What do you get when you combine Benet’s great lineup, a very good opponent and a tight strike zone?
A tough afternoon for pitchers.
It was that kind of day Saturday at Providence. No. 2 Benet battled back from deficits of 5-0 and 9-6 in the second game of a doubleheader, but the host Celtics scored 4 runs in the top of the seventh for a 13-11 win.
Benet (8-2, 2-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference) took the opener 7-1.
“Nobody ever quit, no matter the score. Both of us battled,” Benet coach Jerry Schilf said. “Providence is a solid team. Getting a split isn’t at all unexpected but kind of disappointing after the way we played the first game.”
Stephanie Abello’s two-out, two-run single tied it 9-9 in the sixth, and Emily York doubled over the third-base bag to bring in the go-ahead run. But the next half-inning freshman Jessica Cothern, who earlier homered, singled to give Providence (8-3, 3-2) back the lead. Maeve Garvey then tacked on a pair of huge insurance runs with a two-run single.
“It was a pretty crazy game,” said Garvey, who drove in 6 runs in the second game. “You just can’t give up. Benet’s a great team.”
Benet didn’t go down without a fight, three walks putting the tying runs on for cleanup hitter Julianne Rurka in the bottom of the seventh. On the first pitch Rurka popped up to end it.
“(The strike zone) was fair for both teams, and as long as it’s consistent you gotta try to adjust to it,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said, “and that’s why you saw the offense you saw. It was tough for the pitchers to get a strike called, and you have two teams that can hit. Benet just kept coming at us.”
Earlier Maeve McGuire and Marissa Panko homered for Benet, Panko’s a two-run shot as the Redwings batted around in a five-run fourth.
In the first game Panko, just weeks removed from hitting her first varsity homer, deposited an 0-2 pitch from Amanda Wilson over the fence in center to give Benet a 2-0 third-inning lead.
Benet, quiet for two innings against Wilson, erupted in the fourth. Abello doubled, York singled her in, Shannon Mills delivered an RBI single and McGuire’s laser double off the fence made it 7-0.
The Redwings adjusted well the second time around to Wilson’s heavy dose of drop balls.
“The first time up, we noticed she had a lot of movement on her ball and so our coach told us to move up in the box,” Panko said. “When one person starts hitting, it gets contagious.”
York (6-3) did the rest. With Benet ace Molly Moran still hobbled by a knee injury, York shut out Fenwick on Tuesday and was strong in Game 1 Saturday. Relying on a strong infield defense, York coaxed 14 groundball outs.
“She has done a phenomenal job for us,” Schilf said. “She came into the year not knowing how much she was going to pitch for us, if she would pitch at all. She had a little bit of soreness a couple weeks ago, but I think the rain helped her. As long as Emily keeps the ball down and lets them put it in play, I think our infield is as good as any around.”
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