By Bill Rudick
@brudick55 on Twitter
WEST GROVE >> Despite weather better suited for football than softball, both West Chester East and Avon Grove were swinging hot bats. But, an eight-run third erased an early deficit, and the Red Devils extended their win streak to five with an 18-9 Ches-Mont League victory on a windy and chilly Friday afternoon at Avon Grove.
“The weather conditions for both teams were brutal,” said Avon Grove coach Mike DeLuzio. “And that does change the game. But I couldn’t be more proud of the way these girls battled back. No matter what the score, if we just kept swinging the bats and putting the ball in play, we were going to be all right.”
The Vikings (4-2) jumped out in a hurry, plating three runs in the first and another four in the second to go up 7-1. East stroked line drive after line drive against starter Rachel Butler, pounding out six hits — three for extra bases — in that span.
“I’m not going to use the weather as an excuse,” said East coach Bobby Swier. “Both teams had to play in it. But man, it was cold. Still, I can’t be upset with the way we played. Anytime you put up nine runs, you’re swinging the bats well. And these girls never stopped battling.”
The Devils (5-1) began the steep climb back in the second. Megan Kristman led off the inning in spectacular fashion with an inside-the-park home run. Lexi Barnhart followed with a single, then moved to secon on Meg Nolan’s single. Morgan DeFeo, who finished the day 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored, then brought them both home with a double.
After Butler retired the Vikings in order in the top of the third, Avon Grove erased the lead and blew the game open with an eight-run bottom half, keyed by doubles from Carly Raymond and Nolan, and capped by a three-run blast to straightaway center from Butler.
“It was an inside pitch, pretty much right on my hip,” said Butler. “I’ve always hit inside pitches well, and I knew right away I made great contact and it was going to have a chance. It was just great to give us a little bit of a cushion.”
Avon Grove rounded out its scoring with three in the fifth and sixth innings.
Though Butler struggled through a shaky start, she settled in after the second, allowing just three hits the rest of the way.
“The wind made things really difficult,” said Butler. “It was wreaking havoc on my spins. So I just did my best to throw strikes and hit my spots as best I could.”
Six different Red Devils notched multi hit games. Nolan (2-for 4, 2B); DeFeo; Allyson Wallauer (2-for-3); Butler (4-for-4, 5 RBIs; Olivia Kunitsky (2-for-5, RBI); and Kelly Murphy (2-for-3, RBI).
“Everybody contributed today,” said Wallauer. “The score didn’t matter. Nobody got down. We just cheered each other on and did what we could do to get hits and get on base,”
The Vikings’ last two runs came in the sixth, when Sam Gomez ripped a two-out single up the middle, followed by a two-run blast over the left-field fence from Amelia Andraos. East made it two straight games with double-digit hits. They had 21 in a victory over Bishop Shanahan on Wednesday, and 11 against Avon Grove.
“This is a young team, and we’re still feeling our way a little bit,” said Swier. “But we keep swinging the bat well, and we keep improving. I’m looking forward to seeing this team again, and I believe we can turn this result around.”
Avon Grove 18, W.C. East 9
WCE ab r h bi AG ab r h bi
Thompson lf 4 1 1 0 Nolan 2b 2 2 2 0
Olson 2b 4 1 1 2 DeFeo ss 5 3 4 3
McLghlin 3b 4 1 1 0 Wallauer 1b 3 2 2 0
Gomez c 3 2 3 0 Butler p 4 4 4 5
Andraos ss 3 2 2 4 Kunitsky c 5 1 2 1
Lark p 2 0 2 1 Laterza lf 5 1 1 1
McLghlin 2b 4 0 0 0 Krstmn 3b 2 2 2 1
Ahearn 1b 4 1 0 0 Vnscver 3b 0 0 0 0
Wilson rf 4 1 1 0 Barnhart rf 1 1 1 0
Murphy rf 3 1 2 1
Raymod dp 4 1 1 1
Totals 32 9 11 9 Totals 34 18 21 13
WC East 3 4 0 0 0 2 0–9
Avon Grove 1 3 8 0 3 3 X—18
2B –Andraos, Olson, Nolan, DeFeo, Wallauer, Butler, Raymond 3B—Gomez HR—Andraos, Kristman, Bulter
IP H R BB SO
Lark, L 6 21 18 4 1
Butler, W 6 11 9 2 1
Barnhart 1 0 0 0 0