DOWNINGTOWN >> Nothing like a big early lead to set the tone. Haverford High scored in each of the first three innings, then played stingy defense behind pitcher Lucy Wolf, as the 10th-seeded Fords pounded out 12 hits in a 6-2 win over No. 7 Downingtown West in the second round of the District 1 Class 6A softball tournament Wednesday.
“We’ve been finding ourselves all year, with me changing line-ups around to see what works best,” said Haverford coach Bob Newman. “We’re not afraid to play anyone, which is why I always try to play as tough a schedule as I can, so we’re ready for these kinds of games. This team works hard, and they believe in themselves. I barely have to coach them.”
Haverford wasted no time in setting the tone, getting hits from each of its first four hitters. Kylie Ingram (2 for 4, 3B, 2R, RBI) led off and stroked a single up the middle. She scored when Shannon Gavigan ripped a double to the gap in left center. Grace Ciochetto brought Gavigan home with a single down the right-field line.
West (18-3) starter Addy Carter got out of the inning with no further damage. After Annabelle Knese singled to make it four straight base hits, Carter grabbed a liner up the middle, doubled off Knese, then picked up the first of her 10 strikeouts to get out of the inning.
“We always talk about getting runs on the board first to put the pressure on the other team,” said Newman. “We always want to play with a lead. We have two seniors in Kylie and Shannon one and two who have been getting the job done all year for us.”
The Fords added three more in the second, highlighted by a two-run triple from Ingram, then manufactured a run in the third on a single from Meghan Kent, a bunt single from Madie Culbertson and a sacrifice fly from Lexie Vesco.
“Getting that lead is always important, especially against a good team,” said Ingrham, who will be playing collegiately for East Stroudsburg next season. “I knew going in we would be fine. Getting here and seeing everyone hit the way we did was great. It’s a great feeling to be moving on, and we look forward to playing whoever comes next.”
Wolf picked up the win in the circle with seven strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. She struck out eight, and did not walk a batter.
“This was a big team win,” said Wolf. “We all came together and did what we knew we needed to do. We all know we can beat anyone with our defense and our hitting. Getting those runs early was big. We took them down, and now we’re ready to go after the next one.”
West’s runs came in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Lizzie Kern got the Whippets on the board with a solo home run to dead center. Emma Ahlborn followed by reaching on second on an outfield error and came around to score on a single from Jordan Toth.
Toth had a pair of base hits for the Whippets, while Isabella Roccardo and Taylor Hendricks both doubled.
“This team never quit, and we actually hit the ball pretty well,” said West coach Joey Germani. “Just about everybody got a hit today, but we just didn’t seem to be able to string them together and get runs. I think this will just serve to motivate our younger players, but we’ll miss our seniors — Darby Weller, Mavica Mendez, Isabella Riccardo and Joella Seese.”
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