Robbinsville falls to Pa. powerhouse
What was billed as an interstate matchup between softball superpowers more than lived up to the hype when Robbinsville pushed talented Pennsbury (Pa.) into extra innings but in the end came up just short, 3-1, on Saturday night.
Junior Lauren Fischer looked to feel the effects of an eight-day layoff as the talented pitcher struggled to find the strike zone early for the Ravens. Pennsbury would load the bases in the top half of the first and the second innings, but aided by some fantastic defense by Christine Levering -- including several diving stops and a heads up play to cut a runner down at the plate with the bases juiced in the first -- Fischer would strand six runners and limit the damage to just one run.
The score stayed 1-0 Falcons until Nicole Piet singled to center, chasing home Kerry Curran who had started the rally with a knock of her own in the bottom of the fifth. Robbinsville would manage to load the bases but it was Pennsbury’s Val Buehler who played the role of Houdini this time, retiring Robbinsville cleanup hitter Rebecca Freeman to keep the score tied at 1-1.
It would take 10 innings and the application of the European rules that place a runner on second to start the inning before Fischer would finally blink. The hard-throwing righty had been on cruise control, retiring 14-straight before Pennsbury used some small ball to get a runner to third and freshman Christina Bascara picked her up with the biggest hit of the night, a two-strike double that plated Obert McKenzie to make it 2-1.
The Falcons would tack on an insurance run and Robbinsville just couldn’t get the big hit it needed in the bottom of the inning, 3-1 Pennsbury would take home bragging rights for the state of Pennsylvania.
Robbinsville recently had its streak of 37 wins snapped by Allentown and against one of the best teams in Pennsylvania, showed why it has become the top team in Mercer County and one of the best programs in the entire state of New Jersey. If not for a couple bounces here and there, or if they could have gotten just one timely hit, the very talented Ravens squad could have easily upended Pennsbury, a perennial powerhouse in Pennsylvania softball.
It was certainly not the outcome the Ravens had hoped for in front of a packed house at Tantum Field in Robbinsville, but they will now turn their attention to the Mercer County Tournament where the Ravens own a top seed and a first round bye. Robbinsville will begin defense of its NJSIAA Group II title starting May 16 when it takes on Princeton in the quarterfinals.
Contact John Quirk at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @QuirkMedia