LOWER GWYNEDD >> Pennridge’s Grace McGinley was looking to provide her team a boost, and that boost sailed high over the left-field fence.
“I just wanted to up the energy on my team,” the clean-up batter said of her solo home run in the fifth, tilting momentum and control back to the Rams. “Coming out, our first real game, I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to show the young girls, ‘go out and give it your all.’
“I just got a hold of that one.”
The junior’s timely homer and three RBI-performance helped send Pennridge to a 9-3 opening-day win over Gwynedd Mercy in a windy non-league contest at GMA Thursday afternoon.
The Rams, getting RBI singles from Kiely Watson and Sam Harty, bolted to a 4-0 lead in the second off Monarch starter Gabbie Salamone, and after Gwynedd dented the scoreboard in the fourth on a sac fly by Alyssa Slovenski, McGinley provided the big shot in the fifth, making it 5-1 and sending Pennridge on its way.
“It was really big for us,” McGinley said of the fast start. “Coming into this, we said ‘let’s get a jump on them early’ and I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
Also key for the Rams was the poise and control by junior left hander Meghan Bauer, who — in a much bigger role this spring — came out and threw three perfect innings to start things off.
“She pitched a little bit last year — didn’t get a lot of time on the mound, and this year she’s been a key,” Rams first-year coach Carol Atkinson said.
Said McGinley, who has caught for the lefty since they were kids: “We’re confident with Meghan in the circle.”
Bauer limited GMA to just two hits while striking out eight and walking just two, with one hit batter. Errors by both teams led to additional runs as the defenses continue to settle in.
An RBI single by McGinley was part of a three-run sixth for the Rams, helping to stretch the margin to 8-1, and then Gwynedd sliced the margin back down to 8-3 on a two-run double by Salamone.
“We try to stay up and try to not get down on ourselves as a team,” Salamone said. “After this game, we’re gonna reflect on what we did wrong but we’ll come right back for our next game.”
A single by Pennridge reserve Krista Yerk plated the final run of the contest in the seventh.
The Monarchs hit the road Tuesday for a 3:45 game at rival Villa Joseph Marie while the Rams host non-league foe Christopher Dock.