BOYERTOWN >> It’s easy to focus on what the Spring-Ford softball team lost from last year’s PIAA Class 6A semifinalist.
But it’s not so hard to turn ones attention to what they retained, like All-Area first team outfielder Maddy Little and second team pitcher Sam Lindsay.
On Wednesday, it wasn’t hard to notice what the Rams gained, too.
Freshman Bri Peck joined Little as the leading lights offensively while the rookie teamed with junior pitcher Lindsay on a two-hitter as Spring-Ford cruised past Boyertown, 8-1, on the Bears’ home field.
Junior Little was 4-for-4 from the leadoff spot while Peck was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI as Spring-Ford scored single runs in the first and second innings before breaking it open with a four-run fourth inning.
Kylie Hertzler provided the Bears’ bright spot with her solo home run to right field in the second inning.
The Rams made the win look routine as they improved to 4-0 in the PAC and 5-1 overall.
Nevertheless, coach Tim Hughes sees his team as still taking shape after losing eight seniors, including two-time All-Area Player of the Year Megan Kern (St. Joseph’s) and first team selections Maggie McConney and Morgan Maziarz.
“We lost eight seniors, a lot of really good, impact players, so sometimes our focus isn’t quite there yet,” Hughes said. “We’re going to make mistakes, but they work hard. We’re going to keep working and try to be around at the end with something to play for.”
Boyertown (1-1 PAC, 1-2 overall) struggled for the second time this week – Monday marked a 6-0 defeat to Interboro – and left coach Kim Musselman hoping for happier times ahead.
“We have a good hitting team, but we didn’t show it today,” the second-year coach said. “I felt we were still in it at 1-0 and 2-1 then we had the inning of the walks and the errors and the girls admitted they gave up. We still have some things to clean up but we’ve only played three games.
“They need to speak up because you could hear a pin drop on the field. They need to talk to each other and once they start doing that they’re going to start having more fun playing the game, because I don’t think they’re having a lot of fun right now, unfortunately.”
RBI single on the hands for Peck makes it 7-1 top 7, 2 down pic.twitter.com/Jwzwc23jMZ
— Austin Hertzog (@AustinHertzog) April 11, 2018
Spring-Ford took firm control in the fourth inning on run-scoring hits by Peck (double to score Bridget Sharkey) and Ashley DellaGuardia (1-for-3, two walks, two RBI), which chased starter Alex Schaefer (3.1 IP, 7 hits, 5 R, 3 ER, 5 K, 5 BB) before the Rams got their final two runs on a throwing error from the Bears’ catcher on an attempt to third base brought home DellaGuardia and Noelle Reid.
Lindsay departed after five innings, giving up two hits, one run, struck out five and walked none. Peck struck out three in two hitless innings, a sign that the Rams may have a formidable 1-2 pitching punch.
With that kind of potential, Spring-Ford won’t be tempering its expectations, even while not featuring a senior starter.
“People sometimes say you have to take baby steps or set limited goals,” Hughes said. “But if you set limited goals, you’re limiting their possibilities. These girls can play ball. We’re going to set lofty goals because what do you do if you reach the one you have? We want to be playing the final game of the season in 6A.”
NOTES >> Sharkey made an excellent diving catch in right field to end Boyertown’s best threat with runners on second and third and two outs in the fourth inning. … Boyertown reliever Allison Melahn went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, three runs with five strikeouts and four walks.