PHILADELPHIA – The sun was shining on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway yesterday afternoon, in what could have been the definition of perfect “softball” weather.
Good thing, because the game that was about go down between Hallahan and visiting Little Flower was about to last for a whopping 10 innings.
In the bottom of the 10th, Hallahan senior, Brigid Stermel, finally got a handle on the ball and hit a double into center field driving sophomore pitcher, Maddy McBride, to the plate scoring the sole run of the afternoon.
“We kept a positive attitude,” said Hallahan’s head coach Keith McFarlane.
Since taking the role as Hallahan’s head coach three years ago, McFarlane explained that his team has come a long way and has built up their confidence knowing that they can compete against anyone in the league.
“When I first got here, we were like the dog mat. Every team wanted to play us and score 10 runs against us,” said McFarlane. “We keep up the positive attitude and changed our philosophy to let everyone know that ‘We belong here’ and that ‘We can play with any of the girls’. And that’s what is happening this year, we are playing with everyone and we’ve never done that before.”
Six of the nine starters on Hallahan’s roster are comprised of freshmen and sophomores. One standout sophomore, is starting pitcher, Maddy McBride.
“Some of my goals are to make it farther in the playoffs, get past the quarter-finals and to take down some bigger teams this year,” said McBride.
During yesterday’s game, McBride pitched all 10 innings, striking-out 19 batters and only giving up 2 hits. Little Flower’s pitcher, sophomore Alex Dolan, also pitched all 10 innings.
At the top of the 5th, Little Flower’s assistant coach, Rick Atwell exclaimed with a grin, “Exciting game, 0-0.”
While the score may have been a little lackluster, each player came to the bat with the hope of saving the day for their team.
“I kept telling our girls to keep doing what they were doing, to go out there, make plays and have fun,” said Little Flower’s head coach Dan Milio. “It was a stressful game and I knew they desperately wanted to win. In a game like this, I think it was pretty easy for them to realize that every pitch had meaning and it was just back and fourth, good plays on both ends. Every hit meant something.”
Although Little Flower did not end up winning the game, their passion was prevalent, especially through the fighting spirit of senior first baseman, Tori Sherwood. Sherwood kept rallying her teammates and was a vocal leader on the field. This past Wednesday, the St. Thomas Aquinas College commit tallied her 100th career hit while playing against Germantown Friends.
“Tori is the obvious leader of the team. The girls look up to her,” said Milio. “It’s her softball IQ that separates her from a lot of the good softball players and there are a lot of good softball players in the Catholic League. She is never out of position and always knows where the right play is to be made.”
Win or lose, both teams can definitely agree that spring is finally in the air and that there are a lot more league games left to be won in preparation for the PCL playoffs.
Looking Ahead: Hallahan plays their next PCL game at home vs. Bonner-Prendie this Tuesday at 3:45PM. Little Flower has two non-league games against Shipley tomorrow afternoon and against Academy of the New Church on Wednesday. Their next PCL match-up will be played away next Thurs. April 21 vs. Neumann-Goretti at 3:45PM.