Kennett bashes 11 hits as the Blue Demons deny W.C. Rustin of clinching Ches-Mont American

KENNETT SQUARE — Kennett and Rustin each had something to play for when they took the field Monday afternoon in a huge Ches-Mont American Division matchup.

A win for the Golden Knights, combined with a Great Valley loss would have meant a division championship.

For the Blue Demons, even though their chances at a three-peat as division champs was no longer possible, remained on the bubble for a chance to extend its season into districts.

Thanks to opportunistic hitting from Kennett, and some difficulties in the field by Rustin, the Blue Demons kept their District 1 Class AAAA playoff hopes alive with a 10-5 victory, and forced the Golden Knights to keep a cork in the championship celebrations for at least one more game.

“I’m not going to sit here and predict that we could make a run in districts,’ said Kennett coach Kevin Reigel. “But I sure would love to see us get to play at least one game after the regular season is over. Compared to earlier in the season, we’re playing good ball right now, and have had some nice wins over teams above us in the power rankings. I’d just like to see what we could do.’

The Knights came out of the gate firing, pushing a pair across in the top half of the first. Anna Steinmetz led off the inning with a double to right that just missed clearing the high fence, hitting just above the “174-foot’ sign.

Caela Abadie followed, and reached when a throw went into right field, allowing Steinmetz to score.

That would be the last error the Blue Demons would make all day.

With one out, Lexi Wright put Rustin up 2-0, stroking a single to left to score Abadie.

Kennett answered right back with three of its own in the bottom half of the inning. After Sara Oscar was hit by a pitch, the first of two times plunked on the day, Cali Beeson reached on an error.

Kylie Harvey made it bases loaded for Chloe Chapman when she worked a walk, one of four free passes earned by Harvey. Chapman (3-for-3, run, two RBI’s) got Oscar home with a sac fly to center.

Jamie Wessels (1-for-4, stolen base, two RBI’s) followed with an RBI groundout, and pitcher Madison Bowe helped her own cause, bringing Chapman home with a single to right.

“It was frustrating not getting a real chance to hit,’ said Harvey, who also chipped in with her stellar centefield play. “But it did allow me to score twice, so I guess it goes to show that a walk really is as good as a hit.’

After adding a run in the third when Myia Bonifacino reached on an error and eventually scored after getting out of a run down between home and third, the Blue Demons put the game out of reach with a six-run fourth on four singles, two hit batters, a sac fly from Beeson, and two Rustin errors.

“Five walks, three hit by pitch, and five errors,’ said Rustin coach Bruce Dudley. “You can’t win games like that. I think they only had five earned runs. Who knows what might have been different at 5-4 instead of 10-4. But we’re still up two games, with three to play. We’ve just got to get back to playing the way we can.’

Steinmetz and Abadie once again came through for Rustin in the seventh, with Steinmetz reaching on a single and Abadie crushing a line drive that just cleared the left field fence for a two-run homer to make it the 10-4 score that wound up as the final.

With Avon Grove’s win over Great Valley Monday, Rustin has clinched at least a tie for the division, and can clinch it with one more win.

Kennett, meanwhile, sits at No. 30 in the power rankings, and a win over the Knights can only boost their chances for a slot in the District 1 tournament.

“We knew coming in that Rustin was a good team, especially the top of their order (Steinmetz and Abadie),’ said Bonifacino. “But we’ve been working hard at staying off the high stuff and just trying to put the ball in play. We’re all playing hard in the second half, and I think we all want to keep the season going a little longer.’

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