Bucks County Herald

Softball:

CB South edges Pennridge

DAVID CAMPBELL

Maddie McShane mashes.

The Central Bucks South senior didn’t start last Thursday afternoon’s contest against Suburban One League (SOL) Continental rival Pennridge, but she ended it, lacing a two-out, two-run double to right-center on the first pitch she saw from Rams standout hurler Kailyn Bell in the home half of the seventh inning.

“When I went in,” McShane remembered, “I was like, ‘I just have to relax because it’s my first at-bat back. No matter what happens, I just have to relax.’ And she happened to throw it right in the spot where I like to hit it.”

McShane’s walk-off two-bagger made a winner out of Titans ace Kylie Kenney, who was cruising until the Rams tagged her for five runs in the top of the seventh. Pennridge batted around, with Emily Hegen and Sara Sztenderowicz each knocking in two. Sztenderowicz’s double to center gave the Rams a 5-4 lead.

It was short-lived. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Tara Tumasz singled and Katie Hines walked. Titans head coach Kevin Rosini summoned McShane from his bench to pinch hit. McShane wasn’t expecting to play; Rosini wanted to ease McShane back into the sport after McShane’s long run with the CB South girls’ basketball team concluded in the state final nine days prior.

“Today,” Rosini said, “she was our top hitter off the bench. And the one thing about Maddie is she’s aggressive. Even if she was going to make an out, she was going to be aggressive. And there you have it.”

Final result: 6-5 Titans, in both teams’ first game of the season.

“I was thinking,” said McShane, CB South’s regular catcher, “when my time comes, I just have to be ready – and I was.”

“She’s been at only two or three practices,” Rosini said, “and, to be honest, when she’s hitting in the cage, she’s always got good pop off the bat.”

The Titans finished with 11 hits. Tumasz, Hines, Alexa Ortman and Alex DeLeon each had two. CB South pushed across four runs in the fifth.

The Rams had only one hit – a Bell single to lead off the fourth; she was quickly erased on a 6-3 double play – through six. Pennridge erupted in the seventh.

“These girls play together,” Rams head coach Carol Atkinson said. “They give their heart and soul each time, at practice, in a game. They’re not putting their heads down; they’re staying high. I told them at the end of the game: ‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great game.’ ”

Both teams dipped their toes in the 2017 postseason. Pennridge won its opener at higher-seeded Pennsbury, 5-1, in District One Class AAAAAA action. CB South was shut out at higher-seeded Perkiomen Valley after a first-round bye.

“We have a core group of seniors this year who are out to win,” Atkinson said.

The Rams (3-1) figure to be a tough out for anyone, especially with a lot of pieces back from a breakthrough campaign. In the circle, Bell rang up 11 strikeouts against the Titans and teamed with Makenna Patterson to keep Harry S Truman in check in Pennridge’s 8-5 victory over the Tigers on Friday. Morgan Henry plated three and Hegen scored three for the visiting Rams.

The Titans (3-0) surged past St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, 8-6, on Friday. Hines went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Sophomore classmate Maddie Rowley and McShane each had two hits and scored a pair. Kenney tossed her second complete game in as many days, fanning a dozen.

“We’re a different team this year than we were last year in that we lost a lot of really good players,” Rosini said. “We lost a ton of good players.”

But CB South never seems to be devoid of good players. Last Thursday may have been the perfect way to launch its 2018 season.

“It was definitely a team win,” McShane said. “We had so many games that got postponed (four). We were just excited to play our first game.”

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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