Ryan reigns in Catholic softball

Kerri Dadalski, the winning pitcher, celebrates Ryan's championship. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Kerri Dadalski, the winning pitcher, celebrates Ryan's championship. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Posted: May 24, 2014

It was just a small fist pump.

Actually, what Archbishop Ryan's Kerri Dadalski did after striking out a batter in the fourth inning of the Catholic League softball championship game was more like simply making a fist.

She then matter-of-factly gave a nod to her catcher, Sarah Ostaszewski, to throw the ball around the infield.

There would be no flashy celebrating just yet. No, Dadalski would wait.

And celebrate the Ragdolls did, capturing their first Catholic League championship since 1995 by shutting out Lansdale Catholic, 5-0, Thursday at Arcadia.

The man who was at the helm of the Ragdolls for the last title, Andy Hafele, was perhaps the biggest reason for Ryan's presence in the contest. A longtime coach at Ryan through last season, Hafele died in February, and memories of him have kept the Ragdolls going all season.

"We are tough, and we have a lot of heart," said Dadalski, who threw a one-hitter. "This was all for Mr. Hafele. Every single out, every single pitch, it was all for him."

"I think we were just extra motivated," senior shortstop Nikki Michalowski added.

"We dedicated it to Hafele, of course. Just taking it one pitch at a time is what we focused on every inning."

Reilly Kerr never got the opportunity to meet Hafele. A freshman, the first baseman heard a lot about him from her teammates, though.

So, when she went up to the plate against the Crusaders (17-5) on Thursday, she wanted to do whatever she could for her teammates. She knew how much the game, and Hafele, meant to them.

What Kerr did was knock in three runs, including what proved to be the game-winner in the second inning.

"I just wanted to do it for the team," Kerr said. "It is a great feeling."

When the game ended, a fly ball to left field for the final out, gloves started flying in the air and every member of the Ragdolls (20-2) found someone to hug.

It was finally time for Dadalski and the rest of the Ryan team to celebrate.

Lansdale Catholic 000 000 0 - 0 1 1

Archbishop Ryan 023 000 x - 5 10 1

WP: Kerri Dadalski. LP: Ashley Seal. 2B: LC-Alicia Kradzinski. 3B: AR-Nikki Michalowski.


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