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High School Softball:
Lenape Has Little Problem With Cherokee

Thursday, April 8, 1999

By Greg Alvord
SJSports Staff Writer

Here on a beautiful, sunny spring afternoon, two long time rivals squared off in an Olympic Conference contest. Lenape (1-1) and Cherokee (0-2) have a rivalry that compares to such foes as Muhammad Ali vs. Smoking Joe Frazier, Captain Ahab vs. Moby Dick or the Phillies vs. the Mets. This day's game belonged to Lenape as they played to a 14-3 victory.

Both teams scored a run apiece in the first inning. Jen VanHorn wasted no time to get the action started for Lenape as she ripped the 1st pitch of the ball game to center for a single. One out later, Emika Himes smashed a double to right center scoring VanHorn. The Chiefs answered in the bottom of the inning, as they loaded the bases with two outs. After a leadoff single by Nikki Melchiorre, Lenape pitcher Erica Muller walked the next two batters. Lori Miller scarified the run home on a hard grounder.

The Indians struck right back to regain the lead in the second inning. With two outs, Missy Evans, VanHorn and Laura Vavricka all singled to plate the go ahead run. Maggie Moorley singled to lead off the second for Cherokee. Then a classic short to second to first double play by Lenape would have made Larry Bowa and Dave Cash proud.

The third through fifth innings belonged to the Indians as they outscored Cherokee 8-2. The highlights of the third were the opportunistic play by the Indians as Muller beat out an infield single. Next Kiren Gilletto struck out, but ran to first when the catcher dropped the ball. Gilletto beat the throw and teammate Melissa Hirschlein hustled around from second to score just ahead of the throw. Missy Evans followed the play with a screaming line double to right center for the RBI.

Vavricka, Emika Himes and Hirschlein banged out singles to lead off the fourth inning. After a Cherokee pitching change that saw Jen Russo be replaced by MariEllen Singley, Lenape went right back to hitting. Muller roped a 2-run single to finish the scoring for Lenape in the inning. Muller kept the pressure on the Chiefs as she pitched a 1,2,3 bottom of the inning, using different speed pitches that the Chiefs just could not time. The Indians kept scoring in the next inning when Vavricka doubled home Evans who had singled. A controversial infield single by Jesse Mark scored Vavricka. Then a play that sparked life into Cherokee took place. Mellisa Hirschlein ripped a double into the gap in left center. Swift-footed centerfielder Melchiorre chased the ball down and rifled the ball to home on a line which Loren Arnsberg applied the tag on Mark to get the Chiefs out of the inning. When Cherokee got up to bat, Molley Ahern and Melchiorre walked. After a strikeout, Kirsteen Wyche singled to load the bases. A sacrificed fly and a RBI single by Singley produced two runs for the Chiefs before Muller struck out the next batter.

The final inning erased any comeback hopes that Cherokee had. The Indians posted four more runs to dash their hopes. Erica Muller picked up the win for Lenape as the Indians out hit the Chiefs 17-4 on the day. VanHorn, Vavricka, Himes, Mark, Hirschlein and Muller each had multiple hit games for Lenape. Melchiorre was 2-3 for the Chiefs. Lenape now stands at 2-1, while Cherokee falls to an uncharacteristic 0-3.

Photos by Greg Alvord

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