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Big first inning propels Fillies

Marian coach Joe DeAngelo went into Tuesday’s game against Panther Valley looking for “quality at bats.”

As it turned out, he got more than he could have ever hoped for in the first inning.

In a battle between a pair of young and inexperienced softball teams, Marian took control early and rolled to a 17-2 Schuylkill League victory over the Panthers.

The Fillies sent 17 batters to the plate in the opening inning and scored 11 runs, giving DeAngelo plenty of what he was hoping to see.

“I thought we did exactly what we had to do,” said DeAngelo. “We talk to the girls about having a good approach at the plate. We want to make the pitcher throw strikes, and when she does we want to hit line drives.

“We stress quality at bats, and I thought we did a nice job of having a lot of them today. We worked some walks, and then got big hits with runners on base.”

Marian wasted no time in taking control. The first 11 Fillies’ batters reached base in the opening inning with all of them eventually scoring.

The Fillies benefited from seven walks and three Panther errors. The inning’s big hits were two-run triples by Mia Nemeth and Alise Heisey, and a three-run double by Gracie Gallagher.

Marian added a pair of runs in the second, and then scored four more times in the third to invoke the 15-run mercy rule. Gallagher had an RBI double in the third before Nemeth’s two-run double to right center chased home the game-ending runs.

Marian’s first four batters - Athena Matenkoski, Gallagher, Nemeth and Morgan Kelly - combined to reach base 13 times in 15 plate appearances, scoring nine runs and knocking in 11.

“We have a number of good hitters at the top of our order,” DeAngelo said. “I was happy with their production today. They found ways to get on base and put pressure on Panther Valley’s defense.”

Not only did Marian (2-0, 1-0) get production from the top of its order, but it also received contributions from several underclassmen.

“We have a relatively young and inexperienced team,” DeAngelo said. “Our pitcher (Kelly), catcher (Anna Grabosky) and second baseman (Gallagher) are all freshmen, and our shortstop (Heisley) is a sophomore. They all did some really nice things at the plate and in the field today.

“This if the first taste of high school softball for all of them, so the more they get to play, the better they will get.”

While the Panthers (0-3, 0-2) are still looking for their first win, head coach Candace Olson saw some bright spots.

“We got off to a rough start today. We made some mistakes in that first inning, and Marian made us pay for them,” said Olson. “Because of a couple of injuries, we had a number of girls playing positions today that they had never played before, and that hurt us.

“But I saw improvement. Our main goal is to improve every time we get on the field, and we did that today. We have 15 girls on the team, and six of them never played softball in their lives before this year, so we are extremely inexperienced. This is going to take time. As coaches, we just have to be patient and remain positive.”

FAB FILLIES ... Kelly had three hits for the Fillies; Gallagher had two hits, four RBIs and three runs scored; Nemeth had two hits and five RBIs: and Matenkoski scored four times.

MORE K’s ... After striking out a school-record 19 batters in a season-opening shutout of Executive Education, Marian’s Kelly fanned five Panthers in three innings of work yesterday.

PANTHER HIGHLIGHT ... Freshman Mickayla Yuricheck drilled an RBI double to score Alexis Cooper in the third inning for PV.

Panther Valley 011 - 2 3 4

Marian (11) 24 - 17 9 0

Beshock, Greco (2) and Rex; Kelly and Grabosky. W-Kelly. L-Beshock.

Marian's Mia Nemeth connects with a pitch as Panther Valley catcher Elizabeth Rex sets up behind the plate. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS