CONCORD >> Between the mile-high flyouts and intentional walks, Garnet Valley junior Lindsey Hunt had grown frustrated and annoyed.
One of Delaware County best softball players, Hunt hadn’t been swinging the bat the way she’d expected.
In her first two trips to the dish Monday, Hunt swung early in the count. She hit a deep fly to center field for an out and popped up to shortstop.
Both times, she had barely missed barreling the ball and hitting hit it a long way.
But third time’s the charm, right?
With two on and two gone in the bottom of the sixth, Hunt got her pitch and connected, clubbing a majestic three-run homer over the center-field fence to give Garnet Valley a 3-2 lead and eventual victory over Central League rival Ridley.
“I’ve been a little frustrated at the plate, and early on I was, too,” Hunt said. “But I have to think, it’s a whole new at-bat each time.”
Hunt, who earned All-Delco honors her sophomore season and is committed to Drexel University, didn’t let her struggles — if you want to call them that — deplete her overall play. A so-called bad day for Hunt is a good day for most.
An error in the sixth inning enabled Hunt to stroll to the box with runners on first and second. Ridley decided to pitch to Hunt in the situation, and the slugging catcher made her opponent pay.
“I just told myself to see ball, hit ball. That’s all,” Hunt said. “Sometimes I think too much about how I’m doing instead of focusing on getting a hit. Sometimes you just have to see it and hit it.”
When the game is on the line, there is no other player the Jaguars would rather have at the plate.
“She’s absolutely the one,” coach George White said. “I’m actually surprised that they pitched to her. … We also had a freshman coming up next. Their pitcher had our number the whole game … and we only got a couple of hits off her. Their pitcher did a great job … but all it takes is one swing.”
Ridley pitcher Anna Torrens certainly deserved a better fate. She allowed three hits and struck out six. Her one mistake was deposited over the fence some 230 feet away from home plate.
Prior to Hunt’s game-winning bomb, Audrey Shenk worked a six-pitch walk to extend the inning — the lone free pass Torrens issued all day. At one point, Torrens had retired 14 batters in a row.
Lindsey Hunt smashes a 3-run homer over the fence in center field. @GVHSSB leads Ridley 3-2 in the 6th. pic.twitter.com/qy8rdnzYpT
— Matt Smith (@DTMattSmith) May 7, 2018
Becca Halford pitched just as well for the home side. She gave up two unearned runs on five hits with four punchouts. Throughout the day she had a potent Ridley lineup out in front of her offspeed pitches, but she mixed and matched her speeds and kept the Green Raiders from busting the game open.
“I just focused a lot on hitting my spots,” she said. “They seemed to start getting the timing of my changeup down.”
White has been pleased with Halford’s development this season. As a freshman last year, she pitched a no-hitter against Interboro, and has kept the Jaguars in most of the games she has started.
“The biggest thing today for her was no walks,” White said. “Becca’s been walking a few batters lately, and sloppy defense behind her has hurt us. She’s pitched well all year, but we haven’t always helped her. Today her fastball was on, and her command was there. Obviously having Lindsey back there catching her helps her out.”
With the Central League title out of the picture, Ridley and Garnet Valley are vying for high seeds in the District 1 Class 6A tournament. The Green Raiders (12-5, 9-5) entered Monday as the 13th seed, while the Jaguars (11-7, 9-5) were 15th. Last season the teams clashed in the opening round of districts, with Ridley coming out on top.
“They play us hard all the time,” White said of Ridley.
A pair of Garnet Valley errors in the second inning allowed Morgan Chapman to score on an RBI single by Mollie Reece. In the fourth, Torrens scored from second base on a fielding miscue to give Ridley a 2-0 advantage. Madison Chapman finished 2-for-3 for Ridley.
Elsewhere in the Central League:
Springfield 5, Radnor 4 >> Abbie DeSantis’ single in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in Caitlin Chambers from third and gave the Cougars a walk-off win. Sam Ciasullo went the distance from the circle, and Sheridan Hedick went 2-for-3 while playing good defense at first base.
Caitlin Remphrey finished 3-for-3 with a double for the Raiders.
Marple Newtown 7, Harriton 6 >> The Tigers’ Marissa Stracciolini scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning. Marple forced extras with a three-run seventh. Brianna Clark laced a two-run single, and Amanda Smith walked to force in the tying run.
Rachel Cowley started the game for the Tigers, then was removed, before re-entering in the seventh inning to thwart a Harriton rally. Cowley pitched a spotless eighth and picked up the win.
Penncrest 8, Strath Haven 2 >> Lions ace Maya Hartman fanned 16 hitters on the way to a complete game. Liz Hoole went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Kira Sbandi had a hit and two RBIs. Brett Gavin and S.J. Whittemore each legged out a triple for the Lions (11-5, 11-4).
Brooke Bender doubled and knocked in a run for the Panthers.
Upper Darby 9, Lower Merion 5 >> Rebecca Sorrentino had a huge day at the plate: Two triples, a double and a grand slam in the seventh to give the Royals the lead. Lexie Witmer was a perfect 4-for-4, and Brooke Jones notched a double and two ribbies to lead the Royals.
In the Catholic League:
Cardinal O’Hara 16, Bishop McDevitt 1 >> Maggie Loomis collected two hits, including a home run, and pitched a one-hitter with seven strikeouts. Jenna Smith doubled and had three RBIs, while Julia Kush had a three-hit day with four runs scored.
In nonleague action:
Delco Christian 17, Lincoln Leadership 2 >> Winning pitcher Abbi Heacock recorded six Ks and had a double and four RBIs for the Knights (7-6). Kaelyn Cooper knocked in two runs.