Spring­field climbs Mount in first round

Springfield Sun - - SPORTS - Dway@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

Spring­field found out all it needed to about first-round PIAA Dis­trict 1-5A play­off foe Mount Saint Joseph in the first in­ning Wed­nes­day.

Af­ter tak­ing a two-run lead in the top of the first, the Cougars watched the Mount bunt its way to a pair of runs to tie the game.

From there on, the Cougars knew what they had to do.

With pitcher Jenna Cusasanto in com­mand, the Cougars squeezed their in­field in, elim­i­nated the bunt and let Cusasanto do the rest.

The right-han­der re­sponded with a three-hit­ter and the Cougars snapped a 2-all tie with two runs in the fifth and an­other in the sixth to emerge with a 5-2 vic­tory that pro­pelled Spring­field into Fri­day’s quar­ter­fi­nals against the win­ner of Wed­nes­day’s In­ter­boro-marple-new­town con­test.

“I think both pitch­ers did a good job set­tling in af­ter the first in­ning,” said Cougars head coach Todd Odgers. “We found our­selves in the fifth and sixth in­nings, and those runs were the dif­fer­ence in the game.”

“I think we re­al­ized what we had to do af­ter the first in­ning,” echoed Cusasanto. “We re­al­ized the in­field had to come in and I had to jam them.”

The Cougars got on the board in the top of the first when both Cusasanto and Caitlin Cham­bers reached on in­field sin­gles and ul­ti­mately scored on Ash­ley Scarpato’s sac­ri­fice fly and Sheri­dan Hedrick’s sin­gle.

The Mount an­swered when Julie Burns and Mara Fuchs drove in runs in the home first.

But from that point on the Mount would not dent Cusasanto, and while the Cougars didn’t fare much bet­ter against Mount fresh­man starter Paige Parisi, they fi­nally broke through in the fifth when Scarpato dou­bled home a run and Vic­to­ria Ci­a­sullo sin­gled home an­other.

And the Mount had no re­sponse.

“Both pitch­ers were ef­fec­tive,” said Mount head coach Bill Thomp­son. “Af­ter that first in­ning they both got into a groove and shut both teams down un­til they broke through in the fifth and sixth.”

Cham­bers drew a bases­loaded walk to add some in­surance in the sixth, and the Cougars were on to the quar­ters.

“We played both In­ter­boro and Marple dur­ing the sea­son and we had some suc­cess against both,” Odgers said. “I think we’re ca­pa­ble of beat­ing ei­ther one.”

Mean­while, Thomp­son turned his at­ten­tion to the fu­ture.

“This is our sec­ond year try­ing to build up this pro­gram,” he said. “We were fifth in the dis­trict last year, so the pro­gram is do­ing pretty well.

“(Parisi) is a fresh­man, so I would think the pro­gram’s go­ing to be com­pet­i­tive the next cou­ple of years.” Spring­field 5, Mount St. Joseph 2 Spring­field Mt.st. Joseph WP – Jenna Cusasanto LP – Paige Parisi 2B – Ash­ley Scarpato SB – Cusasanto; Cham­bers (2).

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