Error lifts W.C. East past Tennent

WEST GOSHEN — The hit wasn’t the one Maddy Iswalt expected when she came up with a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning of a tie game for West Chester East.

The ball traveled slowly to third base, a seemingly easy play for William Tennent third baseman Jocelyn Flores to field it and throw Iswalt out at first.

The play was anything but easy, as Flores bobbled the ball when attempting to field it, which allowed Iswalt a puncher’s chance to beat the throw at first.

That’s what Iswalt did, getting the job done on a ground ball and taking advantage of a golden opportunity.

“I thought the ball could have been hit better,’ Iswalt said. “As long as I put the ball in play, something good can happen. Once that run scored, I was ecstatic.’

Flores’ error at third allowed Iswalt to beat the throw to first, which scored Kyra Bond from third for the eventual winning run as No. 7 West Chester East defeated No. 23 William Tennent 3-2 in a District 1 Class AAAA second round game on an unseasonably windy Wednesday afternoon at West Chester East High School.

The win sent the Vikings (16-4) to the district quarterfinals against No. 2 Perkiomen Valley, an 8-6 winner over No. 15 Hatboro-Horsham, Friday, 4 p.m., at Perkiomen Valley High School. The Panthers (8-12) were eliminated from the tournament with the loss.

Playing on a hard field in windy conditions played to East’s advantage as the Vikings attempted to generate runs on ground balls. With East struggling to get runners on base throughout the afternoon, the plan didn’t come into fruition until the bottom of the sixth.

“I wanted the girls to hit the ball hard and hit it on the ground with this field,’ said East coach Chuck Lindsay. “We finally were able to execute that in the sixth. We hit the ball hard and forced the other team to make plays.’

Bond got the inning started with a ground ball in the hole between shortstop and third base. Flores fired a perfect throw to first, but first baseman Liz Marucci bobbled the catch which allowed Bond to reach base safely.

Kristen Fuentes sacrificed Bond over to second for the first out. Pinch-hitter Julia Bennett grounded out to second, which moved Bond over to third.

With Bond at third and two outs, the stage was set for Iswalt. She did what Lindsay preached to the Vikings all game: hit the ball hard and hit it on the ground.

“Once the third baseman bobbled the ball, I was happy to beat the throw because we scored the run,’ Iswalt said. “I knew we were ahead then and was happy I could provide that hit for my team.’

As East come into the seventh with a 3-2 lead, starting pitcher Olivia Rogers was set to keep it that way. Like most of the afternoon, Rogers received help from her defense.

After leadoff hitter Reilly Dougherty got to first with a single, East catcher Dani Latare threw out Dougherty as she attempted to steal second. The throw was behind shortstop Leah Ritchey, but she was able to catch the ball and apply the tag for the first out.

That play was one of several great defensive plays Ritchey made in the game. In the top of the fifth with the game tied 2-2 and Marissa Govan on second with two outs, Ritchey backhanded a hard-hit ball between shortstop and third and fired the throw to first for the third out, ultimately saving a run.

“You just have to watch the ball and make the play when it happens,’ Ritchey said. “You can’t think about anything else. It was awesome to be able to contribute to the win.’

Rogers got Stef Rossin to ground out to second for the second out. Sara Keeny reached first on an error by Iswalt at second base, East’s third of the game, and stole second to put the tying run in scoring position.

With Govan up representing the winning run, Rogers gave Iswalt another chance. This time, she fielded the slow grounder cleanly and got the out at first, which sent the Vikings to the district quarterfinals.

Rogers pitched out of jams in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings and came through two of them unscathed, which was enough to end William Tennant’s season. She threw a complete game, allowed seven hits, one earned run and struck out five on 105 pitches.

“With the field as hard as it was, it’s tough to keep the ball down which I prefer to do,’ Rogers said. “There were errors on both sides today. Despite the errors, that’s what got us on top. I’m super proud of my teammates because they stepped up today and all season for that matter. Our hard work is paying off.’


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