LYONS — Brandywine Heights' Taylor Sweigart knew her team had what it took to knock off undefeated Daniel Boone in the Berks Conference title game.
The first inning proved it.
Sweigart smashed a two-run, inside-the-park home run while fellow freshman Savanna Ruppert pitched a four-hit shutout as the Bullets came on top in a pitcher's duel, winning 2-0 and claiming their first Berks Conference title since 2009.
"I don't have any words for it,' Sweigart said. "It feels amazing.'
Like Sweigart, Daniel Boone head coach Traci Huddleson and the Blazers were rendered speechless following the loss. However, despite failing to garner the team's first Berks Conference title since 2012, earning second place in front of a loyal community was all they could of asked for.
"To be here, playing with this amazing crowd and fantastic support from our whole community, it was great,' Huddleson said. "They earned the right to be here today. We're proud of them.'
"Yeah, we lost, but we placed second and that's all anyone could ever ask for; to still be playing in the county game right now,' junior pitcher Bekah Slattery said.
After giving up the homer to Sweigart in the first, Slattery was masterful inside the circle. The left-hander struck out 14, including five straight through the first and third innings while allowing only three hits. After the first, Slattery retired the side in order in five of the next six innings and gave up one hit in that span, a single to Amanda Hess who finished the game with a game-high two hits.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, their offense was crippled by misfortune at the wrong times. Maggie Koch was thrown out at second after a pop-up by Cara Shackleford was dropped by the third baseman, Gabby Willman hit a liner right to the second baseman during a hit-and-run that resulted in a double play to end the fourth and Nicole Kovach had a would-be triple snared away by Sweigart who climbed the ladder to end the sixth.
"We hit the ball, just right to them,' said Slattery, who was robbed by Ruppert's glove on a comebacker in the first inning. "It happens.'
"Our offense did a great job swinging the bat today,' Huddleson said. "Brandywine made the plays. They had some unbelievable catches and those were game-changing moments. Our hits just didn't go through. Not much you can do.'
None of those catches were bigger than Sweigart's in the sixth. With Daniel Boone's Megan Piccarreta on first after a walk, Kovach, who hit the game-winning single in the Blazers' victory in the semifinal, laced a hard liner that had eyes to roll to the 265-foot pole in right. Sweigart, who believed she mistimed her jump, went up to new heights, snaring the would-be triple and effectively ended any Blazer scoring threat.
The defense came up big for the Bullets again in the seventh as Taylor Brintzenhoff, after a Savannah Toth single and Willman flyout to right, gobbled up a hard-hit grounder by Koch and turned a 6-3 double play to end the game and commence the celebration.
"It was incredible just to be able to help my teammates out with infield and hitting,' Sweigart said. "We told each other to never give up, even if we were down, to just keep fighting. We told each other that we could do it.
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