Butler tosses four innings of one-hit ball in 11-1 Avon Grove win
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
It was Senior Day at the Avon Grove softball field on May 1, and the efforts of seniors Megan Nolan and Kelly Murphy yielded a combined linescore of four singles and two runs. Yet it was the one-hit pitching of their teammate, Rachel Butler, and the knock-around hitting throughout the lineup that did the most damage in an 11-1, abbreviated victory over Octorara.
After surrendering a lead-off double to Brooke King in the first inning, Butler was unhittable through the next four innings, surrendering the Braves' only run to Morgan Lee in the fourth inning, who advanced to third on an outfield error, and scored on an infield grounder.
Meanwhile, the usual hitting suspects for Avon Grove muddied up the scorecard with a 14-hit assault that pelted Octorara starter Mackenzie Combs for one run in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Nolan led off the first with a bunt single, stole second on the next pitch, and scored easily on a triple to right center by Allyson Wallauer.
In the second inning, Murphy singled to left, advanced to third on a double by Megan Kristman to right center, and scored on an infield single by Carly Ramon. Kristman then came across the plate on a wild pitch by Combs.
In the top of the fifth, Butler surrendered pitching duties to Lexi Barnhart, who gave up one hit while holding the Braves scoreless.
Holding a comfortable 6-1 lead at the start of the fifth inning, the Red Devils unleashed a six-hit, five-run assault that began with consecutive hits by Olivia Kunitsky, Camryn Laterza, Murphy, Maddie VanSciver and Ramon. After Nolan reached on a fielder's choice, a double by Morgan DeFeo drove in VanSciver and Ramon.
Barnhart's comeback grounder to Combs was picked up by the pitcher, who tossed to catcher Haley Arnsberger, who put the tag on a sliding Nolan at home. Later, an infield pop-up by Kunitsky was bobbled, sending DeFeo home for Avon Grove's 11th run, which then enacted the ten-run 'mercy' rule.
With just three losses on the season, Avon Grove is in third place in the Ches-Mont National Division, with a crucial game against division leader Coatesville on May 8.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.