MORRISVILLE – Morrisville went into their opening round District I Class A playoff contest facing an uphill battle.
Prior to a home date with Faith Christian Academy Friday afternoon, May 22, the Lady Bulldogs found out they would be without the services of pitcher Maggie Colon. After starting the entire season, the senior was ineligible for Morrisville’s first two playoff games for an undisclosed reason.
Add to that the absence of fellow senior and first baseman Sidney Knott, who went down with a knee injury in the final week of the regular season, and two key starters were out of an already thin lineup.
With only 11 available players, one of whom was also battling an injury, fourth-seeded Morrisville took the field needing a win to avoid elimination. Ultimately, the missing pieces were too much for the Bulldogs to overcome, but even in a 21-5 loss that ended their year, coach Lisa Colon was proud of the fight that her team showed.
“That’s all I’ve ever asked them. Don’t quit on me,” she said. “They will leave this field better softball players than when they walked on.”
Without Maggie Colon, the Bulldogs had to rely on their normal starting catcher, Delila Moore, to handle the pitching duties. She started by escaping a threatening first inning without giving up a run, and even drove in Morrisville’s opening tally off a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame, but mistakes eventually caught up with her. She walked seven batters in her two innings of work, and in the top of the second, the Lions scored six runs on three hits. Four wild pitches, three of which allowed runs to score, plus a run-costing error and three pass balls charged to catcher Kayla Romanek, were the main causes of the damage.
“It was tough, but then again, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be,” Mena said.
Normally the starting second baseman, Romanek was moved to pitch in the top of the third. She gave up seven runs over the next three innings, only three of which were driven in by Faith Christian batters.
With the score 13-2 and the end of the season looming, Morrisville kept themselves alive with a one-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. Hits by Demeria Jones and Bre Howard started the threat, which Romanek continued with a RBI hit. Then during second baseman De’shira Jones’ at-bat, a passed ball brought Demeria Jones home, and a throwing error on the play allowed Howard to score, as well.
“I was kind of surprised because my arm hurts today,” said Demeria Jones, who went 3-for-4 and started at first base in Knott’s absence, about her performance. “We pulled through since we didn’t have our pitcher. We had a great game.”
Any hopes of a comeback, though, came to an end in the sixth inning, when the Lions first three batters reached base against Romanek. She was then pulled for shortstop Denise Sacco, who yielded an eight-run frame because of a pass ball, wild pitch, two errors and three hits, two of which didn’t leave the infield. Faith Christian pitcher Martina McCauley went on to finish off the Bulldogs to wrap up a complete game and the Lions first playoff win in school history.
Morrisville’s season ended at 10-9 overall and 8-5 in the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL), while Faith Christian advanced to play top-seeded Friends Central in the semifinals May 26. The Lions also avenged two earlier, double-digit losses to the Bulldogs with the victory.
Yet even with those negatives, Morrisville’s players left their field for the final time with their heads up.
“Honestly, I think that’s what the season’s been,” Mena said about facing challenges. “It’s not always about winning. It’s showing you have fight.
The Bulldogs other run came in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by right fielder Shanice Snead, who had not seen much action this year but got to start due to the missing players. Howard, who went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, additionally had a big day.
“I honestly don’t think it was tough at all because we have a lot of utility players,” Mena said of filling in for the missing starters. “I’m proud of the girls.”
Seven of the nine starters against Faith Christian, including Demeria Jones, Howard, Romanek, Snead and Sacco, will be returning next season. That will give the Morrisville a solid foundation to build on while trying to replace seniors Colon, De’Shira Jones, Knott and Mena. If healthy, Knott will play field hockey at Delaware’s Wesley College, while Mena plans to play softball and basketball, but has yet to choose a school.
“Right now, I feel like I enjoyed the ride,” said Mena, a four-year starter for Morrisville. “I enjoyed every second of it.”