Bucks County Herald


Quakertown ekes by CB East


CB East's Stephanie Kugns applies the tag to Quakertown's Jenna Blair in the Panthers' 2-1 triumph.

It’s a shame someone had to lose. Tori Caputo and Giuliana Ruscio both pitched well enough to win.

Each girl threw a complete game and walked just one. Central Bucks East’s Ruscio fanned eight; Quakertown’s Caputo struck out seven and yielded only four hits.

But in the end, Quakertown (3-2) made one more defensive play than host CB East (0-4) in the Panthers’ 2-1 victory on Friday.

“My outside fastball was working,” Caputo said. “We also went with the screwball and the drop. I thought pitching yesterday helped. I was warmed up, ready and had the right mentality.”

Both teams were also backed by their defense; the game didn’t feature a single error.

“Defense is probably our No. 1 strength,” Quakertown head coach Ray Fox said. “That, or having an all-league pitcher back in the circle. Our bats are going to be good. They aren’t there yet. The weather has had something to do with that. But we played solid ‘D’ and pitched well all day.”

Caputo retired the first 10 batters she faced and each pitcher had a one-hitter through four. The scoring broke through in the fifth. Quakertown centerfielder Brianna Lefkoski had a bunt single and stole second.

“I focus on bunting,” said Lefkoski, who also had four putouts in the field. “It helps me get on base.”

Leftfielder Morgan Thrush, who had three extra-base hits in Quakertown’s 15-5 pasting of Upper Dublin last Thursday, singled home Lefkoski and scored on shortstop Abby Schwartz’s two-out single.

“I knew she would throw low or high and I tried to wait on that,” Thrush said. “She threw it down the middle and I swung.”

CB East first baseman Isabel Parker doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Schwartz threw her out at the plate three batters later after a short fly landed in left. It was the difference in the game.

“It was a great play. It just hopped over,” Thrush noted. “There is no way I could have gotten her. Abby came out of nowhere and pegged her.”

Sydney Eckert’s RBI single broke the shutout – she joined Thrush as a 9-hole hitter with an RBI – but Caputo commanded the last two innings to get the “W.”

“The day before, we had fun in practice and we carried it into Thursday’s game and today’s game,” Panthers catcher Halle Frederick shared.

The Panthers are the reigning Suburban One League (SOL) American champions; prior to realignment, they shared the 2015 SOL Continental title.

For the second day in a row, Ruscio pitched well. CB East skipper Karl Knapp feels the bats will come around.

“We’re definitely a better hitting team than what we’ve seen,” Knapp said. “Yesterday, they threw the ball around a bit and, as you can see, they cleaned that up today. We made progress there. Once we hit, I think it will come together.”

Both teams enjoyed a weekend breather before undertaking a busy week. CB East dropped road games at Methacton, 6-0, on Monday and at Pennridge, 2-1, on a walkoff, on Tuesday as part of four games in four days. Fortunately, Ruscio is up for the challenge.

“Last year, she pitched the rest of the season after the first three games and she can do it,” Knapp predicted. “She has the stamina and the arm strength.”

Quakertown fell to Hatboro-Horsham, 10-7, on Tuesday after walloping Wissahickon, 15-1, on Monday. The Hatters are a threat to take the Panthers’ conference crown.

“The No. 1 thing with these kids is that I absolutely love them,” said Fox, who has coached at Quakertown for 51 years but is entering his first as softball skipper. “They are wonderful people and that is part of the reason I took the job.

“I believe in hustling and playing hard,” he added. “I am a defense nut.”

There were zero errors on Friday. The “defense nut” smiled.



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