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Greaney helps North Penn top Garnet Valley in District 1-6A 3rd place game

TOWAMENCIN >> Amanda Greaney isn’t trying to hit home runs. But sometimes, when the North Penn sophomore catcher puts a charge into a ball, it’s only option is to escape a field’s confines.

Such was the case with two on and no outs in the bottom of the third inning Thursday afternoon when Greaney connected on a pitch from Garnet Valley’s Becca Halford to sent it sailing over the fence in left field.

“I saw it coming a little inside but not too far inside, I think I had two strikes on me. I saw the pitch I liked, drove it,” Greaney said. “I wasn’t thinking hit a home run I was just thinking, again, put the ball in play. And it just, a lot of the time, it just happened to go over.”

Greaney tied a North Penn single-second record for home runs with the three-run shot, which capped a four-run third for the fourth-seeded Knights, who bounced back from their semifinal loss to end the District 1-6A tournament with a 5-3 victory over the visiting No. 15 Jaguars in the third place game.

“A lot of times, losing, we view it as it’s not a positive thing, but we take it positively,” Greaney said. “We learn from our mistakes and we knew we didn’t come out with enough energy last time and so this time we really came out and did our stuff.”

Greaney started Thursday with an RBI double in the first as she went 2-for-2 with four RBIs as North Penn (19-5) built a 5-0 lead then held off Garnet Valley (16-9) after the Jags plated three runs in the top of the sixth.

“Amanda has seven home runs with 23 RBIs, 17 walks — nine of them are intentional — and she didn’t make any all (conference) team, not even honorable mention. And that’s a disgrace. That kid worked very hard this year and did an outstanding job for this team,” North Penn coach Rick Torresani said. “And she handled a freshman pitcher — amazingly. So for her not even make honorable mention when she made second team as a freshman is just plain ridiculous.”

North Penn’s third-place finish earns it a matchup with District 12 champ Saint Hubert in the first round of the PIAA Tournament 1:30 p.m. Monday at Arcadia University. The Knights are making their first state appearance since 2014.

North Penn’s Courtney Neal slides into home for a run during the District 1-6A third place game against Garnet Valley on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Victoria Juckniewitz was 2-for-3 with a run scored while starting pitcher Mady Volpe struck out nine in a complete-game win for North Penn, which bounced back from getting shut out for the first time this season in Tuesday’s 1-0 semifinal loss to Central Bucks South.

 “There’s always a letdown. When you lose 1-0 to South and they were still upset about the play at the plate for that was called out-safe-out. They were down yesterday,” Torresani said. “This shows their character by coming back and scoring five runs and then making sure they didn’t lose this game. So, it’s a lot of great effort, good senior leadership.”

For Greaney, her seven home runs this year ties her with Stephanie Kulp, a North Penn assistant coach, for the school mark.

“I don’t think about hitting the home runs. My goal for the whole season is just get to states and then just build off of that,” Greaney said. “And if the home run record comes in the meantime, then it just does.”

Lindsey Hunt provided Garnet Valley with all of its runs with her three-run home run to center with no outs in the sixth. But after a one-out single by Annie Bechtold, Volpe retire the next five Jaguars — striking out the side in the seventh.

“We have a young team and when we’re down, it seems like the energy goes away a little bit,” Garnet Valley coach George White said. “And we just talked to them now after the game about we got to keep that energy up and throughout the whole game. We kept battling, they hit a nice three-run homer there to put them up 5-0 but I felt we were still in the game.

“Becca (Halford) pitched her butt off, she did a great job and then we battled back. We got a couple runners on, Lindsey hit a bomb and we’re right back in it. But too many strikeouts.”

Winning its first three district games — including upsets of No. 2 Spring-Ford and No. 7 Downingtown West — earned Garnet Valley its first PIAA berth since 2008. As District 1’s fourth seed, the Jaguars face District 2/4 subregion champ Hazleton 2 p.m. Monday at Wilkes University.

“We’ve gone further than a lot of people expected — other than the coaching staff. We thought we had a good squad,” White said. “But, yeah, we’re going to come back out Monday and be ready to go.”

North Penn’s Gianna Costello dives back to second as Garnet Valley’s Kelly McLauglin reaches to put on the tag during the District 1-6A third place game on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Volpe, who took the loss against CB South despite taking a no-hitter into the sixth, picked up the win in the circle Thursday, allowing three runs — all earned — on three hits and three walks.

“My changeup was working really well, my curveball was working — my backdoor curve,” said Volpe, who also collected her first hit of the season with a single in the fourth. “And just anything that Coach Torresani calls is just working. I know he always knows what I need to throw and stuff.”

Garnet Valley starting pitcher Halford took the loss, giving up five runs — all earned — one seven hits in six innings. The right-hander walked one, hit one batter and struck out three.

Volpe worked out of an early jam after Morgan Mesaros’ double to left center put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the first. But the freshman righty struck out the next batter and proceeded to not allow another baserunner until Halford’s one-out walk in the fifth.

“I just was not feeling the strike zone at all early on,” Volpe said. “I wasn’t really hitting my spots that well but then I came back and I just did my job.”

Juckniewitz started the bottom of the first with a single and scored to make it 1-0 Knights on Greaney’s one-out opposite-field double to right.

North Penn scored its final four runs in the third. Courtney Neal led off by getting hit by a pitch and after a Juckniewitz single, Neal scored on Groarke’s RBI single up the middle. On the next at-bat, Greaney belted her three-run homer and the Knights for a 5-0 advantage.

Garnet Valley made things a little interesting in the top of the sixth. Diane Torregrossa began the inning with a walk while Kelly McLaughlin singled to left. With two on and no outs, Hunt blasted a three-run home run to center to pull the Jags to within 5-3.

“Well, she’s a good hitter, Lindsey Hunt — I play with her, she’s a really good player. But I missed my spot bad,” Volpe said.

Bechtold collected a one-out single to left but Volpe shut down the Jags’ rally with a strikeout and a pop out to first in foul territory. Volpe sealed the win with three straight strikeouts in the seventh.

North Penn 5, Garnet Valley 3
Garnet Valley    000 003 0 — 3 3 0
North Penn        104 000 x — 5 7 0
WP: Mady Volpe 7 IP 3 H 3 R 3 ER 3 BB 9 SO.
LP: Becca Halford 6 IP 7 H 5 R 5 ER 1 BB 3 SO 1 HB.
2B: GV-Morgan Mesaors; NP-Amanda Greaney, Jordan Pietrzykoski; HR: GV-Lindsey Hunt; NP-Greaney.
Garnet Valley: Hunt 1-3, 3 RBI, R.
North Penn: Greaney 2-2, 3 RBI, R; Victoria Juckniewitz 2-3, R.

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