Exeter suffers 1st loss to Bullets in final
LYONS >> Exeter came into Thursday night’s BCIAA championship softball game at Lyons Field unbeaten in 20 games.
The tenacity of Brandywine Heights put an end to that.
The Bullets (21-2) scored three late runs to take the lead, coughed it up, then won the Berks League title in dramatic fashion, 7-3, in eight innings, led by a pair of home runs on consecutive pitches.
Taylor Sweigert and Jess Davidheiser hit solo home runs on consecutive pitches to lead off the top of the eighth inning, snapping a 3-all deadlock. The Bullets scored two more runs for added insurance.
“It’s the way we play,” Brandywine Heights head coach Don Roach said. “They never stop. That’s the reality. They flush all the bad stuff. … They turn the key and keep the engine running, keep all of the parts working together.”
The Bullets also ended the unbeaten streaks of Hazelton and Minersville earlier this season.
The Berks Section 3 champions during the regular season, Brandywine Heights had been held to one base hit through five innings by Exeter ace Sarah Musselman, the engine driving the undefeated Berks 1 champs (20-1).
The Bullets’ tenacity was capsulized in starter Davidheiser, who not only helped her cause in extras, but recovered from a two-run Exeter third to hold the potent Eagles off the scoreboard on four hits the rest of the way.
“It feels amazing,” Davidheiser said, shiny gold medal hanging around her neck. “This is everything we’ve worked for. We never gave up.”
The comeback was sudden and materialized seemingly from nowhere, as Musselman had fairly silenced Brandywine bats through five.
Down 2-0, Renee Wall and Hayley Hertzog each quickly deposited singles into left field. Sweigert
walked on five pitches to load the bases with no outs. Davidheiser then hit an infield single to shortstop to plate the first run. Nora Harrison followed with a rope to left to score the tying and go-ahead runs.
Stunned but determined, Exeter clawed back in the bottom half to score the tying run. Zoe Barna clocked a double to centerfield to bring around Jordan Denunzio, who had singled to lead off the at-bat and was sacrificed to second base.
The club scored in the seventh, setting the stage for the eighth-inning heroics from the Bullets.
“They are a very good club,” Exeter head coach Dave Hangen said of Brandywine Heights. “Sarah was pretty good. The girls were total battlers.”
Exeter took a 2-0 lead in bottom of the third. The Eagles sent eight batters to the plate and had a sequence where the bases were loaded for four consecutive plate appearances.
The club pushed across two runs on consecutive RBI singles from Denunzio and Karysa Karas with one out, but Davidheiser bore down and got the final two outs of the frame on a bases-loaded force at home and a strikeout.
Brandywine Height’s Taylor Sweigart hits the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of the county final against Exeter on May 18.