ATGLEN — So far on the young season, Bishop Shanahan coach Ron Savastio has been able to count on one thing from his young Eagles team.
They are going to swing the bat.
After putting up double-digit runs in a loss to Henderson in its last game, the Eagles came out firing again when they squared off against Octorara on the road Monday afternoon. Shanahan (1-2 overall) pushed across five runs on four hits in the first two innings, then cruised to a 7-2 win over the host Braves (0-1 overall).
“Twelve runs against Henderson, and another seven today,’ said Savastio. “That’s one of the things I like about this team, with four freshmen starting, is that they are all going to come out swinging and we’re scoring runs. We’ve got some speed this year, too. We’ve just got to cut down on mistakes.’
The top of the order kicked things off in a big way, stringing together three straight singles from Rachel Burkey, Casey McAllister and starting pitcher Nikki Keefe. Helped along by a pair of Braves errors, all three came in to score.
Shanahan added another pair of unearned runs in the second. Jen Kempinski reached on an error to lead off the second, and promptly stole second base. A sacrifice bunt from Kailee Swope moved Kempinski to third, and Burkey brought her home on a hard shot back at Braves’ pitcher Janae Cummings that ricocheted off of her leg and dribbled over to first. Burkey swiped second, and came around to score when a throw to first sailed wide.
“Janae really didn’t pitch badly,’ said Octorara coach John Cummings. “But you can’t make that many errors. We really shot ourselves in the foot a lot today.’
The Braves brought in Jenny Coyle in relief in the top of the second. Mary Dearing greeted the new hurler by launching a ball deep to center, well past the Octorara outfield.
“I’m not sure what the pitch was other than it was right down the middle,’ said Dearing. “But I knew as soon as I made contact that I got a good swing on it. I knew it was going to be far enough for a home run.’
Despite the lack of a gracious welcome, Coyle really settled in after the homer, allowing just one unearned run on two hits the rest of the way.
“We know Jenny can pitch like that,’ said Cummings. “We just have to find a way to give her some support.’
Keefe, meanwhile, was solid from start to finish, with only Octorara lead-off hitter Marian Gallagher figuring her out. The speedy Gallagher accounted for three of the Braves’ five hits on the afternoon, and two of those were by beating out bunts.
“My drop was working pretty well today,’ said Keefe, who earned the complete game victory by allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking none. “And Kate (Newton) did a great job calling pitches. It just feels really good to get the first win out of the way.’