FRANCONIA >> The moment that decides a softball game comes often without warning.
Such was the case when Souderton second baseman Savannah Bostwick laid down a bunt to open the bottom of the sixth inning. A throwing error and a frantic dash back to first base provided all the uplifting energy Big Red needed.
And with Angie Carty on deck, it also provided the start of a big inning for Souderton.
The Indians started their season off with a win, topping visiting Hatboro-Horsham 5-0 Thursday afternoon in a game that started as a pitching duel between two vastly different but equally effective aces. Thanks to Bostwick’s little spark of inspiration, the Indians did enough to leave their home field winners.
“We were just trying to be aggressive, attack anything in the strike zone and put ourselves out there more,” Bostwick said. “We always say pick the person up that was just in front of you and be able to work as a team. We did that, I put the bunt down and Angie hits one into right field.”
Hatters pitcher Taylor Sciubba continued her terrific start to the season with a 15-strikeout effort, though things did come off the rails in that sixth inning. Still, the hurler was able to keep Souderton’s lineup at bay with a lot of hard-thrown and located strikes.
Carty, who went 2-for-3 on the afternoon, roped a double into center in the first inning, but Sciubba stranded her and Soudy pitcher Alex Scheeler with a three-strikeout frame. Sciubba’s first eight outs came via strikeout and she retired nine straight batters in the second, third and fourth innings.
“She plays with me in travel ball,” Hatters coach Joe DiFilippo said. “She’s only going to get better too. She throws 60 to 61 (mph).”
But as good as the fireballing Hatter was, Scheeler was just as tough in her own way. The sophomore kept Hatboro-Horsham’s hitters frustrated and only able to pound out three hits, and nothing leaving the infield.
“It kept us in the game, Alex did well the whole game and our fielding did as well,” Souderton coach Steph Rummel said. “It allowed our hitting to come around.”
One thing Rummel wasn’t overly happy with was Souderton’s tentativeness at the plate in the early innings. No. 7 hitter Alyssa McCormick had two hits, including a big two-run single in the sixth, but the rest of the bottom four in the order didn’t attack the ball the way their coach wants.
Some of it was the team being out for its first real game while Hatboro-Horsham came in off two straight wins to open the season. But when the sixth inning rolled around, the top of the order was due up and it was time to make something happen.
Bostwick, who had two stellar defensive plays earlier in the game, put down a short bunt and reached when the throw sailed high into the outfield. Trying for an extra base, the second baseman got caught in a rundown but managed to elude a tag and slide back into first safely, a definite game-changing play.
“Sav and I work really well together back-to-back and when she laid that bunt down and got into that pickle and came out of it safe, we were all up,” Carty said. “We were all hyped, we were getting into it.”
Carty had picked up that Sciubba was coming with a first-pitch strike every time and knew she had to wait on something hard down the middle. Working a 1-1 count, the Kutztown-bound center fielder got her pitch and belted it into right field for a run-scoring triple.
“I could see the outfield shifting and once they did that I could tell I needed to wait on the ball,” Carty said. “I drove it to right and it drove Sav all the way in which was awesome and the hits are contagious so the girls just had to continue it from there.”
After Dayna Shelly reached on a fielder’s choice with no throw, Scheeler drove in Carty on a groundout, Shelly scored on a passed ball and McCormick brought in the last two runs on her base hit. Carty said she likes the lineup top-to-bottom and thinks there are plenty of strong hitters that just need to be a little more aggressive.
“It kept the hits coming and kept everybody up,” Carty said.
“We were a lot more aggressive and had a lot more fun, we weren’t as anxious,” Bostwick said. “We were a lot more loose, I’d say.”
The Suburban One League Continental Conference is shaping up as a tough one, and the Indians should be in the mix right along with CB South, North Penn, the Hatters and improving teams like Pennridge and Quakertown.
Rummel was happy to start off with a win, but certainly wants her hitters to be more proactive in their approach at the plate. She’s confident they’ll come around, especially the bottom of the order and that the veteran leaders up top will be the ones to show them the way.
Just like they did Thursday.
“The top of our lineup, Angie and I, we wanted to get ourselves on so we could really do something and just power through the whole lineup,” Bostwick said. “That’s what we did. There was a lot of power there and confidence.”