Viscusi the winner in friendly rivalry with Wimmer

UPPER CHICHESTER — They’re arguably the best pitchers in Delaware County, so when they meet on the softball field, it’s a must-see event.

Episcopal Academy’s Alex Viscusi and Chichester’s Meghan Wimmer are both excellent students, both All-Delcos and both going to prestigious Ivy League institutions in the fall. Viscusi is going to Princeton and Wimmer is headed to Brown, so there’s an extremely good chance they’ll meet a few times in college.

As longtime members of the Chaos softball organization, Viscusi and Wimmer know each other quite well. Only in the last year-plus, though, have they been on the same team together, the Gold club.

“We’ve been in the same organization for a while. When I was playing 10s, she was playing 12s,’ said Viscusi, an Aston resident. “It’s crazy to think it’s only been a couple years of playing together because I’ve known her for so long.’

Leading up to Tuesday’s nonleague game, which served as Chichester’s senior day, Wimmer and Viscusi spoke briefly about the highly anticipated showdown at Chaos practice.

There was no lighthearted trash-talking between the aces. They treated the battle of Delco softball heavyweights like business between good friends.

“Me and Alex aren’t really like that,’ Wimmer said. “We like to see each other succeed, because we are teammates 99 percent of the time. So, the trash-talking, that’s not us.’

Episcopal Academy’s bats put a three-spot on the scoreboard in the first inning, and Viscusi did her thing in the circle, stymying the Chichester hitters most of the way. Viscusi and the Churchwomen earned an 8-3 victory to hand Wimmer and the Eagles their first defeat of 2015.

Viscusi roped an RBI single to center and kept running until she crossed home, scoring on a three-base error. Nina Pagano and Arianna Feliziani were the tablesetters, reaching base via walk and single, to set up the first of Viscusi’s two bullets to the outfield.

“I felt like the first inning it showed that we’re not used to playing these really good teams,’ said Wimmer, who allowed eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits with seven strikeouts. She was 2-for-4 with two singles, two runs scored and an RBI against Viscusi. “This is just a learning experience, to prepare us against other good teams like St. Hubert on Friday and Villa (Maria) and Garnet Valley coming up.’

Holding a 5-1 lead in the fifth, Viscusi led off the frame with a bomb to left field for a standup triple. She displayed her great instincts and athleticism on the next play when Taylor Long hit a popup to first baseman Haley Coale, who made a nifty sliding grab. But Viscusi immediately tagged up from third, sprinted down the third-base line and evaded the tag of catcher Nicole O’Donnell.

iscusi did it all Tuesday.

“Alex Viscusi is by far the best player I’ve ever coached against,’ Chi coach Jamie Blumenthal said. “Not only softball player, she’s just an athletic machine.’

Viscusi never shies from showering praise to the other team. Despite a five-run victory, had nothing but positives to say about Chi’s best players.

“Their catcher, Nicole (O’Donnell), she used to play for Chaos and is definitely one of their better hitters. Behind the plate, her and Meghan work very well together,’ Viscusi said. “Maddie Thornton, she’s just an athlete. I played soccer with her when I was younger and she is going to college for basketball, but she’s out here playing softball and is great. Shortstop Alex (Maher), she’s a good player. … I think they have a very strong team.’

Long, another Chaos kid who played stellar defense at shortstop, singled, and scored and knocked in a run, believes defeating a team of Chichester’s ilk was exactly what the Churchwomen (18-2) needed as they prepare for the stretch run of their Inter-Ac League season.

“Me and Alex, especially, know how good (Wimmer) is. I think the hardest part was getting the rest of the lineup ready for what she was going to throw,’ said Long, who will play at Franklin & Marshall next spring. “It was hard getting the rest of the team aware of just how big a game it actually was. They all came out here and played great.’Chi had the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth. Viscusi appeared to have hurt her hand throwing a curveball, but after a brief delay, shook off pain and retired the next three batters she faced without allowing a run. In the seventh, O’Donnell hit an infield RBI single and Haley Coale blasted a run-scoring triple to the gap to get the Eagles (14-1) within five runs, but Viscusi ended the game by notching her eighth strikeout.

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