WEST GROVE—Though the wild Ches-Mont National is still up for grabs, Avon Grove (13-3) took a big step forward Monday after noon, riding a big fourth inning and the arm of Rachel Butler to a 4-0 shutout of visiting Coatesville (12-4). The Red Devils and Red Raiders split their season series, with the home team coming out on top each time.
“They beat us up when we played them at their place,” said Red Devils’ coach Mike Diluzio. “It was nice to come here and reverse that result. But we can’t just rest on our laurels. We still have some tough opponents coming up, and anyone can still win this division. This division is like playoff softball all season long.”
The two teams were scoreless over the first three and a half innings before the Devils finally put some runs on the board. Butler got things going with a lead-off single to left. Olivia Kunitsky followed, and dropped down a bunt. The throw went wild, allowing Kunitsky to reach safely and Butler to move all the way to third. Butler came in to score on an RBI single from Carly Raymond.
After Kunitsky each moved up sixty-feet on a wild pitch, Syd Skrzypiec brought them both home with an RBI single, then came in to score herself when Morgan Defeo ripped a double to center.
“I came out in the fourth knowing I had a job to do,” said Skrzypiec. “I just did what I could do get it done. But I think the whole team came out today and played like it was a championship game.
The Raiders had base runners in five of the seven innings, but just never could string together enough hits. The only real threat ended with a runner being thrown out at the plate.
“We had one rough inning in the field, and Avon Grove really took advantage of the opportunity,” said Coatesville coach Bill Mendenhall. “Other than that, both pitchers pitched great. We’re now in unfamiliar territory where we’re going to need a little help. But I think we’ve seen that anyone can beat anyone in this league, so we just have to take care of our own business.”
Much like she did a season ago, Butler seems to be finding her groove in the circle at the time when it matters most. She picked up the complete game shutout, scattering five hits. She struck out six and didn’t walk a hitter.
“I was really proud of the way I pitched today, mixing things up and keeping them off balance,” said Butler. “I don’t really know why, but I struggled a little early in the season. But I just tried to focus on myself and work hard in practice so I can help my team win.”
If nothing else, these teams are going to be well-prepared for a playoff atmosphere.
“No doubt about it,” said Diluzio. “Playing teams that can hit like they do in this league, and seeing quality pitching game in and game out, it really gets us ready for when we come up against the Suburban One teams, and anyone we’ll face in the post season.”
Avon Grove 4 Coatesville 0
Coatesville AB R H RBI Avon Grove AB R H RBI
Vetters—LF 3 0 1 0 Defeo—DP 2 0 1 1
Sherman—P 3 0 0 0 Vansciver—CF 2 0 1 0
Bock—CF 3 0 0 0 Wallauer—1B 3 0 1 0
Landis—1B 3 0 2 0 Butler—P 3 1 1 0
Fleming—3B 3 0 0 0 Kunitsky—2B 3 1 0 0
Bankes—DP 3 0 0 0 Raymond—LF 3 1 1 1
Minitti—SS/2B 3 0 0 Barnhart—RF 3 0 1 0
Clemens—2B/RF 3 0 1 0 Kristman—3B 3 0 0 0
Friel—RF 0 0 0 0 Skrzypiec—C 3 1 2 2
Kane—SS 2 0 1 0 McKeown—FX/SS 0 0 0 0
McIntyre—FX/C 0 0 0 0 Totals 25 4 8 4
Totals 26 0 5 0
2B—Landis, Defeo, Wallauer, Van Sciver
Coatesville 0 0 0 0 0 0 0–0
Avon Grove 0 0 0 4 0 0 X—4
Coatesville IP R H BB K
Sherman (L) 6 4 8 1 8
Bulter (W) 7 0 5 0 6
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