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District 1-6A Softball: Owen J. Roberts eases by Harry S. Truman

BUCKTOWN >> Owen J. Roberts made good pitches, came up with excellent plays in the field and moved runners around the bases in key situations Monday afternoon in a 5-1 win over visiting Harry S. Truman in the opening round of the District 1-6A softball playoffs.

Natalie Alldred tossed a six-hitter with no walks and three strikeouts and Charlie Skonieczny picked up two hits for the 15th-seeded Wildcats (12-6), who advance to the round of 16 on Wednesday at No. 2 seed North Penn. Emily Merrigan and Madison Kuvulic each had two hits for the 18th-seeded Tigers (11-10).

Truman threatened to score in the first when an error, a steal and a sacrifice put a runner on third with one out. But Alldred got the next batter to go after an outside pitch for a strikeout and third baseman Jordan Sylvia fielded a high bouncer and fired to first for one of her six assists on the afternoon to retire the side.

“That definitely helped,” said sophomore right-hander Alldred. “My infielders … they were definitely present. (Sylvia) was making some great plays. She always makes great plays. It seemed like we were getting hits in the right places. We were a little slow offensively, but we got hits at the right time.”

Then OJR scored two in the first on an error, an RBI double by Maddy Harvey, a grounder to second by Alldred and a sacrifice fly to center by Morgan Twadddell.

“We were very patient at the plate,” said Roberts coach Stacey Kushner. “We waited for our pitch, which definitely helped. And Natalie pitched one heck of a game.”

The Wildcats added a run in the third when Emma DiBattista grounded a leadoff single through the middle, sped all the way to third on a wild pitch and came home on a fly to center by Harvey.

Sylvia singled to start the fourth and came around on a grounder, a wild pitch and a single through the left side by Skonieczny for a 4-0 advantage.

“I think we did well waiting on the ball,” said senior left fielder Skonieczny. “Timing it up right. We just all came together as a team. We have a pretty good infield. We’re pretty solid. We definitely have that advantage.”

Meanwhile, Alldred helped herself out in the third after Kuvulic and Teyana Towner singled with one out when she knocked down a line drive and alertly threw to second for a force to avert an even bigger jam.

The Tigers scored in the sixth on a leadoff single by McKeon and a two-out single by Merrigan. But Allie Daubert singled home Sylvia in the bottom of the inning and Alldred allowed only a two-out single in the seventh before wrapping up the Wildcats’ first playoff win since 2017 on a grounder to third.

Alldred went to three balls on only two batters and needed only 73 pitches, with 55 on them going for strikes.

“I get a little nervous before every game,” she said. “But nervous is a good thing. I threw a lot of strikes. That’s what I was trying to do. They’re a really aggressive team. I was trying to get the ball close to the plate, but not too close … trying to not let them hit the ball too hard.”

Next, the Wildcats will take on a North Penn team that enjoyed a bye on Monday and is 19-1 on the year. OJR lost to North Penn 4-2 in the second round four years ago.

“We just have to keep fielding the ball like we have this year and keep getting our bat on the ball,”said Skonieczny.

“We had an overall good effort,” said Kushner. “It was great trying to get the girls pumped up … not only districts, it’s home. They were definitely excited. I told them this is one thing to check off the list. They (North Penn) are a tough team. If we play our ‘A’ game, we’ll do alright.”

BOX SCORE

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