Phillips loses no-hit bid in 7th, guides Panthers past Eagles
— For six innings Wednesday afternoon, Perryville junior pitcher Emily Phillips navigated her way through the Bohemia Manor lineup with ease, and took the mound for the final frame with the intention of maintaining a shutout and securing her team’s third-straight win to begin the season.
She had little regard for the fact she was just three outs away from making history.
The junior had her bid for a no-hitter broken up in the bottom of the seventh inning when Anna Tidaback led off with a single to right field. Although two runners eventually scored in the frame, Phillips recovered to shut the door as the Panthers held on for an 8-2 victory over the host Eagles in Chesapeake Division softball action.
“No. It didn’t cross my mind,” Phillips said of her no-hit bid entering the final inning. “I justplayed it like it was another inning.”
Her catcher, senior Carly White, had no idea her pitcher was even flirting with a no-no.
“I didn’t even know,” White admitted afterwards. “I just knew she was mowing them
After Tidaback reached on the hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch, she made her way to third on a single to right field by pinch hitter Elle Meyer before crossing the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Megan Horsey. Horsey then scored two batters later when Morgan Mullin connected for the inning’s third single to right field. Phillips then ended the game by striking out the next batter. She finished the contest with two strikeouts and five walks.
“I warmed up extra early to make sure all my pitches were warm because this is a big game for Perryville. Perryville and Bo Manor have been rivals for a long time, it’s been back and forth, so I just had to trust my pitches and trust my defense,” Phillips said. “It was very intense and very nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what to expect so I just went out there and played my best.”
Bo Manor (3-1 overall, 0-1 division) had runners advance as far as second base in three of the first six innings but each time Phillips found a way to escape. She induced a ground ball with two runners on and two outs in the first in- ning, and received help in the form of a double play in the fourth inning when center fielder Nicole DiGiambattista made an athletic catch and threw to second base to double up the runner, who had left too early. The Panthers (30, 1-0) then maintained their shutout in the sixth inning when a fielder’s choice and two infield pop outs erased a pair of walks.
“She’s using her change up early in the count, she’s getting ahead a lot more and she’s making the opponent beat us, which is what we want,” Perryville coach Dave Roark said of Phillips. “We have a solid defense and we’ve been putting it to use all year. She’s hitting the zone and that’s the biggest thing for her.”
Offensively, the Panthers used a six-run sixth inning, highlighted by a two-out, three-run home run to left field by White, to break away on the scoreboard. With three runners having already scored in the frame and Amber Keene and Ellen Little both in scoring position, White stepped into the box and delivered the biggest hit of the afternoon.
“I just wanted to hit the ball in play. I wanted to get it in the grass and kind of get a run in. I didn’t expect [the homer],” White said. “The wind helped me out a little bit.”
with nine hits, while producing base runners in all but one inning against both starting pitcher Rachel Jones and reliever Taylor Abshagen. Both pitchers were All-County selections a year ago.
“Right now, I’m still trying to figure out what the best lineup going forward is. The girls are just kind of taking turns. We had several hits from our 6-7-8-9 hitters today. They really started a few big innings and [there was] a few key Bo Manor mistakes,” Roark said. “I don’t think we had a lot of hits, but at the same time it seemed like we had two base runners every single inning. The opportunities are there and if you give us that many opportunities we’re going to get in our fair share of runs. It’s because the girls are poised this year.
“This isn’t the new group that’s together like it was last year where they were all first-year varsity players and a lot of them didn’t have that experience. They’re confident and they’re comfortable. You keep giving us the base runners and hopefully we’ll continue to put the pressure on the other team.”
The victory came one year after the Panthers dropped both their regular season meetings against the Eagles last spring. The contest also proved to be a potential postseason preview as both teams compete as members of the 1A North Region Section I playoffs.
“I definitely didn’t give the girls the old line: “This is just like any other game” because I would be lying to them and they would know that. Bo Manor, they got us twice last year. They’re a good, quality team and to go where we want to go, they’re a huge obstacle. We have a lot of respect for their ability to play. It was more than just the third game of the season. This was a big win for us,” Roark said. “The UCBAC [and] the Chesapeake Division is brutal. We have a lot of tough teams to face so, like I told the girls, we have a little bit of a target on our back now.
“If we were kind of under the radar, we’re not anymore.”
Follow Jordan Schatz on Twitter: @Jordan_Whig
Perryville junior pitcher Emily Phillips delivers during her team’s 8-2 victory over host Bohemia Manor in Chesapeake Division softball action on Wednesday. Phillips carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.