PHILADELPHIA >> Beginning last year, Delaware County’s Carpenter Cup softball franchise expanded to two brands.
When another regional team dropped out of the Carpenter Cup Classic, the Delaware County operation volunteered to fill the vacancy. The idea was a logical one, as there are enough players who try out every year, many who have to be told they did not make the team. Having a second squad in the tournament solved this problem.
They were titled Delco East and Delco West, despite some questionable geography. For instance, players from Haverford and Ridley were on both rosters. But who’s counting?
Unfortunately, having two Delco teams hasn’t yielded much success. This year Delco East and Delco West each finished with one win and two losses.
“It got harder as the day went on,” said Delco West catcher Lexie Witmer, an All-Delco at Upper Darby. “Some of the girls don’t know what it’s like to play long days in a tournament. You have to be prepared. It’s a game, then you have a break, then a game and a break again. It stinks. We tried our best and we had chances.”
Ultimately, the Carpenter Cup is not about the wins or losses. It’s meant to expose players to college coaches in attendance. And having two Delco teams gives many players who may have been cut the opportunity to play and get noticed.
So even though the whole Delco East/West experiment hasn’t produced a lot of winning softball, at least there are no issues of playing time.
Everyone wearing a jersey has a chance to shine.
Tuesday at FDR Park, Delco West suffered a 3-2 loss in its morning game against the Inter-Ac/Bicentennial League. They stormed back to blow out the Catholic League, 8-0, before falling 3-2 to Delaware North in the third game.
“It’s a good experience,” said Springfield’s Caitlin Chambers, who came off the bench to play second base in the loss to Delaware North and was 1-for-1 at the plate.“Most of us know each other from school and tournament teams. This was my second year, and it’s a lot easier the second year because you already know what’s happening and what to expect.”
Ali Murphy, a Haverford All-Delco, was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Her sacrifice fly in the third inning gave Delco West a 1-0 advantage over Delaware North. In that inning Delco had its best chance to put a crooked number on the scoreboard. Camryn Young of Upper Darby led off with a single, Garnet Valley’s Audrey Shenk coaxed a walk, and Springfield’s Jenna Casasanto reached on a bunt single.
Following Murphy’s sacrifice fly to right field, Diane Torregrossa popped out to shortstop and Witmer lined out to second, robbed of an RBI hit thanks to a diving catch by Delaware North’s Courtney Paolantonio.
“It’s hard to try and win an elimination game when you’re tied 1-1,” Witmer said. “We had our opportunities at bat, but just couldn’t capitalize.”
While its hitting was up and down, Delco West received strong pitching outings throughout the day from Rebecca Sorrentino of Upper Darby, Casasanto, and Becca Halford of Garnet Valley.
“They pitched all day and pitched amazing,” Witmer said.
In the loss to Delaware North, Sorrentino started and threw four scoreless frames. She worked around four singles
thanks in large part to an infield defense that turned a pair of double plays. In the first inning, Torregrossa turned a 6-3 twin-killing, then Casasanto caught a line drive at second base and doubled up a runner on first to end the second inning.
Delco West held a 1-0 lead until the top of the fifth. Annie Penrod doubled and scored on a throwing error by Witmer, who tried to nab Penrod dancing off second base. The ball deflected off the base and trickled into no-man’s land in center field, enabling Penrod to race all the way home to tie the game, 1-1.
Delaware North went ahead on an RBI triple by Claire Henry in the sixth, scoring Jenna McDermott, who reached base on an error. The winners tacked on a third run in the top of the seventh.
Delco West cut its deficit to 3-2 on a bizarre play with two outs in the seventh. Murphy hit a pop between first base and home. The ball dropped on the line and stayed in fair territory. Somehow, Abby Layden of Marple Newtown was able to sprint all the way home from second base. Torregrossa then hit a hard grounder to shortstop for the third out.
Inter-Ac/Bicentennial won two of three games to advance to Wednesday, including a 3-2 decision over Delco West. The only players representing Delaware County schools are Belle Volatile of Episcopal Academy and Delco Christian’s Erin Mulholland.
In an 11-1 victory over Olympic Colonial, Muholland was 1-for-1 with two RBIs. The team will play at 3 p.m. Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.
The Catholic League went 0-2, losing to Delco West 8-0 and Olympic Colonial 8-6. Cardinal O’Hara’s Jenna Smith was 2-for-2 with four RBIs, and fellow Lions Lexi Galli and Julia Kush each chipped in with a single and run scored.