FAIRLESS HILLS – Visiting Archbishop Wood entered its May 5 matchup with Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) on a six-game win streak in the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL).
However, none of the Lady Vikings’ league wins thus far were bigger than yesterday’s 6-5 triumph over the Lady Eagles.
“This was a huge win – for our whole school, for our program,” stated Wood head coach Kevin Rosini about a Vikings team coming off a 6-6 season in 2015 and a loss in its first postseason game to Lansdale Catholic. “We’re trying to build something here and this has been a solid team for years and years and years.
“For us to come in here today and win this game on the road – when we’ve had all this rain and haven’t played in a week, I’d call this the biggest win of the season.”
Wood pounded out nine hits in the contest off CEC senior righthander Alexis Gartner, who suffered the loss. Five errors by the Eagles led to all six runs by the Vikings going unearned in the cross-county duel.
“We’ve been working hard on our hitting and we’re getting better,” said Rosini. “I still think there’s room for improvement but when you’re putting the ball in play all the time, and we’re working ahead in the count, now, the pitcher’s forced to give us a pitch that we want to hit and we’re making the most of it.”
Wood started strong in this one, with three runs in the top of the first inning on singles by center fielder Taylor Carter, DP Gianna Lancelotti, pitcher Marisa Browne (2-for-4) and shortstop Katie Barrett.
Leading the way to the Vikings seventh straight win against a Catholic League foe was Barrett, a 3-year varsity senior who hit 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
“We’ve been doing better with our hitting and she was pretty easy to time up, for everybody, it seemed like,” said Barrett. “We were all getting hits today.
“We’ve gotten a lot better as the season has gone on. In the beginning, we weren’t really hitting too well.
“Now, with a lot of practice, it’s easier to time up with the pitchers and get used to their speed and where they’re placing the ball.”
Defensively, Barrett, a player with over a decade’s worth of experience on the softball diamond, made five putouts with no errors.
“Having her there at shortstop helps keep the team together. She’s a key player,” said Browne, of Barrett. “She gets things going when the hits are slow in coming.”
Browne, meanwhile, tossed a complete game for the win. A recent transfer student from Saint Basil’s, the sophomore righthander for Wood struck out four batters without walking a single one.
“Marisa has pretty much been carrying this team,” said Barrett, of Browne. “She’s amazing.
“I honestly don’t know where we’d be without her. She’s just been great.”
Browne retired the side in order in four of the seven innings she pitched. She and the Vikings entered the final frame with a four-run lead, ahead 6-2 in the battle. To that point, Browne had surrendered just two hits – an RBI single by Eagles catcher Tori McCoach (2-for-4) that drew the home team within a pair at 3-1 and a leadoff single in the fifth inning by CEC leftfielder Kaitlyn Moss, who scored Egan’s second run of the contest.
Browne and Barrett scored both runs for Wood in the fifth, reaching base on singles then scoring on a two out-single with the sacks jammed by leadoff hitter Jules Donchez.
The Vikings scored their final run in the sixth inning on nary a hit. Lancelotti reached on an error and scored the same way in an inning in which the Eagles failed to field three balls hit in the infield.
Egan’s bats finally woke up in the seventh inning when the home team registered singles by Gartner, rightfielder Carla Colella (RBI) and McCoach. Wood’s third error in the contest contributed to the Eagles’ rally.
With McCoach on first base with the tying run, Browne fanned the last batter however for the final out, helping Wood to its eighth win of the season.
“I was a little bit nervous but I just kept coming at the batters,” said Browne. “I did my best but I was definitely feeling the heat.”
Both the two-run single by Barrett and the other by Donchez came with two outs.
“Lately, we’re getting the big hits when we need them,” said Rosini. “We got a couple of two-out hits that drove in four runs. When you do that and you put everything else together, we’re playing pretty well.”
Most of the production in this one came off the bat of Barrett, a No. 7 hitter.
“Katie’s been hot pretty much all season. She’s getting big hits when we need them,” stated Rosini.
“She bats a little lower in the lineup but that’s OK because she’s driving in runs and moving people around.
“That’s carried over into her defense and she’s having a really good overall season.”
Getting that kind of offense from his shortstop is unexpected, Rosini says.
“We want her to field the ball and throw the ball – that’s the goal of the shortstop,” the coach commented.
“Any offense she gives us is a bonus.”
It would appear that the Lady Vikings are getting extra bonus points from Barrett right now.
NOTES: Three of the Eagles’ five runs were unearned due to three errors committed by Archbishop Wood.
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter
Archbishop Wood 6, Conwell-Egan 5
(May 5 at CEC)
WOOD (8-5) 300 021 0 – 6 9 3
EGAN (6-7) 010 010 3 – 5 5 5
WP — Marisa Browne 7IP, 5R, 5H, 0BB, 4SO; LP — Alexis Gartner 7IP, 6R, 9H, 4BB, 3SO.
MULTIPLE HITS: AW — Katie Barrett 3-for-4, Marisa Browne 2-for-4; CE — Tori McCoach 2-for-4
RBI: AW — Barrett 2, Jules Donchez 2; CE — McCoach 2, Carla Colella, Emily Wang.