TOWAMENCIN — The North Penn softball team has lost three games this season due to errors, both of commission and also of omission.
But maybe things are starting to turn around for the Maidens. They got a big two-out hit from Jo Alfonsi, a beneficial call at home plate and beat Hatboro-Horsham 3-2 in eight innings.
"In our three losses, that's the way we lost," North Penn coach Rick Torresani said. "We made errors and we didn't make the big play."That's how we lost. Today, it reversed itself."
It happened like this: the Hatters took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning and the Maidens came right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 2-2.
Then, for the next two innings, neither team could mount a sustainable offense so the game was still tied at two after seven innings.
Hatboro-Horsham got a runner on in the top of the eighth, advancing her to second base. But she died there after two pop outs.
In the North Penn half of the frame, Becky Christoffers reached on an error and got to second on Vicky Tumasz' infield hit. Alfonsi ended the game, ripping a single to right-center to score Christoffers with the winning run.
However, it wasn't quite that cut and dried. Christoffers slid into home and appeared to be tagged out but the Hatter catcher bobbled the ball and the game was over.
"I think it was a curve," said Alfonsi of the pitch she hit. "You just have to drive the ball.
"That's what we're here to do. We're trying our hardest. If we keep working toward it, we'll get there."
Torresani also juggled his lineup against the Hatters. Tumasz started the game in the circle with Jackie Bilotti playing shortstop and Christoffers, who started last year behind the plate and played short against Souderton last week, was in center field.
"That's what we're going to do," Torresani said of the pitching switch of Tumasz for Bilotti. "We're going to do that because we have so many games.
"We have two this week and then four and four (the next two weeks). I'm not going to beat Jackie up to where, when playoffs come, she's not ready."
Alfonsi, in addition to her game-winning hit, handled the catching duties for both Tumasz and Bilotti.
"They were pretty good today," she said of her pitchers. "They were on point. A couple of them slipped and they got out there but we have a pretty good defense to back us up."
One of the ones that "slipped' was a home run hit by Hatboro-Horsham's Daria Edwards in the fifth inning. It sliced through the wind and over the fence in left-center.
It came right after Bilotti had replaced Tumasz in the circle. Tumasz had retired the first two batters in the inning but then walked Meg Hallack on four pitches.
"I made a bad call on a pitch," Torresani, who calls all the pitches from the bench, said. "She (Edwards) was looking for it and she's a good hitter."
Alfonsi wouldn't throw her coach under the bus, however. She refused to say who made a bad call.
"The pitch hung in there and she just got a hold of it," the sophomore catcher said. "But you've just got to keep fighting until the end."
Except for the singles by Tumasz and Alfonsi in the eighth inning, the Maidens had lots of trouble with Hatter pitcher Lexi Campbell. North Penn only managed five hits in the game.
"We weren't hitting the ball," said Torresani. "We're used to a little bit faster pitching.
"She had good movement. But we weren't willing to take the ball to the right side on her curve."
He also said that injuries were part of the reason for the different lineup.
"Our left fielder, in a collision on Friday, tore her ACL,' he said. "So she's out."One of our second basemen, her kneecap (was dislocated). And then we're still waiting for Erin (Maher) to come back."
Maher has been on crutches for at least the last two weeks.
The Hatters' scoring was quick and efficient. After Hallack walked, Bilotti got the count to 2-1 and then Edwards belted her homer.
North Penn's scoring was much more complicated.
Alfonsi walked to open the fifth inning. She went to second when Alyssa Shoulberg bounced out to third.
Lauren Schwartz walked to put Maidens on first and second. Alexa Sinn sacrificed both runners up one base.
Then Bilotti bounced to the HH shortstop, who booted the ball, which loaded the bases. Lauren Ostopowicz also bounced to short and she threw the ball over the head of the Hatter first baseman and both Alfonsi and Schwartz scored.
Both North Penn runs scored without the benefit of a hit.
That set the stage for Alfonsi and Christoffers in the bottom of the eighth.
North Penn 3, Hatboro-Horsham 2
Hatboro-Horsham 000 020 00 — 2 7 3
North Penn 000 020 01 — 3 5 0
WP: Jackie Bilotti (NP) 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
LP: Lexi Campbell (HH) 8 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
2B: Jenn Cader (HH).
Multiple Hits: HH -- Meg Hallack 2-3, 1R; Daria Edward 2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI.