FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> They had identical divisional and league records coming into Wednesday.
The similarity ended there when Spring-Ford and Methacton faced off to decide supremacy in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Liberty Division.
The tiebreaker — a close one, to be sure — was the Rams’ 2-0 victory over the Warriors in a pitchers’ duel staged on a blustery afternoon.
Jules Scogna threw a four-hitter, two of which never left the infield, and Spring-Ford (4-0 Liberty, 6-0 overall) played near-perfect defense behind its junior ace. That combined to make solo runs in the first and third innings hold up against Methacton (3-1, 5-1).
“It’s always a great game when we play each other,” SF head coach Tim Hughes said. “It could have gone either way. Lucky for us, we were able to pencil a couple (runs) across.”
Scogna had no walks and seven strikeouts, fanning the side in the third. The closest the Warriors came to breaking the shutout was the sixth, when Caitlin Woolbert (2-for-3) doubled with one out and took third on a wild pitch. Scogna, however, was able to coax a pair of pop-fly outs to escape the tight spot. Woolbert also drove a single off the centerfield fence earlier in the game.
Serena Goodridge and Tori Bockrath were the only other Methacton batters to hit safely off Scogna, who got the job done in 110 pitches. The Warriors had just five batters reach base against her, and she appeared unaffected by the colder temperatures that descended on the area following mid-day thunderstorms that crossed the region.
“She has the same process … warm up and put on extra clothes,” Hughes noted. “An added layer of Under Armour, stay warm and go.”
Paige Deal gave Methacton a solid mound effort of her own. The senior scattered five hits — none came after the fourth inning — and struck out four. A seventh-inning walk and a hit batter (Maddie Walsh in the third) were the only other blemishes on her pitching line.
“Pitchers are kind of okay in the cold,” Methacton head coach Cathy Miller noted. “It’s harder on the fielders because they’re standing around.”
The Rams’ defense turned a bang-bang double play in the second inning, second-baseman Morgan Lester spearing a hard shot by Riley Kairer and relaying to Madison Peck at first to pick Goodridge off. On the day, Peck figured in on five putouts and third-baseman Danielle McNeil on four.
“We go by what happens,” Peck said of the team’s defensive play. “We work on a lot of stuff at practice.”
“We may see some of this stuff one or two times a year,” Hughes added, “But we work on it as much as we can.”
Though it had more miscues, Methacton had a pair of double plays to its credit. Goodridge initiated both, the Warrior first-sacker doing one singlehandedly in the fourth and relaying to Avery Schwartz at second for another in the sixth.
“She played well,” Miller said of Goodridge. “We are a good defensive team.”
Spring-Ford plated its eventual game-winning run in its first at-bat. Bri Peck singled to center and stole her way to third, from where she came home off Walsh’s single along the third-base line.
The Rams added insurance in the third with Lester doubling to second, advancing to third off a wild pitch and scoring off Scogna’s sacrifice fly to right.
The visitors also saw Lexi Wescott and Ellie Jarrell hit safely. They had a total of nine baserunners for the game.
“We always want to go for more,” Peck said.
Tori Bockrath gave the Warriors some late hope when she beat out an infield single with two away in the bottom of the seventh. But Scogna followed with a three-pitch strikeout to end the game.
“We didn’t get the little things done,” Miller said. “It should have been a 1-0 game. In late games, it’s easy to manufacture runs. We needed a one-run game to make things happen.”
“Good pitching, fielding and hitting. That’s old-school softball,” Hughes added. “It was impressive for the girls.”
NOTES >> The Warriors got a fifth-inning baserunner off one of Scogna’s strikeouts. Haley Chapman was called for a third strike, but the ball got away from the catcher, and she made first off a relay throw that got away from the first baseman. … Deal threw just 95 pitches for the game. She had a particularly light pitch count over the last three frames, throwing a combined 25.