WHITEMARSH >> Springfield-Montco pitcher Hannah Sebenick picked a big game to start using her changeup. She debuted the off-speed pitch in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs.
It was a good decision.
The junior pitcher threw a complete game to lead the District 1 champion Spartans over District 12 champion Masterman, 6-1, Tuesday afternoon at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.
“I’ve been working on (the changeup) for a really long time,” she said. “We thought it was time to put it in.”
Sebenick struck out 14 batters to four walks and allowed just three hits over seven innings.
“She keeps us in every game,” Springfield coach Joshua Ringgold said. “If she’s pitching like that, we’re hard to beat. Once again she pitched well today. She’s been pitching well for the last couple weeks.”
Sebenick’s counterpart — Masterman pitcher Sasha Brehouse — was nearly as impressive. Brehouse struck out 15 batters over six innings to go with three hits and eight walks.
“I’m super competitive,” Sebenick said of Brehouse bringing out her best. “I like knowing stats and all that. I really focus on doing my best and being the best.”
The Spartans offense took advantage of the eight walks and some errors by the Blue Dragons defense.
Springfield tied the game at one in the bottom of the third inning when MK Smith reached on an error, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored when the throw to third got away.
The District 1 champs took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Makayla Quinn led off with a walk and moved to second on a Sidney Zimmerman bunt. She advanced to third and scored on two wild pitches.
The game was blown open in the fifth. Gabby Gaskin and Sebenick worked back-to-back one-out walks. Kate Cannon followed with an RBI single — the Spartans first hit of the game — to make it 3-1 and Zimmerman grounded into an error to score Ally Hastings, the courtesy runner for Sebenick, and Cannon to add two more runs.
“Honestly, I will take anything that comes our way,” Sebenick said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re getting runs on walks — it just means we had a good at-bat. If we had an error it just means we were heads up on the play. I think we did well. We can definitely do better one-hundred percent, but we did well today.”
“I just try to preach quality at-bats,” Ringgold said. “They were chasing a lot of high pitches. At some point I just said get the bat on the ball. We were able to get a couple timely hits to score some runs and get a couple bunts down when we needed to. A girl like that (Brehouse), you need to get the ball out in front.”
Sebenick knocked in the final run of the game with a single to score Kate Wojeck in the sixth inning.
The state playoff win is Springfield’s first since 1994.
“It’s a great job,” Ringgold said. “I mean, I’m not happy with the way we played, but we were still able to get the job done.”
The Spartans will face District 2 champion Holy Redeemer in the quarterfinals Thursday at Parkland High School at 6 p.m.
Masterman took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Zoe Millstein worked a leadoff walk and scored with two outs on a Brehouse single.