Five-run second inning powers SCH past Penn Charter

by Tom Utescher
Posted 3/27/24

A day before spring break began, the softball teams from Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy opened the 2024 Inter-Ac League season.

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Five-run second inning powers SCH past Penn Charter


A day before spring break began at both of their schools, the softball teams from Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy opened the 2024 Inter-Ac League season last Wednesday at SCH.

The host Blue Devils began with a solo homer in the first, but they did a lot more damage in the following inning, plating five more runs to go up 6-0 before the Quakers got on the board with a single run in the top of the third. The home team would go on to win, 7-3.

Prior to that, SCH had scrimmaged Shipley School, while PC had played two non-league games against Philadelphia Catholic League teams, beating St. Hubert's and losing to Conwell Egan.

Stephanie Mill is embarking on her 23rd season in charge of the SCH program, and familiar assistant coach Bill Hannigan is also back. In addition, former SCH pitcher Kayla McTamney has returned to the Blue Devils as an assistant coach after completing her collegiate career at Ursinus in 2022.

The Penn Charter program is in its second season under the leadership of Charles Warren, a former Division I baseball player at Grambling State University who gained further experience as an umpire, a junior college coach, and the coach of a successful softball club. He has all of his players back from last year, with the only new addition being a sophomore whose family moved here from Massachusetts, junior Nora Prasad.

There's also a new junior at Springside Chestnut Hill; Morgan Risnychock transferred over from Wissahickon High School. The Blue Devils graduated five players from the 2023 roster, and have added four freshmen and an eighth-grader.

Among the returning players for Springside are two who played varsity ball as eighth-graders last year, Callan Curry, an outfielder, and Sami Snyder, who jumped right in as the Blue Devils' starting pitcher in 2023. In last week's league opener she went the distance for the win, striking out 10 batters, walking five, and yielding four hits.

In the top of the first inning PC's starting pitcher, junior Lauren Gedraitis, helped her cause by belting a single over second base. Her hit was sandwiched between two strike-outs, but then the clean-up batter, senior Macie Bergmann, drew a walk. Bergman, the Quakers' catcher, is a fifth-year varsity player who has signed with Drexel University.

Next, a strike-out left the two PC baserunners stranded.

The Blue Devils earned a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the inning thanks to Risnychok, the junior transfer who has become the team's starting shortstop. She produced a solo homer, whacking a line drive that followed a seemingly flat trajectory over the left field fence.

Charter could not answer in the top of the second, then SCH's Snyder started the bottom half with a single between third base and short. Her catcher, sophomore Sarah Scally, punched a hit through the right side of the infield, then the runners moved to second and third on a ground-out by Curry.

A ball hit by freshman Emma Mellor produced a Penn Charter error that landed her on second and scored a run. A second came home on a passed ball, and another miscue on a ball put in play by sophomore Sadie Friedman made it 3-0. Two more runs scored when an outfield error got the next batter, Risnychok, to second base.

An RBI hit by senior Kamaha'o Bode (who will go on to play for Haverford College) bumped the score up to 6-0 before a strike-out and a ground-out retired the side. The last two outs were recorded by PC junior Ryan Hatty, who had come in to pitch in relief.

With two outs in the top of the third Hatty singled to left field, then the visitors scored their first run when the Blue Devils were unable to track down a high fly ball hit to right field by Bergmann. The score remained 6-1 through the fourth inning.

After SCH secured an out at the start of the fifth, Charter received a single to right field from Bergmann's sister Madelyn, a sophomore. She stole second, then later scored when a hard-hit ball off the bat of senior Payton Handler skipped off the glove of the first baseman, Bode.

The Devils answered in the bottom half with their final run, as freshman Emma Canton got on base with an error, reached third on a double to centerfield by Snyder, then scored on a hit by Scally.

In the seventh PC's Madelyn Bergman drew a walk, then reached third as SCH mishandled a ball hit by Hatty. She scored on a wild pitch, setting the final score at 7-3.