RIDLEY >> While the temperature outside suggested otherwise, Wednesday’s Central League battle between Upper Darby and Ridley certainly had a warm and fuzzy playoff feel.
With two on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Rebecca Sorrentino stood in the pitcher’s circle, locked in on Ridley slugger Ashley Shanks. Sorrentino was determined to get some revenge on Shanks, who had homered against her earlier in the day.
Sorrentino battled back from two balls down in the count to get Shanks looking at a called third strike. The pitch was a nasty breaker that painted the inside of the plate.
“I was thinking that I better get her out or we’re going to lose. I knew if she hit something, it was going far,” said Sorrentino, a three-year starting pitcher for the Royals. “I threw a screwball to her (for strike three) and it got right on the corner of the plate. It felt pretty good.”
Sorrentino pumped her fist and celebrated with batterymate Lexi Witmer as Upper Darby claimed the 5-3 victory over Ridley.
This was a nice bounceback win for the Royals (3-1, 3-1 Central League) after dropping a heartbreaker at Conestoga Monday. Sorrentino deserved a better fate in that game, but Wednesday the Royals backed her with great defense and timely hitting.
Brooke Jones led the offensive attack for the Royals, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Jones’ two-run single in the fifth inning snapped a 2-2 deadlock.
“We had to stay patient for the most part,” Jones said of facing Ridley pitcher Morgan Chapman, who struck out eight. “She was living on the outside (portion of the plate) for a while.”
Sorrentino helped her cause with a triple and scored on an RBI hit by Camryn Young in the fifth inning. Young finished with three singles and a pair of ribbies. Witmer doubled and scored a run, while Rylee Shanahan chipped in two singles and two runs scored.
Ultimately, though, this day belonged to Sorrentino, who was outstanding. She struck out 11, scattered seven hits, walked one and allowed two earned runs. She was in control the entire way.
Sorrentino, a junior, had a lot of success her freshman year as she helped a veteran team claim the Central League title. Last spring, the Royals struggled and failed to qualify for the District 1 Class 6A playoffs.
“Her freshman year, and winning all of those games, she wanted to do that over again last season,” said Witmer, who is also a junior. “This year she wants to come back and show us what she’s got. And she can pitch. She hits her spots, and when she does (consistently), people can’t hit her. She feels a lot better this year and is definitely more confident.”
Shanks, Ridley’s talented shortstop, crushed a two-run homer to center field in the third inning to tie the score. After UD plated three runs in the fifth, Ridley answered with one when Samantha Williams knocked in Abby McCoy with a single. Sorrentino cut off the relay throw to home plate and nabbed Williams trying to stretch a single into a double. So not only did she pitch and hit well, Sorrentino also came through with a heady defensive play.
“I feel like we can go really far from here,” Sorrentino said. “Today was a good day for our hitting, and we’re hoping to win a lot of games.”