Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Following Wednesday’s 13-0 loss to Northern Bedford, Bellwood-Antis Manager Alex Sitman was surprisingly upbeat, telling his team that the non-league game would do nothing but help them the next day against conference foe Bishop Guilfoyle.
Thursday, the Lady Blue Devils proved Sitman to be prophetic as they used some clutch hitting and an excellent pitching performance from Emily Derr to steal a victory from the Lady Marauders on their own home field, 4-3.
“This is the biggest win for our program in probably five or six years, because we weren’t supposed to win,” Sitman said. “People write us off, and I know this team tonight wrote us off.”
Early in the game, it appeared Bishop Guilfoyle was justified in writing off the Lady Blue Devils as Miranda Merilli cruised through the top of the first inning by striking out two and getting a ground out.
The Lady Marauders then wasted no time jumping out to an early 2-0 lead when Shannon Hite led off with a single and scored on a Chelsea Caracciolo homer.
Merilli retired the side in order in the top of the second inning, but Derr answered with a 1-2-3 inning of her own, something that hasn’t happened often for Bellwood-Antis this season.
The Lady Blue Devils carried the momentum over to the offensive side to tie the game in the third inning. Danielle Riley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Leah Snyder reached on an infield single. Riley went to third on a throwing error and scored by sliding under Caracciolo’s tag when Ashley Putt hit a RBI grounder. Pam Weyant tied the game by grounding out to second, driving in Snyder.
Looking nothing like a freshman, first year pitcher Emily Derr protected the tie through the next two innings.
“We knew the first two runs were there, because we missed our pitch location; so we did not panic,” Sitman said. “Emily’s teammates were lifting her up, and to her credit, she really sucked it up and went in after them. She just did not back down today, and I’m proud of her.”
Bishop Guilfoyle nearly took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Hit doubled with one out and went to third on a wild pitch. Caracciolo walked and got into a rundown between first and second while the go-ahead run appeared to score, but base umpire Bruno Felus called Caracciolo out and ordered Hite back to third.
“Once the ball is back in the circle with the pitcher and the runner makes a move, they must continue to go; if they stop and try to go back, they are automatically out, and because at that point it is a dead ball, the runner had to return to third,” Felus explained.
Given a second opportunity to escape the jam, Derr got Kelli O’ Connor to ground out to keep the score knotted at two.
Bellwood-Antis once again seized the momentum and capitalized on a Bishop Guilfoyle error to take the lead. With one out, Tory Baldauf hit a pop up to second base, but reached when the ball was dropped. An out later, Tamara Askey came through with a triple to the right field fence that gave the Lady Blue Devils a one-run advantage.
Derr helped herself by adding an insurance run with a single up the middle to plate Askey, and Bellwood-Antis headed into the bottom of the sixth inning with a 4-2 lead.
Most of the day, Derr had been able to hit corners to induce weak grounders and pop-ups, but her nibbling caught up to her in the bottom of the sixth inning when a walk and a wild pitch turned into a run after two ground outs.
After Merilli, who pitched her second gem of the season against the Lady Blue Devils by allowing only four hits and striking out five, kept the Lady Marauders close by retiring Bellwood-Antis in order during the top of the seventh inning, it was up to Derr to close it out.
Hite, who reached base three times, reached on an error with one out and stole second before going to third on a ground out. With the game on the line facing a full count with the go-ahead run at the plate, Derr was able to get O’Connor to line out to senior Christine Pfahler to end the game.
“They became a team today,” Sitman said. “They dug in and they didn’t get discouraged. We have been down a couple runs in our wins against Williamsburg and Glendale, but they have stayed with it and are becoming a team.”
Derr, who also only allowed four hits, excelled despite throwing more than 150 pitches only two days earlier.
The Lady Blue Devils will look to avenge their worst loss of the season, a 16-0 setback against Claysburg Kimmel, when the Lady Bulldogs travel to Bellwood-Antis Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Bellwood-Antis 4 Bishop Guilfoyle 3
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Weyant, cf, 3-0-0; Baldauf, ss, 3-1-0; Pfahler, 2b, 3-0-0; Askey, c, 3-1-2; Derr, p, 3-0-1; Brown, 3b, 3-0-0; Riley, lf, 2-1-0; Snyder, rf, 3-1-1; Putt, dp, 3-0-0; Hamer, 1b, 0-0-0. TOTALS 26-4-4.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE – Hite, 2b, 4-1-2; Caracciolo, c-rf, 2-1-1; Wills, rf, 0-0-0; O’ Connor, 3b, 4-0-0; Dick, 1b, 1-0-0; Craig, pr, 0-1-0; Filler, lf, 2-0-0; Merilli, p, 2-0-0; Stayer, cr, 0-0-0; Kuny, cf-c, 3-0-1; Lingenfelter, dp, 3-0-0; Seasoltz, ss, 3-0-0; Hall, rf-cf, 0-0-0. TOTALS 24-3-4.
Bellwood-Antis 002 002 0 4-4-1
Bishop Guilfoyle 200 001 0 3-4-4
HR: Caracciolo
3B: Askey
2B: Hite
RBI: Weyant 1, Askey 1, Derr 1, Putt 1, Caracciolo 2, Merilli 1.
SO: Merilli 5, Derr 1.
BB: Derr 5.
WP: Derr LP: Merilli.

By Rick