Shawnee, the Patriot Division softball front-runner, and host Lenape, the American Division leader, played each other yesterday with an eye on today.
Lenape (14-1 overall, 4-0 division), ranked No. 1 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, would love to defeat defending American Division champion Washington Township, the second-ranked team in South Jersey, for the second time this season when they meet in a semifinal of the Hammonton Tournament this afternoon.
The two are scheduled to clash again Monday.
Unranked Shawnee (6-4, 4-1), still smarting from a loss to Cherry Hill West, its first defeat of the season, wants to turn the tables against that division rival today at home.
So with an eye elsewhere and an eye on each other, Shawnee and Lenape played a solid game that wasn't reflected in the score.
Behind the three-hit pitching of ace Jaime Moir, Lenape won, 5-1, after an Indians uprising in the fourth inning kayoed Shawnee's No. 2 pitcher, junior Emily Pagnotta. Lenape scored all of its runs against Pagnotta, a junior, before the Renegades' No. 1 hurler, junior Samantha Soprano, stepped in to apply a tourniquet for the third out.
It was Soprano who knocked in Shawnee's only run in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.
Shawnee coach Paula Escudero had wanted to save Soprano for West today. She figured that longtime friend and Lenape coach Mike Medrick would do likewise with Moir. However, Medrick said after the game that he talked over the situation with his senior star and she elected to pitch against Shawnee.
"She's a senior and I'm a senior," Medrick said in reference to his confidence in Moir's ability to make a mature decision as well as his age. "She'll be fine for [today].
"I was glad to see us hit the ball hard today. Now we're getting hits and scoring runs and that's the biggest plus. We knew that our pitching would be solid."
Until the fourth inning, the Indians had only one hit, compliments of Moir. Pagnotta was doing a good job of keeping Lenape off-balance with pitches on the corner of the plate. So Medrick got his girls to alter their hitting style.
"They went with the short stroke," Medrick said. "They were just trying to put the ball in play. She [Pagnotta] was doing a good job. We were struggling with her pitching."
Lenape's Sam Maser led off the bottom of the fourth with what looked like a sure base hit, a sinking line drive to center field. However, senior Jennifer Motolynski made a nice, diving catch.
However, with one out the Indians were able to load the bases twice, scoring their first run on a passed ball. Doubles by Erika Serviolo, Hannah Moir (Jaime's sister), and Amanda Gilligan broke open the game.
"Dock went to the choke and poke, he made his adjustment," said Escudero, who knew that the veteran coach would come up with something to counter her young hurler's style.
Shawnee was flawless in the field, as was Lenape, whose junior shortstop, Marlee Youngkin, made a nifty backhand catch and threw out Allison Vaughn for the third out in the fifth inning.
Escudero before the game told her players that they had to play good defense and stay focused for seven innings to stay close to the top-ranked team in the area.
"I'm very happy," Escudero said. "No errors. We played solid defense."
Shawnee100 000 0 - 1 3 0
Lenape000 500 X - 5 8 0
WP: Jaime Moir. LP: Emily Pagnotta. 2B: L-Erika Serviolo, Hannah Moir, Amanda Gilligan.