Agnes Irwin falls in Independent final

Posted: May 27, 2012

It seemed the perfect day for Agnes Irwin to capture a Pennsylvania Independent Schools softball title in its first year participating in the two-year-old tournament.

The No. 1-seeded Owls were playing at Rosemont College, less than two miles from their campus, a few dozen family members were cheering from the stands, and star sophomore Katie Wenger was in the circle.

Then the top of the fifth happened.

In that inning, visiting Mercersburg plated the only four runs of the game against an uncharacteristically sloppy Owls defense en route to a 4-0 championship victory Saturday.

After a leadoff walk, Mercersburg No. 2 hitter Paige Richardson laid a bunt down the first-base line. Wenger's throw skipped past first baseman Taylor Lord, allowing the runner on first to reach third.

"They executed a bunt perfectly, and we just didn't stick it defensively," Agnes Irwin coach Laura Stott said. "We'd been great defensively all through the first couple innings, and this inning just got away from us."

The next batter, freshman pitcher Sydney Reath, ripped a line drive that bounced off the glove of third baseman Mia Lambo and into left field to score a run. Two batters later, designated player Val Langlois, the lone Mercersburg senior who graduated Saturday morning before a three-hour bus ride, hit a two-RBI single to the same spot.

All told, the usually lockdown Wenger gave up eight hits and three walks, with two hits and two walks coming in the fifth.

Asked how the game spun out of control so quickly, Wenger said, "I don't know. I couldn't even tell you."

"Things just happen," she added.

What was a stellar season for the Owls (14-3), who won their fifth straight Inter-Ac League title, ended because of Reath's dominance. The ace of the third-seeded Blue Storm (15-8) used a devastating riser-drop curve combination to strike out nine in a one-hit shutout.

Wenger's line-drive single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth was the Owls' lone hit.

"We've never seen this team before, so some of us were a little timid up at the plate," Wenger said.

Despite the loss, Agnes Irwin players, coaches, and parents were all smiles after the game as players received silver medals and posed for photos. The team features just two seniors and a first-year coach.

"This gets us rolling into next season," Wenger said. "Get 'em next year - that's the only thing we can do."

Stott arrived at the school in the fall as a math teacher. When softball coach Lisa D'Orazio took a position at Friends' Central, Stott, a former Upper Darby catcher, took over as coach.

"It's been the greatest opportunity of my life," she said.

Mercersburg   0000400 - 480

Agnes Irwin   0000000 - 011

WP: Sydney Reath. LP: Katie Wenger. 3B: M-Reath.


Contact staff writer Brian Kotloff at bkotloff@phillynews.com.

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