Villa Maria tops Unionville, 1-0
● By Steven Hoffman
With Maddie Frich in the circle for Unionville and Alyssa Viscardo in the circle for Villa Maria, both teams played with a sense of urgency because they knew that runs would be hard to come by during their game on April 23.
So when Unionville’s Analise Griffiths led off the bottom of the first inning with a double that dropped just inside the right field line, it was no surprise that she quickly stole third base. Madeline Boorse walked, and then she quickly swiped second base, putting runners at second and third before the Villa Maria pitcher had retired a batter.
But Viscardo showed why she’s one of the toughest pitchers in the area, coaxing a pop up to first base and then striking out two hitters to keep the Indians off the scoreboard.
In the second inning, Avery Jones and Griffiths hit back-to-back singles with two outs. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, but Viscardo once again came up with a big strikeout to keep the game scoreless.
Frich, meanwhile, was doing her part to make this an interesting pitchers’ duel―she kept Villa Maria’s hitters off-balance with a good assortment of pitches. Frich surrendered a single in the first, a walk in the second, and a single in the fourth, but Villa Maria couldn’t get a runner into scoring position. Unionville played good defense, too. One highlight was a diving stop by second baseman Amanda Panati in the third inning. Panati made a nice backhand flip to get Marissa Bruder at first base.
Villa Maria made some good plays defensively, too. Left fielder Emma Holyoke made an incredible running catch on a ball hit into the gap by Anna Deshaies. It would have been a certain double to start Unionville’s third inning had it dropped in.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning. Villa Maria put its leadoff hitter on when Emma Woodcock walked. She advanced to second on a groundout. Villa Maria’s Alison Bedics then dropped a bunt. Bedics beat the throw at first base as Woodcock raced around third and tried to score on the play. Unionville first baseman Jane Dreher threw the ball to catcher Grace Salisbury in plenty of time to tag the runner out at the plate. Bruder singled next, moving Bedics to third. Bruder promptly attempted to steal second, and when she was safe there Bedics raced home to give Villa Maria a 1-0 lead.
Armed with a lead, Viscardo did what good pitchers do―she shut down the opposition, retiring Unionville in the order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. She whiffed the final two hitters of the game to close out the 1-0 victory. On the day, Viscardo struck out nine batters, passing the 100-strikeout mark on the season in just her eighth start.
Unionville’s record is 8-5 after the game against Villa Maria. The team will take on Downingtown East on May 3.