For Maggie Reifsnyder and the tight-knit Little Flower community, much of the last two weeks has been filled with heartache.
On April 28, classmate Lacey Gallagher, an 18-year-old senior, was killed in a one-car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. She was a star soccer player and had planned to attend Chestnut Hill College.
"It's been pretty bad, especially for the seniors," said Reifsnyder, Little Flower's ace pitcher. "Lacey was in my psychology class."
Putting aside Gallagher's tragic death, at least briefly, Reifsnyder fired a one-hitter yesterday as the visiting Sentinels blanked Archbishop Prendergast, 1-0, in a Catholic League Southern Division showdown at Aldan Elementary School.
The 5-foot-10 Reifsnyder struck out six batters while allowing just one walk. Prendie's only hit, a blazing shot past third base, came in the second inning. Of Reifsnyder's 84 pitches, 51 were strikes.
Reifsnyder mixed four pitches: fastball, change-up, screwball and drop curve. "My change-up was working really well," she said.
With the victory, the Sentinels (11-4 overall) improved to 8-2 in the Southern Division and gained sole possession of first place. If they beat Neumann-Goretti and Hallahan next week, as expected, they will win the regular-season division title.
The second-place Pandas (13-4) closed the regular season with a 9-3 division mark.
"We've had a difficult time hitting all year," Charlie Wieners, Prendie's first-year coach, said. "You're not going to win many games with one hit. You have to put the ball in play - and we didn't do it."
The difference was Gert Mascio's leadoff home run in the sixth inning. The senior catcher drilled a pitch into left field. The ball bounced quickly onto busy Woodlawn Avenue.
"Before the game, on the bus, we were joking about who was going to hit a home run," Reifsnyder said. "It turned out to be Gert's day."
Reifsnyder did not know that she had fired one-hitter until told afterward by Little Flower coach Harvey Maddock. "I just go out and pitch," she said. "I just do what I have to do."
Reifsnyder, who lives in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia, will continue her career at Kutztown. Her two older sisters, Kate, 25, and Erin, 20, were pitchers at Villa Joseph Marie and Little Flower, respectively.
"I watched Kate when I was little," Maggie said. "She was a power-ball pitcher. Erin threw more off-speed stuff."
Reifsnyder plays club softball for the Philly Flash. Her father, Claude, is an assistant and first-base coach for the Sentinels.
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WP: Maggie Reifsnyder. LP: Kristen Paoletti.
HR: LF–Gert Mascino.