BRISTOL BOROUGH » While it didn’t go quite as expected, it’s now nine in a row and a remarkable 24 overall District 1 championships for the Bristol High School softball team.
Facing a team it had beaten by 13 runs earlier in the year, Bristol captured the Class A championship with a tight 2-1 victory in a well-played game against Faith Christian on May 30.
With another district title secured, Bristol (19-3) can now focus on its June 3 opening-round game in the state tournament.
The fact Bristol’s win was nothing like its earlier 13-0 victory over Faith Christian (17-4) can be attributed to several things.
For openers, Faith’s Emily Blake pitched a very nice game with a five-hitter, seven strikeouts and no walks. She was also backed by a Lions’ defense that made no errors.
The other was the home plate umpire’s moving strike zone, which was all over the place, making it a tough day for the hitters on both teams.
“She did do very well,” said Bristol’s slugging first baseman Kacie Pinelli of Blake. “She had us off balance and popping the ball up.”
Indeed she did, although not in the fourth inning against Pinelli, who tied the game at one-all with a line drive home run over the right center field fence. It was the eighth homer of the year for Pinelli, the most in Lower Bucks.
Faith Christian, which finished second in the Bicentennial Athletic League behind Bristol, had taken the lead against Warrior ace Hailey Sweeney in the third inning. After the first of two hits by freshman lead-off batter Morgan Pepkowski, Lauren Logue put down a sac and Ryley Bender stroked an RBI single.
But that was pretty much it against Sweeney, who faced only 13 batters over the last four innings to finish with a four-hitter and 11 strikeouts. Sweeney was also helped out by catcher Andee Perseponsko, who picked Pepkowski off first base after she had singled to start the fifth.
The game winner came in the sixth on the second single of the game by Jess Fusco, a sac by Perseponko and an opposite field line drive single over first base by Sweeney. Blake limited the damage from there by getting two pop ups, but with the way Sweeney was cruising the two runs were enough.
“Give her (Blake) credit, she pitched a much better game than the first time we played them,” said Bristol coach Mike Lalli. “She had us hitting the ball in the air. And that’s not even the way (opposite field) that Sweeney normally goes.”
Bristol has not received an easy draw for its state tournament opener next week. Its opponent will be the winner of the game between a pair of up-state powers in Williams Valley and Nativity.
Williams Valley has won three out of the last four Class A state championships and has knocked out Bristol before. Still, the Warriors can hit and Sweeney’s pitching will also keep them in the hunt, “I think we have the potential to go far in states,” said Pinelli. “We may be a little school but we pack a powerful punch.”
Faith Christian (17-4) 001 000 0 — 1 4 0 Bristol (19-3) 000 101 x — 2 5 1
WP-Sweeney. LP-Blake. 2B-Bender (FC). HR-Pinelli (B). RBIs: FC-Bender. B-Pinelli, Sweeney.