Despite 8-4 defeat, Kennett's Ebaugh rings up 12 Ks
● By Richard Gaw
While Kennett High School students enjoyed the first day of their Spring break – and likely a few had escaped to warmer climates for the week – the school's varsity softball team took on Downingtown West on April 15 in weather conditions that could most delicately be described as frigid, but most accurately thought of as sublimely frozen.
While the scattered few in the stands and the players in the dugout sat huddled in blankets against the unforgiving cold, they watched the visiting Whippets defeat the Blue Demons 8-4, on the strength of three hits by catcher Cait Coker and the lights-out relief pitching by Natalie Beebe, who tossed four innings of shutout ball that lifted the team's record to 8-1, placing them atop the Ches-Mont standings.
They also witnessed the continuing emergence of freshman pitcher Genevieve Ebaugh who, despite absorbing the loss, gutted her way through seven innings and registered 12 strikeouts.
Despite Ebaugh striking out the side, Kennett was touched for two “freebie” runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Coker walked, stole second and moved the third on a single by Taylor Posner. Coker came in on a wild pitch, who was followed by Posner, who scored on a passed ball that gave the Whippets a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second, D-West tacked on three more runs in their half of the third inning. A walk to Meghan Sinkus was followed by Coker's single and a walk to Posner that loaded the bases. Sinkus scored on a passed ball, Coker came in on a single by Morgan DeFreitas and Posner scored the Whippets' fifth run on a ground out by Beebe. In the top of the fourth, Coker lined a two-out double, and scored when the throw to nab her steal attempt of third was overthrown.
The Blue Demons mounted their only offensive effort in the bottom of the third, when they touched D-West starter Audrey Wright for four runs on five hits that began with an overturned call on an infield grounder by Jordan Barish, which was followed by three consecutive hits by Amber Kahrs, Shannon Harvey and Ebaugh. After Ainsley Albert reached base on an outfield error and Hannah Slicer singled in the Blue Demons' fourth run of the inning, the Whippets got out of the inning on a double play in the infield.
Replacing Wright in the fourth, Beebe ripped off four scoreless frames against Kennett and surrendered just two consecutive singles by Barish and Kahrs in the seventh. On the offensive side of the Whippets' ledger, the club scored twice in their sixth on a walk to Carly Grandizio and singles by Sinkus and Coker.
With the loss, Kennett fell to 5-3, but remains in the thick of the Ches-Mont standings, trailing D-West, East, Bishop Shanahan and Downingtown East. The Blue Demons take on East at home on April 17, and travel to Avon Grove on April 22. Downingtown West travels to Bayard Rustin on April 17 and returns home to face Boyertown on April 18.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.