WARMINSTER >> There’s only one way Council Rock South softball coach Frank Marino describes pitcher Danielle Walters.
The sophomore right-hander is quite simply, a workhorse. A day after taking a loss against Neshaminy’s loaded offense, Walters stepped right back in the circle against Archbishop Wood looking to right the ship.
She delivered, both at the plate and in the circle, holding the Vikings to one hit in a 4-0 win Saturday afternoon.
“I had a lot of spin on the ball and I kept putting it on the corner of the plate,” Walters said. “I was hitting my spots pretty consistently.”
Wood’s offense was held in check but the Hawks didn’t have all that much success either thanks to the effort of senior pitcher Marisa Browne. Browne, who signed her letter of intent with Drexel on Thursday, struck out 16 CR South batters and gave up just five hits.
In a tight game where both pitchers are dealing, every mistake gets amplified and that was the case Saturday. CR South’s first two runs came on passed balls while a two-out error in the seventh inning allowed the Hawks to tack on two more runs.
“We have to work on that,” Wood coach Jackie Ecker said. “Marisa gives 180 percent every single time, I think I get more frustrated than her and she just keeps her composure. She works hard and always will keep us in the game, she takes a lot on herself and just keeps throwing until the game is over.”
Ecker also gave plenty of credit to Walters, who struck out eight batters of her own. Walters was one of few Hawks to have any kind of success off Browne, hitting a single in the first inning, drawing a walk in the third and lacing the RBI double in the seventh.
Walters’ one-out single in the first turned into the only run the Hawks needed when the sophomore advanced to third on a wild pitch and passed ball, then came home on a dropped third strike and passed ball on what would have been the third out of the inning.
“I told our players that could potentially be the only run we see,” Marino said. “It’s going to be a tight, low-run game with Marisa in the circle. We knew we were up against a tough pitcher but I just told them to keep going, work through the lineup and do whatever you can to get back up.”
Wood’s only hit came in the third inning when Rachael Burns’ drag bunt skirted the third base line long enough for the outfielder to reach base. The Vikings had a base runner in six of seven innings, but only two made it to second base and none advanced past there.
“She’s been a workhorse for us, we finally got a nice day and she showed her stuff,” Marino said of Walters. “It’s high school ball, you’re going to play almost every day from here on out so you have to forget what you did yesterday and they were ready to go today.”
It was a similar story on the CR South side where the Hawks kept getting runners on only for Browne to leave them on base. In the second, Allison Kirchner led off with a walk and swiped second, but Browne came back to strike out the side in order. Julie Barron led off the fourth with a double but got stuck on third as Browne retired the next three hitters.
“She can have a home run hit off her and then strike out the next two batters, that’s just the type of pitcher she is,” Ecker said. “She doesn’t really show much emotion on her face, which is great and she just goes at them and moves on to the next batter.”
Pinch-hitter Emily Cary drew a one-out walk in the seventh, starting the CR South rally. She would eventually score on a passed ball, giving the Hawks a needed bit of breathing room and South kept it going when shortstop Shorty Thompson reached on an infield error to extend the frame with two down.
Walters stepped in and fought, going down 0-2 before working a 2-2 count and finally delivering with a double to center field that plated Thompson. The pitcher took third on a throw home from the outfield and then came in when third baseman Alex Hopko singled her in before Browne struck out the next batter to end the inning.
“I knew I needed to get a hit at that time,” Walters said. “It didn’t matter where I hit it, I just needed to get on base and score runs. I had better timing I think, I was set up and ready to hit.”
Wood is hoping its bats come back strong next week, starting with a nonleague game at CB West followed by three straight PCL contests. The Vikings, who had two games postponed by rain during the week, did pick up a key victory on Tuesday when senior Taylor Schwartz hit a walk-off grand slam against Archbishop Ryan.
The Vikings are 5-0 in the league and on Saturday, had a formal dedication to their new field on the school’s campus.
“I want to play the strongest teams out there and Council Rock South is usually a strong team so we just learn from it,” Ecker said. “We have to come back on Monday, so it’s a tough week and we’ll go from there.”
The Hawks got a good bounce-back win and what they hope is some propellant heading back into the SOL National.
“It’s just going to make us stronger,” Walters said.
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 100 000 3 – 4 5 1
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 000 000 0 – 0 1 2
SO-BB: CRS – Danielle Walters 8-4; AW – Marisa Browne 16-3. 2B: CRS – Walters, Julie Barron. Multiple hits: CRS – Walters 2-3
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