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West staves off Vikings comeback for 3-2 victory

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WEST GOSHEN—Don’t count out Downingtown West just yet. With the Whippets  3-2 win over West Chester East (15-4, 14-4) Friday night at West Chester East, the Whippet s(14-5, 13-4) move into a tie with the Vikings as both teams chase a Ches-Mont National division title.   Avon Grove leads the division by one in the loss column.

Caitlin Coker slides in for a triple

“Very big win, especially here,” said West coach Joey Germani. “We never seem to play well here so to get a win over a tough team like them at this time of year is big for us.”

The Whippets wasted no time getting on the board. Caitlin Coker led off the game, drilling a ball to the opposite field down the left field line, and raced all the way around to third for a triple. Coker scored when Hannah Greider delivered a one out sacrifice fly to left center.

“We were all little nervous, but we knew we could beat this team if we kept focused and kept the intensity up,” said Greider. “In a game this close, you can even make a difference with an out, like with a sac fly. Every run counts, but it’s always better to play with a lead.”

West struck again in the third. Nina Gallgher got things going when she bunted and reached on an error, moving all the way over to second on the miscue. Greider was next, and singled to left, moving up to second when the Vikings tried in vain to throw out Gallagher at third.

Hannah Greider

Once again, the Whippets took advantage of a productive out, with Gallagher scoring on a sac fly from Taylor Posner. Lili Najim made it a 3-0 lead with an RBI single to knock in Greider.

“If we work as a team, we win games,” said Greider. “Getting a win over a team like this gives us the confidence to know we can beat good teams like we’ll see in Districts. But no one is doing it by themselves.”

The Vikings answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the third when Kayla McLaughlin ripped a two out double to the gap in left center, and came around to score on an error.

Natalie Beebe, while not overpowering, more than earned her pitching win in the circle, allowing just two runs—one earned—on five hits. She struck out four, and only walked one.

Natalie Beebe

“With a team that can hit the way West Chester East can, getting those early runs was huge,” said Beebe. “I was getting a lot of outside and low calls, and it always helps when you can keep the ball low.”

East cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth. Paige Olson led off with a triple to the deepest part of center field, then scored when Amanda Gomez followed with a double. They threatened again in the seventh, putting a run in scoring position, but Beebe retired the last two hitters, including Olson for the final out.

“I know Paige and how well she can hit,” said Beebe. “So I was just out there thinking, ‘C’mon Paige, please don’t get the hit.’ Fortunately, we got the out.”

Beebe’s pitching counterpart, Jess Gomez, pitched a solid game as well, holding West to just one earned run on six hits. She struck out one, and walked one.

Paige Olson with a triple

“This was a packed week for us, and our energy just wasn’t what it was Wednesday when we beat Coatesville,” said Vikings coach Bobby Swier. “We just didn’t hit, and string together the hits like we have the rest of the year. But we’ve been moving girls around on the field, and we feel like we finally have everyone where they need to be. We’ll look forward to getting back at it Monday against Downingtown East, and then districts.”

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