Springside Chestnut Hill Academy graduated a small but very talented senior class from its 2022 team, and with three of this year's starters out of action for last Wednesday's home game, the Blue Devils struggled.
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy graduated a small but very talented senior class from its 2022 team, and with three of this year's starters out of action for last Wednesday's home game, the Blue Devils struggled against Episcopal Academy.
A 9-0 victory lifted the EA Churchwomen to a 4-0 record in the Inter-Ac League and a 7-0 mark overall. Later last week, Episcopal was supposed to meet the league's other undefeated team, Germantown Academy (3-0), but the two schools had marked down different dates for the game and it was postponed.
After Wednesday's setback, SCH held a 4-2 record overall and was 2-2 in the Inter-Ac. In 2022, the Blue Devils shared the league championship with EA (both 11-1), and SCH went on to win the Pa. Independent Schools championship.
The Blue Devils also produced last year's league MVP. This was senior pitcher Sam Klug, who is already in the thick of the action at West Chester University this spring.
The Devils had done so well with Klug over the course of five seasons (she began playing varsity ball in eighth grade) that they set about finding another "Samantha" for the pitcher's circle. Springside Chestnut Hill's primary pitcher this year is eighth-grader Sami Snyder, a new student at the school.
Against Episcopal she struck out 15 batters while giving up nine hits and three walks. Some costly errors by SCH also contributed to Episcopal's success. The winning pitcher, EA sophomore Madilyn Masiko, logged 11 strike-outs, one walk and two hits. The visitors got Springside out in order in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
It took awhile for Episcopal to get its offense going, however. In the first two innings SCH's Snyder faced just seven batters, walking the first and striking out the next six.
With an injury to their regular starting catcher, Springside had senior Emma Blaszczak filling in behind the plate. She was also the lead-off hitter, but after she started the bottom of the first inning with a single down the right field line, Episcopal pocketed a line drive and doubled up Blaszczak at first base.
EA's Masiko would strike out the next four batters from the home team, sending the game into the third inning with the score still 0-0.
With two outs in the top of the third, EA lead-off hitter Rylie Spor came up and drew a walk. After Olivia Cella made contact for the Churchwomen, the Blue Devils made multiple errors, finally throwing the ball out into left field. The net result was a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Two strike-outs began the bottom of the inning for SCH, then eighth-grader Callan Curry, brought up to varsity due to the personnel shortage, waited out a walk. A fly ball to right field left her on base.
For the start of the fourth frame, Blaszczak switched positions with junior Kamaha'o Bode, who had started at first base. In both the fourth and fifth innings, Episcopal produced three hits and three runs to build an 8-0 lead. The big blow came in the fourth from Spor, who slammed a two-run triple deep to left field.
The Springside Chestnut Hill batters would go down in order in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Episcopal added its final run with two outs in the top of the sixth, getting a runner on base through an error and then seeing her score on a double by Masiko that rolled out to the fence in left centerfield.
The seventh inning began with a single by the Churchmen, then SCH's Snyder recorded her last three strike-outs. After senior Courtney Oliver (a five-year varsity player for the Blue Devils) led off the home half of the seventh with a fly, Faith Scally drove the ball deep to left and slid into third for a triple. Scally, a senior, will continue her softball career at NCAA Division II Pace University.
When Bode put the ball in play, EA let her get to first base in order to hold Scally at third. The Blue Devils weren't able to get a run home, as the next two batters were fanned by Episcopal's Masiko.