Upper Perk's Lynsey Quinn makes it safely across homeplate as the ball gets away from the Phoenixville catcher in Monday's PAC-10 game at Upper Perk.
Upper Perk softball took the lead early and fought tooth-and-nail to stay ahead in a tight contest for a 6-5 win against Phoenixville (7-9) Monday.
After allowing a run in the top of the first, the Lady Indians (3-12) exploded offensively in the bottom of the inning. After being walked to first, Casey Umstead proceeded to take second on a Lynsey Quinn bunt and then steal third. Umstead scored Upper Perk’s first run on a groundout at first.
Angel Pierson hit one down the first baseline, getting on base with the help of an error, while Quinn booked it home, just sliding past Phoenixville catcher Court Panepinto for a second run. Pierson would go on to steal second and third before scoring the Tribe’s third run.
The team’s improvement in reading the pitcher and fielders was was visible in the first inning.
“We work on running the bases a lot in practice,” Head Coach Walt Schmidt said. “We’re also working on timing the pitch, the release of the pitcher, and they’re picking that up real well. It’s something they can really be aggressive with.”
This was also a markedly different team defensively than the one that started the season. Senior Pitcher Meagan Quinn kept the ball low and fast over the plate and the fielders were getting under the ball and making the throws to first like clockwork.
“That’s the thing that’s helping us most,” Schmidt said. “They’re anticipating where the play is. They’re more into the game and attuned.”
Quinn’s pitching stayed consistent through the bulk of the game, too.
“I kind of have a routine I have to stick to,” she said afterward. “I just kind of have to, in my head, visualize where the ball should go. It’s mainly just thinking that, ‘I’m in the circle. It’s mine. I own it.’”
In the sixth inning, though, the well-oiled defensive machine was starting to slow down.
Phoenixville had scored another run in the third to come within a point of Upper Perk. Now in the sixth, the Lady Indians had started out the inning with an out at first, but the elder Quinn dropped the ball off a light hit from Phoenixville’s Kelly Knapp and was unable to make the throw to first in time. Knapp was thrown out attempting to steal second on the next pitch.
Quinn walked the next batter, and Phoenixville followed that up with a grounder to second from Panepinto. Both runners advanced safely as the ball clunked audibly off of Lynsey Quinn’s knee. A fly ball to right field sent one runner home to tie things up, but the Tribe bounced back after a talk with Coach Schmidt and ended the top of the sixth with an out at first.
As if to make a statement, the girls came back with a fury in the bottom of the inning with some major hits. First Lynsey Quinn redeemed herself with a hit to deep center, stealing second a few pitches later. Then Smith made it safely to first on a pop-up that Phoenixville second baseman Jamie Deni couldn’t quite nab.
Later, Meagan Quinn rocketed one into deep right for a triple, sending her sister and Smith home. She went on to score when shortstop Gianna Bliss dove for a pop-up from Mackenzie Lederer, which popped out of her glove.
The Phantoms weren’t done yet, though. In the top of the seventh, Quinn’s pitching started to fatigue, throwing seven low pitches in a row. That led Smith to call time-out to run out to the pitching circle for a chat. Whatever she said must have worked, because the next three found their way back into the strike zone.
But an overthrown toss to first put a runner on second, and a triple that followed netted another run for the Phantoms. Phoenixville would score one more run, bringing it to 6-5, before Lederer made the catch on a fly ball to center field to close out the game.
After the game, Meagan Quinn said it felt good to know that a lot of hard work throughout the season was paying off.
And Coach Schmidt seemed to agree.
“A win is a win and they’ve been working real hard and they deserve it,” he said.