SOL/BAL Carpenter Cup Run Comes to an End

The SOL/BAL saw its Carpenter Cup run come to an end with a loss to Lehigh Valley after defeating Chester County earlier in the day Wednesday.

Mary Kate Smith decided to try out for the SOL/BAL Carpenter Cup team to meet new people. The Springfield Township junior wasn’t disappointed.

“It was my first year on the team, and I loved it,” she said. “I had so much fun. It was a great experience all around.

“Meeting new people was one of the main reasons I wanted to join this team, meeting different players of the same skill level. It was a lot of fun.”

Smith spent the season behind the plate for the Spartans but found herself in the outfield for her Carpenter Cup team.

“I really enjoyed playing a different position,” she said. “I usually play different positions anyway, but for high school, I did mainly catch, and being back in the outfield was a really great change. I remembered how much I loved it. It was fun to play different positions again. I always told (coach Heather Boyer) wherever she needed me I was more than happy to play.”

Smith and her teammates had an opportunity to play in front of college coaches.

“I always get nervous playing in front of people, but it was a different vibe with that team,” she said. “I really wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.

“Everyone was super nice. Playing while knowing we were being looked at by college coaches, I really wasn’t fazed by it.”

Smith was 1-for-1 with a run scored in the SOL/BAL’s 10-1 win over Chester County in Wednesday morning’s elimination game.

“It was a great win – we needed it,” Smith said. “Winning that coming off from a loss, it was a really big deal.”

The SOL/BAL saw its Carpenter Cup run come to an end when they fell to Lehigh Valley in an elimination game later in the day Wednesday, but the tournament gave players an opportunity to play a sport they love in a new setting.

“We try and reinforce to the girls – take advantage of this opportunity to play with some of the other talented players in your league,” Boyer said. “Get to know them, get to appreciate them, use the opportunity to learn from other coaches, learn different styles, different strategies.

“This is more than just playing softball. It’s an opportunity to take your game to another level and consider some things maybe you haven’t seen before to make yourself a better player and a better student of the game. They take some of that with them as they move forward.”

The players, according to Boyer, also have the opportunity to display their versatility. North Penn junior Emily Groarke did just that.

“In four games, she played right field, center field, shortstop, pitcher and catcher,” Boyer said. “She played five different positions and didn’t bat an eye.

“Whatever we needed her to do – she did it. Britney Moyer from North Penn, the same thing. She played outfield, she played first base, and she pitched a little bit. (Abington’s) Renee Reynolds – I had her in three spots in one game today. She started at shortstop, she was in right field, and I brought her to second base.”

It’s the kind of thing college coaches, according to Boyer, are looking for, and there were numerous college coaches in attendance.

“They’re looking at athletes on the field,” Boyer said. “They’re not just looking to see how well you play (one) position, but how good of a softball player are you? Are you willing to try other spots? What’s your demeanor like on the bench when you’re not in for an inning or your team is up to bat? Are you up at the fence cheering, are you into the game? That’s what we try and reinforce to the kids.

“This is a free tournament, and you can’t get any better than that. The Phillies run an organized ship. It’s a good tournament, it’s local. Are you going to see your Arizonas, Floridas and Oklahomas there? No, obviously not, but to be honest, those caliber players are few and far between. The majority of our kids are going to go D-2 or D-3, so let’s give them an opportunity to show that.”

One of the bonuses of competing in the Carpenter Cup is developing friendships with players who are opponents during the course of the high school season.

“This will raise the competitiveness a little bit,” Smith said. “Friendly competition. We played with three Upper Dublin girls, and we always had that school rivalry, but now that we have that friendship rivalry, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

SOL/BAL 10, Chester County 1
From the start, things went right for the SOL/BAL in its morning contest against a short-handed Chester County squad.

“That first game was well played,” coach Heather Boyer said. “We went up 1-0 early, then we went up 2-0, and we continued to add on runs.”
North Penn's Emily Groarke led off with an infield single as the first batter of the game. Thanks to some heads-up base running, a sacrifice bunt by CB East's Tara Harper and a sacrifice fly by Bristol's Cara Fabiano, Groarke scored to give pitcher Angelina Sherba an early edge.
While the offense continued to add on, it probably didn't have to, at least in the four innings Sherba pitched. The CB West ace was dominant, striking out seven batters and allowing just two hits over the first four innings.
“She made a lot of positive contributions,” Boyer said.
In the third, with Chester runners on second and third with one out, the lefty punched out the next two hitters to preserve a 2-0 lead. That opened the door for the SOL/BAL offense to break the game open.
Led by Upper Dublin's Erin Gallagher and Fabiano, SOL/BAL posted a five-spot in the fourth inning and three more runs in the sixth. Sherba got the party started with a leadoff triple in the frame, eventually scoring on an error on Macey Segal's sacrifice attempt.
Gallagher, the third baseman, went 3-for-4 in the game with a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI base hit two innings later. The Upper Dublin junior was the Flying Cardinals’ pitcher this spring but played outfield this week.
“She is not planning on going to college as a pitcher, and if you gave her the option, she would not pitch,” Boyer said. “She did it because it was for the good of the team.”
Gallagher was the recipient of UD’s Dennis Weiner Honorary Award.
“Dennis was a long-time volunteer coach at Upper Dublin, and he also did travel ball,” Boyer said. “He loves the game, and he provided a lot of opportunities for kids in the Upper Dublin area to play for many, many years. He’s very, very passionate about it.
“We try to give it to somebody who emulates that same type of enthusiasm, who’s willing to do whatever is best for the team, and Erin has now gotten it two years in a row because she is the definition of that award. She’s selfless, she will do anything you ask of her.
“Even in this forum, I had her in the outfield. She’s not an outfielder necessarily. That’s not her personal forte. She loves the corners – she loves third and she loves first, but if I say, ‘Hey, Erin, you’re our right fielder,’ she’s ‘All right, I got it.’ Anything you ask, she will do it, no matter what. I could ask her to go out and bat left handed and steal three bases, and she will give it her best shot.”
Fabiano, who had two hard-hit balls before coming up in the fourth, hit another one on the nose but on the ground. The ball was too hot for the Chester shortstop, allowing Springfield's Mary Kate Smith and Harper to come around and score.
In the sixth, Fabiano left no doubt. After Groarke and Abington's Renee Reynolds, hitting for Harper, walked, the Bristol pitcher/shortstop crushed a two-run triple and scored on Gallagher's RBI knock.
“She has great grit, and I would take a player like her any day,” Boyer said of Fabiano. “She is a very, very good pitcher, and obviously, she had a terrific season with Bristol on the mound, but she’s also a fantastic shortstop who isn’t afraid to get that shirt dirty and go hard to make any kind of play.
“I talked to her before the tournament started and said, ‘I know you’re a very talented pitcher, and we are going to use you there,’ but I also felt we were a better defensive squad with her at shortstop. I told her, ‘If you see yourself there, that’s why. It’s a tribute to your ability to play both positions very well,’ and she was completely amenable to it. She didn’t bat an eye. Whatever you need – that was her attitude.”
After Fabiano pitched a scoreless fifth and started the sixth, North Penn's Britney Moyer took over and finished the game out with the outcome pretty much in hand and SOL/BAL needing all available arms for the afternoon game.
Gallagher, who didn't score a run despite her three hits, was the only SOL/BAL player with multiple hits but far from the only one to reach base more than once. Groarke scored two runs, Harper singled and was hit by a pitch, Sherba added a walk to her triple and Smith walked and reached on an infield hit.
Fabiano and Gallagher each accounted for three RBI. Upper Dublin's Maddie Muth, who caught every inning of Tuesday's two games, had a single against Chester County.

SOL/BAL 110 503 0 – 10
CHESTER COUNTY 000 010 0 – 1
SOL/BAL (10) – Emily Groarke 3-2-1-0; Tara Harper 1-1-1-0; Renee Reynolds 0-1-0-0; Cara Fabiano 3-1-1-3; Erin Gallagher 4-0-3-3; Brittany Moyer 3-1-0-0; Angelina Sherba 2-0-1-0; Theresa Beck 1-0-0-0; Meghan Muth 3-0-1-1-; Brianna Parker 1-0-0-0; Macey Segal 2-1-0-1; Casey Bradley 1-2-1-0; Mary Kate Smith 1-1-1-0; Siani Paige-Miller 2-0-0-0; TOTALS 27-10-10-8
3B-Cara Fabiano, Angelina Sherba.
SOL/BAL                             IP        H         R         ER      BB       SO
Angelina Sherba (W)          4.0      3          0          0          1          7
Cara Fabiano                     1.0      1          1          0          0          1
Brittany Moyer                   2.0      2          0          0          0          1
Chester County                  IP        H         R         ER      BB       SO
Ashley Bangert (L)            2.0      3          2          2          3          1
Payton Landis                  2.0      4          5          1          0          2
Alyssa Sullivan                 2.0      2          3          3          2          1
Amelia Lark                     1.0      1          0          0          0          1

Lehigh Valley 15, SOL/BAL 0 (5 innings)
Appearances can be deceiving.
Lehigh Valley narrowly edged the Philadelphia Catholic League 2-1 in their morning meeting, topped Jersey Shore 2-0 on Tuesday and also fell to Berks/L-L 7-2 later Tuesday afternoon. It doubled its runs-per-game average after just one inning.
The Lehigh Valley pitchers stung the tired SOL/BAL arms for 10 hits, including four triples, and scored at least three runs in three of the four innings it went to the plate. It certainly didn't help that SOL/BAL walked eight batters and committed a pair of errors that extended innings for Lehigh Valley.
Offensively, SOL/BAL couldn't get anything going and managed just two hits on singles by Cara Fabiano and Dock Mennonite's Theresa Beck.
Wissahickon's Sianni Paige-Miller made a nice grab on the run in center field to end the second inning and Renee Reynolds had two good plays at second base in the fourth inning that included gloving a hard-struck ball off the bat of Heather Alich.

SOL/BAL 000 00 – 0
LEHIGH VALLEY 430 8x – 15
SOL/BAL (0) – Emily Groarke 2-0-0-0; Tara Harper 2-0-0-0; Cara Fabiano 2-0-1-0; Erin Gallagher 2-0-0-0; Brittany Moyer 2-0-0-0; Meghan Muth 1-0-0-0; Gabrielle Gaskin 1-0-0-0; Renee Reynolds 1-0-0-0; Theresa Beck 1-0-1-0; Siani Paige-Miller 1-0-0-0; Macey Segal 1-0-0-0; Mary Kate Smith 0-0-0-0; Brianna Parker 1-0-0-0; TOTALS 17-0-2-0.
LEHIGH VALLEY (15) - Jess Indelicato 2-1-1-0; Courtney Grundhauser 1-1-0-0; Rachel Arner 3-3-1-0; Danielle Barnes 2-2-2-2; Sky Esterly 1-2-1-1; Paige Hahn 3-1-1-1; Chelsea Morgan 2-1-2-2; Maddy Clark 0-1-0-0; Alexa Panuccio 2-1-1-2; Heather Alich 4-0-1-3; Hannah Palinkas 2-0-0-0; Daphney Adams 1-1-1-2; Alexis Ruth 2-1-0-0; TOTALS 25-15-11-13.
3B-Jess Indelicato, Danielle Barnes, Chelsea Morgan, Heather Alich.
SOL/BAL                 IP        H         R         ER      BB       SO
Cara Fabiano (L)     1.2      7          7          7          1          1
Emily Groarke        1.1      0          2          2          4          0
Tara Harper           0.2      1          5          1          3          0
Casey Bradley        0.1      3          1          1          1          0