Mikayla Eckman pitches Pottsgrove past Norristown

WEST NORRITON >> Three of Pottsgrove’s first four batters scored in the top of the first inning against Norristown and that was more than enough run support with Mikayla Eckman in the circle.

Eckman threw a complete game, striking out 13 batters to one walk and allowing four hits in a 4-1 Pioneer Athletic Conference crossover win at Norristown Area High School Wednesday evening.

“Mainly just throwing my inside screwball,” Eckman said. “Catching them on the hands, trying to jam them and make sure they don’t get more of that outside plate.”

The right-hander was dominant throughout the game. After allowing a one-out single in the bottom of the first inning, she retired 12 of the next 14 batters she faced. The other two batters reached on a walk – her only free pass of the game – and an error.

The only time Eckman really got into trouble was in the bottom of the sixth inning. With a 4-0 lead, she surrendered a one-out single to Norristown’s Ryan Morse and Camryn Holmes followed with an RBI triple to centerfield. Eckman stranded the runner on third base to take a 4-1 lead to the seventh.

“I knew that I had to keep that girl (on third) and that getting those two outs were going to be major for us to make sure we get out with a win in the end,” Eckman said.

The Falcons (10-10, 7-9 PAC) capitalized on three Norristown errors to score their three runs in the top of the first inning. Bailey Pysher reached on an error to start the game, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Mackenzie Gray’s single was mishandled in the outfield. Avery Gleason doubled home Gray and scored when Eckman grounded into an error to make it 3-0 early.

Gleason hit a two-out triple to bring home McAllister and give Pottsgrove a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

Pottsgrove’s Bailey Pysher takes a lead off first base in the first inning against Norristown Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Pottsgrove entered the game as the No. 13 seed in the District 1-5A standings, where the top 12 teams qualify for playoffs. The Falcons regular season ends with a game against Conrad Weiser High School Thursday.

“I think we’re going to just barely get in, it will be close,” Eckman said. “We have another game (Thursday) and we have to really fight to get this spot and get in there.

“This would be huge for us. This would be our third time. It would be great to go back to where we were last year to keep going on.”

Morse pitched all seven innings for the Eagles (5-13, 3-11 PAC). She struck out six batters to two walks and allowed four runs – one earned – on eight hits.

“This is my third year coaching (Morse),” Norristown coach Jacob Echevarria said. “This year she’s come leaps and bounds as far as pitching is concerned. Her changeup is devastating. Most teams just can’t stay back. She’s throwing 60 (miles per hour) fastballs and then that changeup – she keeps girls off-balance. Unfortunately, some errors and that’s why we had those unearned runs.”

Morse was one of three Norristown seniors to be recognized before the game. Shortstop Izzy Pastella and first baseman Alliyah Suber were also honored on Senior Day.

“I think we had fun,” Echevarria said. “Senior Day – the three seniors got to play the whole game. That’s all you can ask for. They had fun.”

Norristown’s Ryan Morse threw a complete game against Pottsgrove Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Pottsgrove 4, Norristown 1

Pottsgrove 300 010 0 – 4

Norristown 000 001 0 – 1

WP: Mikayla Eckman 7 IP 13 K 1 BB 4 H 1 R

LP: Ryan Morse 7 IP 6 K 2 BB 8 H 4 R

2B: P: Avery Gleason.

3B: P: Avery Gleason. N: Camryn Holmes.

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