Abington and William Tennent came into their Suburban One National Conference clash on Monday afternoon with two different mindsets. Tennent was intent on keeping it's perfect league record (now 4-0) intact, while Abington was more focused on getting back on track after a slow start (1-3). Only the Panthers got what they came for.
The Ghosts led early, but a three-run fourth and solid outing by Nikki Alden gave Tennent a 5-4 win and a 4-0 start to the league campaign. Alden allowed just one run over seven innings and struck out four on the mound, while scoring a run and hitting in an RBI double at the dish. The Panthers were clutch when they needed to be and that's what mattered most.
"I thought we did things really well in the second half of the game, I didn't think we were sharp early,' Tennent coach Biz Keeny said. "In the beginning of the game we were, at best, shoddy on defense, but on the flip side of that, we hit when we needed to hit and ran the bases fairly well.'
Abington scored four runs in the first four innings, but three of them were a result of defensive miscues. The Ghosts jumped out ahead early when third baseman Nicolette Ray crushed a double to center field and then scored on an error. After failing to score in the second, Ray knocked in a run with a single in the third and Abington was out to a 2-0 with pitcher Lizzie Lloyd throwing the ball well.
"I think we just did not execute when we needed to,' Abington coach Ellie White said. "We should have gotten a bunt down in the first and we didn't. There were some other instances when we were called upon to execute and we didn't. We also didn't talk to each other in the field and play defense like we normally do, and I think that hurt us in the end.'
The Panthers are off to a dream start this season and that has as much to do with the offense as it does with Alden. Although Lloyd tripped them up the first time through the lineup, they made adjustments and got on the board in the third.
Sara Keeny led the inning off with a single and was later knocked in by a booming double from Alden. Laura Petri then roped a two-out RBI single and the game was knotted at 2-2.
Abington, however, is a better team than its record suggests. In typical fashion, the Ghosts remained focused and went back to work in the top of the fourth. Jade Sowell and Aubrey Cataldi had an RBI single each to put their team back on top 4-2. One of the base runners who scored was on via an error, but Abington simply took advantage of what was handed to it.
"We just go out and keep playing hard,' White said. "I have a group of great kids who just like to go out and play the game. We go out and work hard every day. At some point I'd like to think we will get the winning streak going, but until then we will just keep working.'
Even after going down by a pair of runs for a second time, the Panthers showed their resilience. Kate O'Toole led the fourth off with a triple to right-center and was subsequently driven in by a Casey McMahan RBI single. Three batters later, shortstop Jackie Heim provided the eventual game-winning double that plated two runs. The Panthers were up 5-4 and never relinquished the lead.
"I told the girls that you have to be able to play these kinds of games,' Keeny said. "It's not going to be 12-10, it's not going to be 2-0. We hit when we had to and had a lot of girls get key hits. We had a good approach at the plate.'
Alden made sure of that. Tennent's ace sparkled in the final three innings, allowing just one hit and tallying half of her strikeout total. Although it was not perfect by any stretch, it was a good win that helped continue the Panthers' growth in confidence.
"We are getting better and they like to compete,' Keeny said of his squad. "In this league, you are going to get challenged every day. You are going to have to compete all the time. We just have to keep doing the things we are capable of doing. Overall, I was pleased with the way they played today.'
Abington ab r h bi Tennent ab r h bi
Gosselin cf 4 1 1 0 Keeny 2b 3 0 1 0
Monterosso ss 4 0 0 0 Heim ss 3 1 1 2
Ray 3b 3 1 1 1 Alden p 3 1 1 1
Worek 2b 3 0 0 0 Petri lf 3 0 2 1
Gormley lf 3 0 1 0 Delagol 3b 3 0 0 0
DeCarlo 1b 3 1 1 0 O'Toole cf 3 1 2 0
Sowell DP 3 1 1 1 Govan c 3 0 0 0
Washington rf 1 0 0 0 McMahan 1b 3 1 1 1
Cataldi c 3 0 1 1 Ledford rf 3 1 1 0
Lloyd p 0 0 0 0
Totals: 27 4 6 3 Totals: 27 5 9 5
2B: Ray; Alden, Heim; 3B: O'Toole
Abington 101 200 0—4
William Tennent 002 300—5
ip h r er bb k
Lloyd (L) 6 9 5 5 0 3
Alden (W) 7 6 4 1 0 4