NEWTOWN — The thinking was if the Council Rock North softball team was going to beat Pennsbury on Friday, April 25, it probably would have to outslug the Falcons.
As it turned out, it was anything but that type of game as the Indians (6-5) used nearly a mistake free defense and the dominating relief pitching of sophomore Amanda Camp to defeat Pennsbury, 4-3.
"Amanda Camp has just been amazing for us," said CR North head coach Hollie Woddard. "She just has this way of getting kids to hit ground balls - ground balls and popups; nobody hits anything hard and clean off her."
The win over the Falcons was the first for Rock's starting pitcher Hannah Mumber.
"This is a huge win for me," said Mumber.
"It feels great to finally beat them and to have done that before I graduate."
The Indians' win is just the second win over the Falcons for Coach Woodard, who once played for Pennsbury head coach Frank McSherry.
The game started like it might be a high-scoring affair when Rock North scored twice in the bottom of the first inning against Falcon junior righthander Casey Boltersdorf.
Headed to Notre Dame University, Bailey Bigler got it started with a triple to right center. She also scored on the play when Pennsbury threw the ball away at third. No. 2 batter Nicole Rounsavill then singled and scored one out later on an RBI single by starting pitcher Heather Mumber.
Rock North upped its lead to 3-0 in the second inning when Kelly Harrison was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by No. 9 batter Tatum Kelly.
In its only sustained offense of the entire game, Pennsbury tied it with three runs in the third. An error opened the door, followed by a triple by No. 9 batter Nikki Naylor. Three batters later, Dani Litwin tied it up with a smoked two-run double.
It was at this point Woodard summoned Camp to the circle.
"She came in and she shut them down; she did fabulous," added Mumber, of the effort by Camp. "She's developing into such a great pitcher; I see her improving every day."
Bolsterdorf also really settled in and gave up no hits over her last four innings of work to finish with a three-hitter and seven strikeouts. It was the Pennsbury defense that let her down in the fourth inning on a play that started with a ground ball to third base.
With Harrison standing on second after drawing a one-out walk and stealing second base, Taylor Amazeen hit a harmless grounder to third base that was swallowed up by Falcons third baseman Mia Pitt.
Pennsbury got the runner out at first, but then threw the ball back to third with Harrison nearly already at the bag after breaking from second. When the throw got away and rolled out of play, Harrison trotted home.
“That was more us taking advantage of opportunities," explained Woodard. "By her (Harrison) sliding hard at third, that's a younger third baseman (Mia Pitt), she pulled up a little bit, took her eye off the ball and the ball goes out of play.
"It's doing everything right and being able to capitalize by forcing them to make a clean play."
"In this situation, she (Pitt) wasn't able to do it so we were able to get that run."
Although no one could have known it at the time, this proved to be the deciding run.
"We know when we're in a close game, we need to score any way we possibly can," stated Mumber. "We like to keep our energy up and be aggressive on the basepaths."
The last time – if ever – Pennsbury was 5-7, Richard Nixon was probably the president. Incredibly, unless they start playing better, the Falcons might really struggle to get a berth in the districts. Rock North may also end up on the bubble, but the win over Pennsbury may prove to be a huge step towards making the playoffs.
The win over the Falcons finished a 2-2 week for the Indians that started with a 5-3 triumph over SOL Continental Conference rival CB East.
"Every day, it's a different thing that we're doing right," stated Woodard. "We're starting to pool all the aspects of our game together."
"Yesterday was a big offensive day. Today, we got a great pitching effort and did some good base running things. Hopefully, by next week, we'll put them all together and cruise into that last week with a lot of wins."
In between the victory over the Patriots and the Falcons win, the Rock dropped a pair of games to SOL National rivals William Tennent and CR South.
With a senior-dominated lineup, the Lady Indians know it's not how you start, it's how you finish, however, said Woodard.
"When we've lost, we've recovered quickly and gone on to the next game," the coach said. "What matters at the end is who's going to be above .500 in this league.
"If you are above .500, you're going to get in the playoffs because this is the hardest league in the state."
With the loss, Pennsbury dropped to two games behind William Tennent in the Suburban One National League standings and 5-7 overall. Rock North improved to 6-5 overall and at 4-4, is three games out of first place in the SONL.
BucksLocalSports.com Editor Steve Sherman contributed to this news piece.
Council Rock North 4, Pennsbury 3
(April 25 at CR North)
Pennsbury (5-7) 003 000 0 - 3 4 2
CR North (6-5) 210 100 x - 4 3 1
WP-Camp. LP-Boltersdorf (5-6). 2B-Link (P), Litwin (P). 3B-Naylor (P), Bigler (CRN). RBIs: P-Litwin 2, Naylor. CRN-Kelly.