UPPER MORELAND >> When it comes to single-elimination playoff games, the bottom line for teams is to figure out a way to win the game. There is no singular or correct way to do it necessarily.
In Friday afternoon’s District-1 AAA quarterfinal softball game, Bishop Shanahan opted for letting its best player dominate and take over the game.
It is hard to come up with a word or combination of words to describe the shear dominance of Eagles’ freshman pitcher Devon Miller as she struck out 17 Upper Moreland hitters in a complete-game, two-hit 7-0 shutout of the Golden Bears.
“It really helps the first time through the line up you know what the batters can do, who you strikeout, what their swing is like,” the hard-throwing Miller said. “For each inning once you get that first out, first strikeout, it really gives you confidence for the rest of the inning.”
Before Miller even took the mound she was working with a 2-0 lead, as the first two hitters of the game Miranda Bedices and Eva Dudkiewicz doubled and walked respectively. After a pair of outs and a wild pitch moved Bedices and Dudkiewicz to second and third, center fielder Ann Weyand knocked them in with a two-RBI single.
“It’s good to have the lead it really gave us, not only me but as a team, some confidence,” the freshman said.
The 2-0 lead stood until the fifth inning. With runners on first and third with two outs, Weyand hit a ground ball to third base. It looked like the Bears were out of the inning with no damage. Unfortunately for Upper Moreland, a fielding error by first baseman Maura Casey allowed a run to score and extended the inning.
The next hitter after Weyand, designated player Cat Rosfelder, knocked in two more runs, extending the Shanahan lead to 5-0.
“We knew we could hit the pitcher,” Miller said. “She held us well for awhile after the two runs and I think we got the confidence over the other team.”
Not only did the fifth inning make the Shanahan lead just about insurmountable, but it was also unfortunate for Upper Moreland pitcher Amber O’Connor, who seemed to be settling down nicely after a tough start in the first.
“2-0 in the fifth against (Miller) is way different than 5-0 in the fifth,” Upper Moreland coach Scott Ludlow said. “That two-out error that cost us a run and the two-out hit they got to score the next two, that was the nail in the coffin, but I think that changed our whole mindset.”
Ludlow recognized that the sting of this loss will resonate with his team but also will not diminish what the team accomplished this season, finishing the regular season 13-4 and second in the Suburban One League American Conference.
“(I told the team) this is one game and don’t hang your heads and don’t walk away from here feeling bad,” Ludlow said. “Feel bad that we lost, this is not the way we wanted things to end but certainly don’t let it bring down what certainly was a tremendous season for us.”
As for Shanahan and its PIAA playoff aspirations it has to defeat Upper Merion as the two meet Tuesday with spot in the state tournament field and a trip to the District-1 AAA title game on the line.
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