ORWIGSBURG - Many times in the long history of sports underdogs have prevailed over more talented opponents. In the case of the Schuylkill League semi-final between Pottsville and Marian there would be no such story added to the history books.
The Crimson Tide (20-1) dominated from the onset, smashing their way to a 10-1 victory. Pottsville played nearly perfect in all three phases of the game getting 12 hits, committing zero errors, and only allowing three hits on the evening.
"Coming off that long game with Pine Grove yesterday where we made some mistakes in the field I told the girls we just had to get back to the basics," said Pottsville head coach Chuck Rinaldo. "We take pride in our defense and we talked about going out there, just playing the game, and making plays."
The Pottsville defense might as well been a black hole to the Marian hitters and it all started with pitcher Stephanie Sweat. Sweat was a bulldozer on the hill for the four innings she was in the game. The senior captain let up one run, struck out 10, and gave up just one hit.
"I just try to go out there and tell myself it's just another game," said Sweat. "Everybody always ask me if I get pumped up for big games and I really just try and treat them all the same. Today I kind of knew I was going to have a good outing. I felt real good warming up and I knew our defense was going to bounce back from the rough game we had against Pine Grove."
The Crimson Tide hitters mirrored their school nickname creating a tsunami of hits early on. The Tide scored three runs in the first and took over in the third scoring six runs on four hits. Leadoff hitter Kirsten Wentzel had the best day out of all of the Pottsville sluggers, getting two triples, a single, and knocked in a run.
"We got out to a fast start and that's always key in these type of games," said Rinaldo. "It was a good to score early, but I felt we got a little lackadaisical in the second. We had a little meeting and then we had that big third. That's a good sign to see as a coach, to talk to your players and see them respond."
The Tide offense was held scoreless in the second and the Fillies (11-10) actually closed within two runs before the Pottsville hitting assault in the third.
"I told the girls they're certainly some consolations they can take from this game and that we can build on," said Marian head coach Joe Deangelo. "We've had to fight through some adversity this season and I feel like it has made us a tougher team. We knew we were up against a good ball club today and there record is the way it is for a reason, but the girls hung in there and never gave up."
The Fillies season is not over by any means with the District 11 Single A tournament on the horizon.
"Our goal is to get better each and everyday," said Deangelo. "That's our motto moving forward into post season play."
Marian 001 000 0 - 1 3 2
Pottsville 306 100 X - 10 12 0
Shaud and Hill; Sweat, Herndon (5) and Wentzel; W - Sweat L - Shaud.