SPRINGFIELD >> The magic number for the Spring-Ford softball team is four runs.
With ace Jules Scogna and even No. 2 pitcher Jess Fliszar in the circle, the goal for the Rams each game is to put at least four on the board.
“We try to get four runs every game, then normally that’s pretty good,” Ellie Jarrell said.
Entering Monday’s PIAA Class 6A opener against District 12’s St. Hubert’s, the District 1 four seed Rams hadn’t reached that total since their regular-season finale.
Through three innings, the contest had the looks of another pitcher’s duel. Then they got their four runs … and much more.
The floodgates finally opened in the fourth inning Monday when a one-out triple by Lexi Wescott sparked a seven-run Spring-Ford rally on the way to an 11-0 six-inning win.
The Rams advanced to the state quarterfinals for a third straight season (2019, 2021, 2022), where they will face District 3 champion Penn Manor on Thursday.
“It was good to see our team get hit after hit after it, especially after not having a lot of hits the past few games,” Wescott said. “Seeing our team work together to help out our pitcher Jules was good.”
St. Hubert’s and pitcher Riley Long hung tough through the first three innings. Scogna knocked in Caitlin Ashley on a sac fly to score a run in the second and spot herself a 1-0 lead in the circle.
Gracie Carlin drove in Jarrell (2-for-3) to put the Rams up 2-0 in the third.
“It was good kind of getting a couple little hits together to get a couple (runs) in the beginning, so we have something to work on, as a baseline,” Jarrell said. “It calms us down on defense, knowing that we have a cushion.”
St. Hubert’s threatened in the bottom half of the third, loading the bases with two outs after a hit by pitch, walk and infield single.
Scogna got out of the jam with a fly out to center, and the Rams’ offense made sure there were no more tense moments the rest of the contest.
Wescott’s one-out triple in the top of the fourth sparked a rally for the Rams. Maddie Williams knocked her in with an RBI double and Jarrell put another RBI double off the fence two batters later to make it 4-0 Spring-Ford.
“We’ve had a couple good pitchers the last couple games,” Jarrell said. “It was good to finally get a few together and get our confidence back.”
Riley Gancasz tripled in a run, Caitlin Ashley (2-for-3) doubled in another and Scogna and Ali Wescott also had RBI hits before Lexi Wescott (3-for-3) came up again and drove in a run with two outs to put Spring-Ford up 9-0.
“I think it was a good way to start the inning off,” Lexi Wescott said of her triple.
Jessica Fliszar entered for Scogna (3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K) in the bottom of the fourth. She struck out two with the bases loaded to keep St. Hubert’s off the board.
“They started to put the bat on the ball, we made a few errors and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” St. Hubert’s coach Dan Milio said of the Rams’ fourth-inning rally. “We needed one person to make the play or get that one hit. We had the bases loaded twice and couldn’t get a run in. That was the difference in the game.”
The Rams couldn’t put a run across in the fifth, but after another scoreless inning by Fliszar RBI hits by Autumn Eck and Ava Bainbridge (triple) put the Rams up 11-0 in the sixth.
Fliszar (3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K) allowed a hit, but the Rams turned a double play and she struck out the final hitter to finish off the six-inning win.
Milio made sure his four seniors — Long, Charlotte Pugh, Gianna Grassifulli and Sarah McLaughlin — all had their careers celebrated during the end of Monday’s game.
He subbed them out one by one with the Bambies in the field during the fifth inning.
“They deserve it,” Milio said. “Four years with the program and I was their coach all four years. They deserved their moment, so that’s why we did it.”
Spring-Ford’s run ended in the state quarters last season.
The Rams’ seniors graduate on Wednesday and they hope their high school athletic careers can extend beyond their official academic tenures at the school.
“I want to go as far as we can, especially being a senior finishing off on a good note,” Wescott said.
“At our school, we’re the last team playing,” Jarrell said. “Baseball and lacrosse, they’re all done, so we’re taking it for the team itself and the school and our reputation.”