Garnet Valley clinches Central with rout of Conestoga

BERWYN >> The Jaguars banged out 12 hits while pitcher Anna Sidlowski hurled a gem as Garnet Valley (15-0 Central League, 18-0 overall) topped host Conestoga (8-6, 10-6) by a score of 12-0 in five innings Wednesday afternoon.

Garnet’s Hannah Long connects for a base hit (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

With the win, the Jaguars clinched the Central League championship.

“It’s awesome to have clinched the league,” said the Jags’ senior right fielder Emily Orsini. “I’ve been a part of this team since freshman year. From where we were then when we were getting dominated by teams like Haverford and Ridley, to being that kind of dominant team like we are today has been an incredible experience. We’ve all worked really hard to get to this point.”

Garnet’s Zooey Rogesrs slides in with a stolen base as Conestoga SS Brennan Corr takes the throw (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

The Jaguars wasted no time getting out to an early lead, pushing across three runs in the top half of the first on singles from Elisabeth O’Connor and Zoey Rogers, along with a two-run homer to center from Orsini.

“This team likes to come out battling right from the start,” said Orsini. “I knew as soon as Elisabeth got on base, I knew Zoey was going to do something, and everything just kind of lined up perfectly for me. Getting that big lead is always a big deal for us.”

Garnet Valley added another pair in the second, highlighted by a two-run triple from O’Connor, then really blew things open in the following inning. The Jags batted around in the third, putting up seven runs on six hits in the inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Maddie Stiles and an RBI triple from Hannah Long.

Conestoga’s Mary Crowley tags out Elisabeth O’Connor at the plate (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“It’s always great to be able to pitch with a lead like that,” said Sidlowski, who is committed to play collegiate softball at Division I Marist. “It definitely relieves some stress and lets me breathe a little easier. We’re just hitting the start of the season that really matters. We’re all excited to see how far this team can go.”

Garnet pitcher Anna Sidlowski delivers (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Sidlowski picked up the win in the circle with five strong shutout innings of work. She allowed just two hits, while striking out seven and walking just one. 

The Pioneers hits were both singles, the first from designated player Sarah Hegg in the second, and the other a base hit from Marisa Francione in the fourth.

Conestoga’s Sarah Hegg beats throw to first baseman Maddie Stiles (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“This is a very young team,” said Conestoga coach Charlotte Bosco. “We’ve got a lot to grow on. We’ve just got to get back to work on our offense and our defense.”

Despite the loss, the Pioneers are still looking at a slot in the District 1, Class 6A playoffs.

“It’s huge for this group of girls to be looking at a playoff appearance,” said Bosco. “For the young girls to see the older girls in their leadership roles, and to be able to get that kind of experience will be big down the road. We’re looking forward to it.”

For the Jaguars, currently sitting at number three in the District 1 6A power rankings, the possibility of a number one seed remains, with a couple of big games against Ridley and Unionville — both of whom will qualify for the postseason — still to come on the regular season schedule.

“I can’t say enough about how hard these girls work to make sure they do all the little things right,” said Garnet coach Brian Garrett. “We still have some tough games ahead of us. These girls know there is nothing easy ahead, so we have to be at our best.”  

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