WEST GROVE—No. 10 Avon Grove built up an early lead, then held off a serious seventh inning rally by No. 15 Council Rock South to come away with a 5-4 victory in the District 1, Class 6A softball quarterfinals. With the win, The Red Devils clinched a fourth straight trip to the PIAA Championships.
Avon Grove will now face Ches-Mont rival Coatesville, an 8-2 winner over No. 6 Council Rock North. The Devils will be looking to advance to their third District 1 title game in four years time.
“This is a whole different team this year getting it done in a whole new way,” said Devils’ Coach Mike Diluzio. “We’re getting it done with big hits. We’re getting it done with small ball. We’re getting it done with fantastic defense. And we’re getting contributions from the whole line-up. Every game seems to be someone new stepping up to get us the win.”
The Devils played small ball to push across a run in the first. Meg Nolan led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to right, then promptly swiped second. Morgan DeFeo moved Nolan over to third on a ground out to second, and then Allie Wallauer picked up an RBI with a ground out to short.
Lauren Thompson kicked off a four run fourth, leading off with a bunt single. Kelly Murphy sacrificed her over to send, and then Nolan singled up the middle to make it first and third. DeFeo took advantage of the situation, delivering an RBI double that put runners on second and third. Wallauer picked up her second RBI of the day with a sac fly to left, and Rachel Butler brought DeFeo home with a single up the middle.
The Golden Hawks cut the lead in half, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth on singles from Kylie Woloshyn and Melanie Wilkinson, and a sac fly from Makenna Diamond. Wilkinson also had a solo homer in the sixth.
Carli Raymond led off the bottom half of the fourth for Avon Grove, and doubled to the gap in right center. Mack Van Sciver followed with a sacrifice, and Thompson made it first and third with a bunt single. Murphy, who sacrificed in both plate appearances, delivered an RBI sac fly to left to score Raymond.
“I was just looking for my pitch,” said Raymond. “My teammates were all saying she’s been pitching outside and to go that way, and that’s what I did. I knew from the day we first stepped on the field we could get back to states. But the way we’ve played as a team all year is just unbelievable.
The Hawks mounted a serious threat in the top half of the seventh. Down two, South put runners on second and third with just one out. The Hawks did get one run across on a sacrifice fly to left from Emily Freed, but Rachel Butler was able to retire the last hitter and strand the tying run at third.
“That was actually really nerve wracking,” said Butler, who picked up the pitching win with seven strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits. “They were just coming off a big win over the number two seed, so we knew they had to be good. But I just have so much confidence in my team behind me, and they came through all day.”
The Devils went right down to the wire battling with Coatesville for the Ches-Mont National title, so the two teams know each other well.
“We both know all of each other’s strengths very well,” said Diluzio. “It’s going to make for a really exciting match-up. Obviously, we’re both going to play our best to try to get a chance to win the District title, but it is great to know that we’re both moving on to states no matter the outcome.”
Avon Grove 5, Council Rock South 4
CR South ab r h bi Avon Grove ab r h bi
Andreoli—CF/P 3 0 0 1 Nolan—2B 3 2 2 0
Woloshyn—2B 4 1 1 0 DeFeo–SS 3 1 1 1
Wilkov—1B 3 0 0 0 Butler–P 3 0 1 1
Wilkinson—3B 3 2 2 2 Wallauer—1B 3 0 1 1
Walters-P/CF 3 0 1 0 Kunitsky–C 3 0 0 0
Diamond–LF 2 1 1 1 Raymond–LF 3 1 1 0
Dobren–C 3 0 1 0 VanSciver–RF 2 0 0 0
Freed–DP 3 0 0 0 Thompson–CF 3 1 2 0
Dispirito–RF 2 0 0 0 Murphy–DP 0 0 0 1
Thompson—FX/SS 0 0 0 0 Christman—FX/3B 0 0 0 0
Totals 25 4 6 4 Totals 23 5 8 5
CR South 0 0 0 2 0 1 1—4
Avon Grove 1 0 3 1 0 0 X—6
2B –Raymond, DeFeo HR—Wilkinson
IP H R BB SO
Walters 3.2 7 5 0 1
Abdreoli 2.1 1 0 0 1
Butler (W) 7 6 4 1 1