which is oozing with high-caliber athletes and a sophomore pitcher who presented Interboro batters with a variety of looks, mixing deceptive offspeed pitches with a solid, if not overpowering, fastball/rise combo.
“She was pretty good, she made some good pitches,” said Seamen, who was 1-for-3 in her final game in the gold and black. “We got hits … but not enough of them.”
Interboro had five singles off Avery Winchell, who struck out seven and worked around three walks. The Bucs’ best opportunity to crack the scoreboard came in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Seamen and Lily Bonner each singled, while Emily Gavin coaxed a two-out walk. Alas, Haley Barrett hit a tapper back to Winchell in the circle for the final out.
The Bucs didn’t do themselves any favors by yielding three runs in the top of the first. The inauspicious start happened when leadoff hitter Jimiah McDonald crushed a ball over Bonner’s head in right field and raced to third with a triple. Riley Keefer then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 1-0. A walk, single, RBI double and an error later, the Bucs were in a 3-0 hole.
That deficit grew to four runs in the fourth inning when McDonald singled home Maddie Enrico.
Despite allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks, Bailey was efficient. She battled through early struggles to keep her team within striking distance, but the Bucs’ bats couldn’t pick her up.
“It was really intimidating,” Bailey said. “We were talking about them. We looked up Cedar Cliff and tried our best to figure out who we were going to be facing. You never really know what’s going to happen until you’re in the game, so once (McDonald) hit that triple, it was really intimidating. I tried my best to keep my cool, stay calm and keep throwing.”
Bailey was also dealing with a home plate umpire that routinely called strikes on the outside corners.
“Because Coach Wilson, who usually calls my pitches, is in Costa Rica right now, Amber was calling the pitches and she was really good at it. She knew where the batters were at in the box and what the ump was calling,” said Bailey, who struck out five. “The umpire was calling the outside corner, so I tried my best to hit that spot. I was able to get a couple of girls (out) with that pitch.”
Bailey will return next year, hoping to lead the Bucs to another Del Val League title and a return trip to the District 1 Class 5A championship as well as the state tournament.
“I honestly think we couldn’t have had a better year,” she said. “This is the best team I’ve ever had the chance to play with. I’m going to miss the seniors so much next year.”
Bellano and Gavin each reached base three times for the Bucs. Bellano had a pair of walks and a single, while Gavin was 2-for-2 with two singles and a base on balls.