Avon Grove rolls into final

Logan Needham steals second in the fourth inning of Avon Grove's win over Souderton.
Logan Needham steals second in the fourth inning of Avon Grove's win over Souderton. (   RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 29, 2014

Courtney Gall said it best when she called Avon Grove's previous two softball games "stressful."

The depiction might even have been an understatement.

Two consecutive walk-off wins, one in the eighth inning and the other a come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the seventh, made the last week a little hectic for Avon Grove.

But the Red Devils didn't wait for the theatrics in a 3-1 win over Souderton in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA semifinal Tuesday at Great Valley. No, Avon Grove started scoring much earlier.

It all began in the third, when Taylor Volko led off with a walk. A Souderton error moved her to second, and a sacrifice sent her to third.

Logan Needham stepped to the plate and hit the ball hard, her ground-out to shortstop knocking in the first run for Avon Grove (18-4).

Usually a high-powered offensive team, the Indians (16-5) were slowed by Red Devils sophomore ace Maggie Balint, who struck out 10 and allowed only one hit.

"We battled, but it just wasn't good enough today," Souderton coach Steph Rummel said.

"It is definitely a learning experience, maybe a humbling experience, especially."

Gall's two-run double in the fourth put the Red Devils up by 3-0, and the Indians countered with a run in the next inning.

But it wasn't enough; Balint allowed no baserunners in the sixth and seventh innings.

"With a lot of returning players and some new girls, throughout the season we spent a lot of time just trying to click as a team," Needham said. "I never thought it would lead to this."

What it has led to is the first District 1 championship appearance in program history - Thursday against North Penn - and the school's first berth in the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament.

"I will be really antsy," Gall said, not looking the least bit stressed. "I'm going to be talking about it all day."

Souderton 000 010 0 - 1 1 1

Avon Grove 001 200 x - 3 4 2

WP: Maggie Balint. LP: Erelle Sowers. 2B: AG-Alyssa Herion, Courtney Gall.


rallysports@phillynews.com

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