Upper Merion clinches share of SOL American title

UPPER MERION — The Upper Merion softball team wasn’t full strength and hasn’t gotten much rest lately, but that didn’t stop the Vikings from clinching a share of the Suburban One League American Conference title Wednesday afternoon.

Behind an 11-strikeout performance from pitcher Olivia Sborlini, the Vikings knocked off Upper Moreland, 4-1, with a pair of starters injured and playing their third game in as many days.

Sborlini pitched the entire game and allowed just one run — unearned — against the Bears. She didn’t walk a single batter and allowed seven hits to go with her 11 strikeouts.

“She was pretty much dominant,’ manager John Whitney said. “She was hitting her spots. (Upper Moreland’s) kids are tough.’

The Vikings (13-2, 11-0) were without their starting centerfielder — Abby Volpe — and shortstop — Allie Moffett — when they knocked off one of the better teams in the SOL American Conference.

“We lost our four and five-hole hitters,’ Whitney said. “It’s tough, but we’ve got some good kids coming in… 4-1 I’ll take.’

Due to Sborlini’s brilliance on the mound, four runs was enough for Upper Merion.

The scoring got started in the first inning. Dezerea Kandy doubled in the bottom of the first and scored on Micaela Ghanayem’s single two batters later. Danielle Deskiewicz was the courtesy runner for Ghanayem (catcher) and scored on an error later in the inning.

The Vikings other runs came in the second and fourth innings. Danielle Antonucci walked with one out in the second and reached second on a fielder’s choice. She got to third and scored on wild pitches. In the fourth, Alyssa Adinolfi walked to leadoff the inning and stole second. Molly Tancini singled her to third and she scored on Kandy’s RBI single.

The Vikings had a chance for two more runs in the second. With runners on second and third and two outs, Ghanayem hit a ball to the shortstop’s left. Kandy, on second, was ruled to have interfered with the shortstop’s ability to field the ball and was called out.

The Bears (7-5, 6-4) starting pitcher did a good job against Upper Merion’s lineup. Brianna Byard threw six innings and allowed four hits and four runs. She struck out two and walked five.

Upper Moreland’s only run came in the top of the third inning. Byard singled to lead off the inning and went first-to-third on an error. She scored on Maddie Mull’s sacrifice fly.

This game came on the Vikings third straight day playing and is in the middle of a six-day stretch where they will play five games.

“We played four last week, five this week and three next week,’ Whitney said. “The only thing that’s been tough on (the girls) is that they’ve been missing the same class in school. They get upset with that… As in playing ball and all that… they like playing. Sometimes you get in a good rhythm, too, playing a lot.’

The Vikings can clinch the league title for themselves Thursday against Upper Dublin.

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