GLENSIDE » One of the real heavyweight programs in the entire area for the better part of three decades, the Conwell-Egan softball team saw another so-so season come to an end on June 3 in an 11-0 loss to Holy Cross in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A state tournament.
While on the surface it might look like the Eagles still appear pretty much struck in neutral, there are some signs it might be on the verge of turning this thing around.
For openers, the team had only two seniors and will return two of the top infielders in the entire area in third baseman Cori Jones and shortstop Alyssa Fagans.
Fagans has already committed to La Salle University, while Jones recently received an offer from the rising University of Maryland Baltimore County program, which recently advanced to the Division I regionals before coming up short against the University of Oklahoma.
The other is long-time coach Sandy Hart indicated some help appears on the way, including two pitchers who will be coming in as freshmen.
“You hate to lose, but I think our players kind of got worn down by the end of the season,’’ said Hart after the loss at Arcadia University against District 2 champion Holy Cross of the Scranton area.
“We only had eight players back in March and we basically played the whole season with nine. That’s tough to dowith our schedule. We play a lot of strong (public schools) teams in our area and the Philadelphia Catholic League teams always come to play.’’
Unfortunately for the Fairless Hills team, so did a Holy Cross team featuring 6-0 tall University of Massachusetts recruit Jenna Bradley.
Pitching-wise, Bradley cranked up a four-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Conwell-Egan’s best chance to score came in the first when a single by Fagans and a bunt single by Ange Bresnan resulted in runners on second and third with no outs.
Bradley, however, roared back to strike out the side and never allowed more than one runner in the last six innings. Conwell-Egan’s other three hits were singles by Jones and Elizabeth Shire as well as a double by losing pitcher Amber Stansfield.
Holy Cross, which lost to Bristol, Council Rock North and Neshaminy during the regular season, had no such problems at the plate as it banged out 13 hits, six of which were doubles.
Bradley helped lead the charge with a single, two doubles and two RBIs. Erin McGee and Olivia Krupski (three RBIs) also both had two doubles in a game in which Holy Cross took a 5-0 lead after three innings and blew it open with four more in the fifth.
“She (Bradley) was hard to hit,’’ said Fagans. “It was kind of hard to see the ball because of her velocity. And she has a good riser.’’
Just a freshman, Bresnan relieved Stansfield early in the game and actually did a pretty good job in relief by at least slowing Holy Cross down. She has some potential in the circle for a Conwell-Egan team that for years had some of the best pitching around, including former Auburn University standout Angel Bunner.
It would be a real plus for area softball if Conwell-Egan can regain some of its old form. Hart has already proven she can win if she has the talent and the program’s winning tradition is more dormant that deceased.
Holy Cross 221 040 2 - 11 11 0 Conwell-Egan (8-12) 000 000 0 - 0 5 3 WP-Bradley. LP-Stansfield. 2B-Krupski (HC) 2, Bradley 2, McGee 2, Stansfield. RBIs: Krupski 3, Bradley 2, McGee 2, Schimelfinig.