Avon Grove wins in wild finish

Posted: May 25, 2014

If there is one thing that really stresses out a softball catcher, it is a pitch that gets past her.

When the softball hits the dirt or flies over her head, a wave of panic hits. The catcher's job is to protect the pitcher, make her look good.

The advantage to being so well-acquainted with wild pitches and passed balls, on the other hand, is that the catcher takes that knowledge with her on the base paths.

That's exactly what happened to Avon Grove's Alyssa Herion, who scored the winning run in walk-off fashion as the Red Devils defeated Neshaminy, 2-1, Friday in the quarterfinals of the District 1 Class AAAA tournament.

On third base, Herion could tell the pitch was going to go by the catcher. So, her adrenaline pumping, she took off for home.

"This team has a will to win that I have never seen before," Herion said. "We are always competitive - even though a lot of times it is at the last second and it is very stressful - but we are very competitive and we are ready to take it on to states."

Sophomore ace Maggie Balint was brilliant once again for Avon Grove (17-4), as she struck out 14 and eclipsed the 600 mark for her career.

Things were pretty quiet at the plate for the Red Devils for most of the game, as they struggled to make solid contact off Neshaminy senior Jenny Rakita.

Then the seventh inning came.

Balint reached first when she was hit by a pitch, and Herion's double to left field moved Balint to third. With one out, Neshaminy (15-6) attempted to walk Courtney Coppock intentionally, but an off-speed pitch was a little erratic and went soaring behind catcher Sam Offenback.

Balint beat the ball to the plate, tying the game on the wild pitch.

Herion scored on a wild pitch to the very next batter.

The Red Devils move on to the semifinals of the district tournament and will face Souderton on Tuesday.

"I feel a lot of confidence," Balint said, smiling. "I'm not worried. I'll start stressing on Monday."

Neshaminy 000 100 0 - 1 5 0

Avon Grove 000 000 2 - 2 4 0

WP: Maggie Balint. LP: Jenny Rakita. 2B: N- Hunter Hart; AG- Alyssa Herion.


rallysports@phillynews.com

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