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After strong start at Carpenter Cup, Catholic League settles for split

PHILADELPHIA >> For Cardinal O’Hara’s Grace Hussey and Alexia Galli, one of the coolest things about playing in the Carpenter Cup is getting to know new people.

And they know some of their Philadelphia Catholic League teammates’  strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s funny,” said Hussey, a slap-hitting lefty.  “You know how to get them out when you’re playing against them, but now, you’re rooting for them not to get out.”

Galli caught all seven innings of the PCL’s second game Monday. She had the chance to receive a pair of really good pitchers in Hallahan’s Maddy McBride and Archbishop Wood’s Maria Browne.

“It’s fun because you get to see all the different pitches that they have,” Galli said. “It’s always different being able to catch new people. I like that.”

Unfortunately for the Catholic League, it did not go undefeated on the first day of the 13th annual Carpenter Cup Classic. After a 3-1 victory over Public League/Catholic Academies/Friends (Philadelphia PCCAF), the Catholic League dropped a 4-2 decision to Delaware North in the afternoon. The PCL will return to FDR Park Wednesday to play a losers bracket game.

“I wish we could have won and kept playing, but it’s also nice to get some rest,”  Hussey said. “We’ll come back (Wednesday).”

The Catholics struggled to get hits against Delaware North despite solid pitching from McBride and Browne. McBride, a Sharon Hill resident, started and closed. In four innings of work, she allowed a run on two hits with three strikeouts. Browne scattered five hits and allowed three runs, but struck out six in three innings.

Delaware North did its damage in the third inning, when it erased a short-lived 2-1 deficit. Catcher/first baseman Mallory Weir, who reached base three times, hit an opposite field two-run homer to put DN ahead to stay. A two-out RBI triple by Grace Walker put the Catholics in a 4-2 hole.

Although the PCL had plenty of time to mount a comeback, the offensive production simply wasn’t there against Delaware North relief pitcher Caitlin Pontak, who tossed four innings of no-hit softball with four strikeouts and no walks. The Catholics’ lone baserunner off Pontak was Delaney Smith of Lansdale Catholic, who was hit by a pitch.

“We kind of went flat,” Catholic League coach Dan Milio said. “We got some runners on but couldn’t get them in.”

The silent act with the bats was frustrating after the Catholics showed some consistency in the second inning off Delaware North starter Savannah  Sheats. Hussey used her fleet feet to leg out a bunt single with one down, then moved to second on a Galli single. St. Hubert’s Annie Wolfe blasted one to the gap in left-center for a two-run double as the Catholics went on top, 2-1.

An around-the-horn double play in the third squashed a potential Catholic League rally.

Allison Martin (Bonner & Prendergast) chipped in with a single in the first inning.

In the morning game, Kaitlyn Martin, who is Allison’s twin sister, went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs to help the Catholics to victory.

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The Delaware County squads debut Tuesday. It will mark the first time Delco will have two teams in the Carpenter Cup.

Delco West plays Olympic Colonial at 9 a.m, while Delco East gets rolling at 11 o’clock against Tri-Cape. If both Delco teams win or lose, they will face off at 1 p.m.

The Delaware County East roster, which is coached by Jim Bender, Alyssa Silipino, Chris Calciano and Bill Stauffer, includes Harriton’s Julia Ermi and Kiley Marsh; Haverford High’s Morgan Marchesani and Amber Moscoe; Penncrest’s Julia Eckels, Maya Hartman and Emma Stauffer; Strath Haven’s Brooke Bender and Malia Calciano; Sun Valley’s Kylie Kane; and Upper Darby’s Rebecca Sorrentino.

The Delaware County West roster consists of Garnet Valley’s Lindsey Hunt, Audrey Shenk and Diane Torregrossa; Haverford High’s Ali Murphy; Interboro’s Bridget Bailey; Marple Newtown’s Ally DeFruscio; Radnor’s Cate Remphrey; Ridley’s Ashley Shanks; Springfield’s Jenna Casasanto and Caitlin Chambers; Sun Valley’s Madison Gutowiecz and Carly Williams; and Upper Darby’s Brooke Jones and Lexi Witmer. Coaches are Pat Rafferty, Christina Tomczuk and Mike Snow.

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And let’s not forget about the Inter-Ac League, which opens against Chester County Tuesday at 9 a.m. Among the players from Delco schools are Agnes Irwin’s Paige DiLullo, Rajaa Wilcox and Mary Naylor; Episcopal Academy’s Sandy Warhol; and Notre Dame’s Anita and Michelle Bilotta.

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