Varsity Softball: Cherokee vs. Eastern 04.13.15
VOORHEES – Monday’s Olympic Conference high school softball showdown wasn’t decided by which team made the biggest play.
Instead, the tight American Division contest between Cherokee, No. 9 in the Courier-Post Top 15, and No. 6 Eastern came down to who could avoid the late mistake.
A single and fielding error pushed Cherokee to a 5-4 win in eight innings.
The Chiefs (3-1, 2-0) jumped out to an early lead in the second inning behind an RBI single from Katie Cumminsky. Two batters later, Brooke Wasco’s double with the bases loaded pushed the advantage to 4-0.
“It was nice to see us come out and hit because we didn’t play well in the (Rancocas Valley Elite Tournament) over the weekend,” Cherokee coach Nicole Lum said. “Against Eastern, a little bit of a lead is never enough.”
Lum knew the home team would fight back. Eastern (4-2, 2-1) chipped away with a run in the third and two more in the sixth.
Up 4-3 in the seventh inning, the Chiefs lost their composure.
Vikings’ first baseman Jess Heaton’s pop fly was dropped to start the inning. Mariah Wysocki’s sacrifice bunt moved Heaton to second.
Heaton, who started in the circle for Eastern, got caught between second and third. She beat out the throw to put the game-tying run 60 feet from the plate.
Rachel Wood’s groundout brought Maddie Morano to the batter’s box. Morano’s clutch single up the middle tied the game at 4-4.
The Vikings had momentum heading into extra innings. However, it didn’t last long.
A leadoff single from Dannie Dinsfriend opened the eighth. Lum put Emily Lozowski in to run.
Samantha Waldman followed and sent a 1-0 pitch to left-center field. The left fielder Morano and center fielder Emily Serata crossed paths with neither coming up with the ball. As it rolled to the fence, Lozowski scored.
“I just knew I needed to relax because if you get tense it’s hard to perform,” Waldman said. “It was a fastball on the outside corner. I got excited (after the error) because I knew our pinch runner would make it home.”
Cherokee pitcher Abbey Scarengelli stranded two in the final half-inning, with a strikeout to end the game.
“It felt great,” Scarengelli said about the complete-game win. “I just knew if I kept my energy up my team would be high on me.”
The loss troubled Eastern coach Laura Stagliano. Her Vikings finished the game with five errors — three more than the Chiefs.
“There was a little bit of miscommunication there,” Stagliano said of the error on the game-winning run. “I liked our fight. But, when you play good team like Cherokee, you can’t give outs away.”
Lum praised the Chiefs but also focused on poor communication that nearly haunted them like it did Eastern. She remembered what she told her bunch as the game moved to extra innings.
“I told them a win at this point would be even sweeter,” Lum said.
Judging by Cherokee’s wild celebration after Scarengelli’s final strikeout, the coach was right.
Mark Trible can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mtrible.
• Player of the game : Cherokee pitcher Abbey Scarengelli. The sophomore got the complete game win, allowing six hits and two earned runs.
• Play of the game : Cherokee junior Samantha Waldman’s single to left-center field was misplayed in the top of the eighth inning, allowing Emily Lozowski to score the game-winning run.
• Well said : “I liked our fight. But, when you play good team like Cherokee, you can’t give outs away.” — Eastern coach Laura Stagliano