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Schumann perfect as Downingtown East blanks Shanahan

Rachel Schumann delivers a pitch during her perfect game victory over Bishop Shanahan (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

DOWNINGTOWN >> Downingtown East ran its unbeaten streak in the Ches-Mont National to four games, riding a perfect game from starter Rachel Schumann to a six-inning, 12-0 rout of Bishop Shanahan on the Eagles’ home field. The Cougars improve to 4-1 on the season, and a perfect 4-0 in the Ches-Mont National. Shanahan falls to 2-3 (1-2 National).

Rachel Schuman (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“Rachel has been great all season so far,” said Cougars’ coach Peggy O’Dwyer. “She’s had great command, and really got the job done today.”

Over the course of the six inning game, Shanahan failed to get a ball out of the infield. It was the first perfect game for Schumann at any level.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to not only get the win, but to pitch a perfect game,” said Schumann. “I felt very relaxed out there. Knowing the way this team has been hitting, and the kind of plays the defense was going to make behind me, I was just able to throw the way I can, without thinking about it too much.”

The defense didn’t have to make too many plays, however. Schumann struck out 12 of the 18 batters she faced.

“We played Coatesville earlier in the week, and her curveball, and all her spins were working really well, so we focused on those again today,” said catcher Nicki Sudall, who calls pitches for the Cougars. “We weren’t getting the low strike call early, but once we adjusted to the umpires strike zone, she was in complete command.”

Nicki Sudall handles a low strike(BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Sudall had a great day at the plate, too, going 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored.

“We were all hitting today,” said Sudall. “We all feed off each other, and once one of us gets going, we all tend to hit.”

The Cougars pounded out 16 hits on the afternoon—six for extra bases—and scored in double digits for the second time in the past four games.

Ashley Ponto connect for a basehit in front of Shanahan catcher Molly Delio (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“What I really love to see is that it is coming from all up and down the order,” said O’Dwyer. “Even the girls coming off the bench, and we got all of them in today, had at least one hit.”

Julia Thornton set the tone right from the start, leading off the top half of the first with a home run to right center. Thornton finished the day 2 for 3 with the HR and two RBI. Grace Roth (2 for 3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) also went deep for the Cougars.

Grace Roth is mobbed at Home plate following her home run (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“That’s two girls that don’t usually hit home runs,” said “O’Dwyer. “That was the first one Julia has hit.”

Joining Thornton, Sudall and Roth with multi-hit games was Lilly Waterer (2 for 2, 2B, 2 RBI), while Steph Allesandro had a double and scored twice.

The Cougars have been playing great softball, especially on the offensive side, while Schumann seems to be improving every time out. Only Owen J. Roberts, currently ranked number three in District 1, has handed the Cougars a loss. The Cougars can only take things a game at a time, but have to be forgiven if they start to look ahead a little bit to their big match-up with their crosstown rival, unbeaten Downingtown West, in two weeks.

“There’s no doubt that game is in the back of our minds,” said Sudall. “I’m telling everyone I know to come out, so hopefully we’ll have a good crowd. But we don’t get complacent. We just treat every game like it’s a West game.”

Downingtown East 4 0 0 4 0 4—12
Bishop Shanahan 0 0 0 0 0 0—0
HR—Thornton, Roth 2B—Sudall (2), Waterer, Alessandro
WP—Schumann LP–Gunn

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