LANSDALE >> Lansdale Catholic catcher Rebecca Tiley stayed ready.
Even as rain fell for most of the day Wednesday and even after seeing a handful of postponements popping up on Twitter, Tiley prepared as if her team’s game with Conwell-Egan was going to happen. The junior’s ability to stay locked in even with most of the area schedule getting washed paid off in a big way in the sixth inning when she laced a long single to drive in the go-ahead run.
It took at least a little bit from everyone, but the No. 3 Crusaders rallied for a 2-1 win over the No. 6 Eagles in the PCL quarterfinals on Wednesdsay.
“You have to prepare for any weather, if it’s freezing cold or blazing hot or even raining like today, you have to keep in your mind that you have a game,” Tiley said. “You stay ready knowing you have to win.”
LC and Egan’s game was the only one of four PCL quarterfinals to be played on Wednesday. Crusaders coach Paul Suder and his staff felt the forecast for the rest of the week only got worse and with the rain staying relatively light throughout the day, their field held up well enough to play.
Despite the adverse weather, the game quickly developed into a pitcher’s battle with Egan righty Amber Stansfield going toe-to-toe with LC sophomore Megan Burns. Burns, a righty, has spent most of the season splitting time with classmate Mary Picozzi in the circle but went the distance on Wednesday.
“You always stay in the game, you never give up on your teammates and you pick each other up,” Burns said. “If the ball gets hit or one of your teammates gets out, you pick them up and keep on going.”
The Eagles and Crusaders both had a couple runners reach in the first four innings but the game’s first real scoring threats came in the bottom of the fourth. LC freshman Julia Marozzi led off with a single, followed by a Tiley double that put runners at third and second with no out.
Stansfield came back to get a ground ball for a tag out at home then a pop-up and grounder back to her in the circle to get out of the inning without harm. Egan would keep the momentum going into the fifth, plating a run on Elizabeth Shire’s single deep in the hole at shortstop.
While Burns gave up three hits in the fifth, she limited the Eagles to just one run
“You stay ahead and look for those batters you have to keep an eye on, what’s playing and where they’re going to hit it,” Burns said.
After being shut down in the bottom of the fifth, the Crusaders came back big in the sixth. Picozzi had a good at-bat to start the frame by drawing a leadoff walk ahead of Marozzi before advancing on a wild pitch. The freshman second baseman, who has climbed her way up the batting order all season to her current spot as the clean-up hitter, followed with a well-struck double to center.
Marozzi had fallen behind 1-2 in the count after chasing a ball in the dirt but when Stansfield left the next pitch in the zone, Marozzi didn’t miss.
“I’m not big into bunting my four hitter,” Suder said. “A lot of people are bunting there, and she hits the ball so hard, every pitch she gets, she puts a great swing on. I just decided at that point I wasn’t going to bunt and take my chances.”
Marozzi’s double was enough to score Picozzi from second and the freshman didn’t stay on the bases too long as Tiley laced her second hit of the game for a long go-ahead single.
“She’s been on it all year, she’s been killing it as a freshman,” Tiley said of Marozzi. “For me, I’m coming up just trying to work the count and make her throw strikes right down the middle.”
Suder said he debated turning to Picozzi to pitch the seventh, but with how well Burns was throwing, let her go for the complete game win. The sophomore rewarded that faith with a huge play in the inning, knocking down a liner off the bat of Alyssa Fagans, then quickly turning and throwing out Egan’s lead runner at second base.
“She had the heads-up to go to second, she didn’t have a play at first,” Suder said. “She is a very smart player. She’s also a good hitter, so just a solid player.”
Both Tiley and Marozzi went 2-for-3 with a double for LC while Burns laced a two-bagger in her first at-bat of the game. Corey Jones had two hits, including a triple, for Conwell-Egan while Maddie Chapman and Devyn Savage doubled.
LC will face the winner of the Hallahan/Bonner-Prendie quarterfinal in the semifinal round, which is scheduled for May 21 at La Salle University. It’s the second straight year in the semifinals for LC, which needs to win the PCL title to unseat B-P for a District 12 playoff spot.
“It means a lot,” Tiley said. “The team made districts the year before I came but I’ve never been there, we need the win the league to get there which will be tough but we’re going to fight for it.”
“With all the practice we’ve had, we’re ready,” Burns said.
LANSDALE CATHOLIC 2, CONWELL-EGAN 1
CONWELL-EGAN 000 010 0 – 1 6 1
LANSDALE CATHOLIC 000 002 x – 2 6 0
3B: CE – Corey Jones. 2B: LC – Rebecca Tiley, Megan Burns, Julia Marozzi; CE – Maddie Chapman. Multiple hits: LC – Marozzi 2-3, Tiley 2-3; CE – Jones 2-3.
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