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Quakertown bats overwhelm St. Hubert in PIAA opener


The Quakertown softball team made its state tournament debut on Monday.

It was a pretty impressive first effort.

The Panthers took just five innings to defeat St. Hubert, 12-0, in a PIAA Class 6A opening round game at Archbishop Ryan’s Andy Hafele Memorial Field.

Quakertown threw the gauntlet right away, getting four runs in the top of the first inning highlighted by a pair of RBI singles by Syd Andrews and Grace Baker.

The Panthers had a five-run explosion in the third inning, capped by Ava Beal’s three-run ground rule double, an RBI single by Cadence Lewis and Emma Hilton’s RBI sacrifice fly.

A solo home run in the fourth inning by Baker and an RBI double by Andrews in the fifth helped cap off the day for the Panthers.

“I felt like we really made a statement,” Baker said. “This is our first time here and I think we impressed everyone. We showed that we belong here.

“I’m a sophomore but it’s really my first year because of the pandemic, and that’s really crazy. I don’t think anyone expected us to get this far. We have four starting freshmen and they’re amazing. They always pull through, everyone on our team always pulls through.”

When Baker’s homer went over the center field fence, her name went down in Quakertown history as the first person to hit a home run at states.

“That’s pretty cool,” she said.

Andrews, a junior, tossed a one-hitter, striking out 12 and not issuing a walk, facing just one batter over the minimum.

“It’s very exciting to get to states and be the first team in school history to get here,” Andrews said. “The fact that we have so many younger players and we’re still making all this happen is very exciting as well. I think we felt pretty confident. We’ve been playing pretty well and we thought if we just played the way we always did then we’d be fine, and we were.

“It’s very important for me to try to contribute on offense as well as with pitching because I’m one of the older ones on the team and I consider myself a leader to the less experienced girls so the fact that I’m playing well makes them feel confident that they can play well.”

She went 4-for-4 at the plate.

Andrews got her 200th strikeout of the season in the District One third-place game, a 12-3 loss to Haverford.

“That was exciting,” said Andrews, who has verbally committed to play at Neumann University, where she hopes to study physical therapy. “That’s the kind of stat I look forward to. I like getting my strikeouts.”

Four freshmen start for the Panthers; Lewis in left field, shortstop Beal, second baseman Skyler Williams and first baseman Mary Wilkinson.

“There’s a lot of pressure to be a freshman and starting but it’s all right,” Beal said. “If you make a mistake, you just have to forget about it and move on. It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s really exciting, too.”

Quakertown (20-5), the District One fourth-place team, advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals, where the opponent will be District One sixth-place team Pennsbury (22-3), a 6-1 winner over District Three titlist Warwick.

The two met in the District One quarterfinals, a 5-2 win for Quakertown.

“We had a really good game with Pennsbury but we beat them, so I think we can do it again,” Beal said.

Hilton, Williams and Katie Muller each got a base hit for Quakertown.

St. Hubert, the District 12 champion, ends the year 8-6.