Jensen’s walk-off single in 8th sends St. Basil past Palmerton in PIAA AA 1st round

WHITEMARSH — The St. Basil Academy softball team waited and waited.

The Panthers’ PIAA Class AA first-round tilt with Palmerton was originally scheduled to be played Monday afternoon then was postponed until Tuesday afternoon before ultimately being played Wednesday at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

“The anticipation grew day by day,’ St Basil ace pitcher Nichole Eberhard said. “(The feeling was) ‘ I want to play, I want to play, I want to play,’ and finally it got here. I never wanted to play so bad in my life.’

The wait was well worth it. In fact, the Panthers even got to play a little extra ball as it was not until the bottom of the eighth inning that a runner was finally scored in the contest. Freshman shortstop Carly Jensen hit an RBI single to left field to plate Myranda Gormley for the only run, lifting St. Basil to the 1-0 walk-off win of the District 11 champ.

Going into the game, the Panthers probably knew there were not going to need many runs to advance to the quarters. The reason was Eberhard. The senior has pitched in big spot after big spot and big game after big game for District 1 champion St. Basil. And more often than not, she is there to slam the door shut on the opposition with freaky frequency.

Just by looking at the numbers of Eberhard’s performance there is nothing on paper suggesting she had a particularly dominating game. The right-hander had four strike outs and scattered six hits allowing two walks. The numbers, however, simply do not do Eberhard justice as her performance was nothing short of brilliant, keeping the Blue Bombers offense off balance all day long and working out of jams when she got in them.

“I thought today was one of the best games she’s ever pitched,’ St. Basil coach Steve Sonnenborn said. “She didn’t have a lot of strike outs but every time they put the pressure on us she came through.’

One of the largest pickles Eberhard worked her way out of came in the top of the sixth inning. Reese Dugan started the frame with a ground out to second base. The next two hitters reached safely on back-to-back singles, however the next batter hit into a 4-3 double play.

The inning pretty much epitomized the day defensively for the Panthers, namely because second baseman Abby Carter was responsible for all the outs. Carter was hands down the best fielder for St. Basil Wednesday afternoon. She made play after play — from the routine to the difficult — and was responsible for eight outs on day, a third of the outs recorded for the Panthers.

“Anytime their hitting the ball to Abby we’re happy,’ Sonneborn said. “She is so solid there. We’re so use to her making every play because she is that good.’

After an anxiety-filled couple of days early in the week waiting for game today the Panthers likely won’t have to worry about that again as they only have to wait one day for next game as its set to take District 3 runner-up Kutztown Thursday. Kutztown defeated Conwell-Egan 1-0 Wednesday at Arcadia University.

“We got to enjoy this today and come out tomorrow with our heads held high and just do what we did today and I think we’ll come out on top again,’ Eberhard said.

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