Angel Bunner, Conwell-Egan's ace hurler, pretty much ran the full emotional spectrum in yesterday's Catholic League Northern Division softball showdown against Archbishop Ryan.
Fortunately for her, the last feeling was one of joy. Avenging a 1-0 defeat on April 3, Bunner and the visiting Eagles outlasted the Ragdolls, 4-2, in 12 innings to forge a first-place tie.
Bunner first felt bewilderment. While the senior was pitching in the sixth inning, her father, George, was ejected by the umpires for standing behind the home-plate fence, in the sight line of the pitcher. He had earlier been asked by the umpires to move.
"I was surprised when that happened," Angel Bunner said. "My dad is not a rowdy person. He's usually quiet, keeps to himself."
Through 11 innings, the game was scoreless. In the 12th, with one out and runners on first and second, the Ragdolls (11-2 overall, 6-1 division) chose to intentionally walk No. 3 hitter Brittany Vogel and pitch to Bunner.
"I was like, 'You have to be kidding me,' " Bunner said of the strategy. She responded by turning on an outside pitch from Sara Michalowski and lining it toward the left-field line.
Brittany Wojciehowski was there in time, but the ball hit off her glove and bounded toward the fence. The Eagles scored three runs on the error, with Bunner racing to third base before the ball was retrieved and thrown in.
"[Michalowski] was pitching me outside all game," the lefthanded-hitting Bunner said. "I just went with the pitch, took it the way it had to go."
Conwell-Egan (9-2, 6-1) added another run on a throwing error. Both of Ryan's runs in the bottom half of the inning were unearned.
Bunner went the distance, striking out a school-record 21 and giving up only three hits. The 5-foot-9 standout threw 174 pitches, 138 for strikes, and walked just two.
In the first six innings, Bunner fanned 14 of 20 batters. "I think we were overanxious early on," Ryan coach Andy Hafele said. "We were going for some bad pitches."
Of Michalowski's 161 pitches, 121 were strikes. The hard-throwing righthander, a Hofstra recruit, struck out 16 while yielding eight hits and walking five.
Michalowski, batting third in the order, had two of the Ragdolls' three hits. She singled to right field in the fifth, and singled up the middle in the seventh.
In the teams' first meeting, Bunner and Michalowski had 18 and 14 strikeouts, respectively.
Conwell-Egan000000000004 - 483
Archbishop Ryan000000000002 - 235
WP: Angel Bunner. LP: Sara Michalowski. 3B: CE–Kaitlyn Chase.