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South Jersey Softball:
Pennsauken Offense Comes Alive in Series Opener

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

By Gary Steiner
SJSports Staff Writer

After having tied each other in their final regular season game a week ago, Pennsauken traveled to Stratford for the two teams to play in the opening round of the SJGSA Junior American Division playoffs. Pennsauken had clinched home field advantage in this best-of-three series with the tie.

Pitcher Jesse McFerren sent Pennsauken down in order in the first innning. Stratford quickly got on the board when Megan McCleary led off with a triple, then scored on a passed ball.

In the second inning, Pennsauken opened things up, first when Annie Bilinsky scored on an RBI single by Krissy Rup, then Krystal Wilhelm came home on a passed ball. Then Rup and Stephanie Sylvia would come home on bases loaded walks by Ashley Keich and Randi Beatrice, making it 4-1. Pennsauken then would hold Stratford scoreless in their half of the inning, aided by a double play from Rup to Vanna Wortham at first base when the bases were loaded.

In the third inning, Pennsauken scored two more when Bilinsky came home on an RBI single by Sylvia, followed by Wilhelm on a passed ball. Stratford then responded with three runs when McFerren scored on a passed ball, followed by Christian Riker who came home on an RBI double from Denise Spurio who later scored on a passed ball.

Pennsauken's offense would continue in the fourth, when Beatrice singled then scored off of Wortham's double, who then came home on an error. Wilhelm scored when Eileen Gottshalk was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Stratford then responded with three runs of their own, first when McCleary singled then came home on a double by Riker. This was followed by a 2 RBI double from Spurio, which drove home Audrey Mayo (who had walked) and Riker. This kept it close at 9-7 Pennsauken.

In the fifth, more offense from Pennsauken with a double by Keich who scored on a double by Beatrice. Beatrice then came home on a passed ball. Then Christina Tofani walked, and later scored on a passed ball. Wilhelm would hit an RBI single that scored Bilinsky, and a passed ball allowed her to score the 5th run of the inning. Gottshalk then came in to pitch in relief, and sent Stratford down in order.

Pennsauken scored two more in the sixth. First Nikki Veitz walked, moved up when Kristen Green singled, then scored on a fielder's choice. Green scored off a single by Beatrice, who was thrown out at the plate trying to steal home. Stratford was again held scoreless, this time by some good fielding from Pennsauken's infield.

For the final inning, Pennsauken's bats kept up the heat. Wortham, Bilinsky, Wilhelm, Rup, Sylvia, and Keich all scored, with Keich and Tofani both hitting RBI singles. This put Pennsauken up 23-7. Stratford made one last valiant effort in the bottom half of the inning. First Ashley Taylor walked. Then Jesse Sosna struck out, but got to first base on the passed ball with which Taylor also scored. Then Kelsey McGowan hit an RBI single, followed by singles from Linda Shaw and McCleary. McGowan then came home on a fielder's choice. McFerren followed with a 2 RBI single. But the game would finally end when Riker hit a liner into a 1-3 double play. Final score, Pennsauken 23, Stratford 12.

The two teams will meet again for game two of this series on Friday in Pennsauken at 6:15 PM.

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Photos by Boog Williams

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