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Hatboro-Horsham wins behind strong pitching

Maggie Shaffer won her 20th game of the season, shutting out Bishop Shanahan.

Bishop Shanahan pitcher Kate Poppe dives for the ball, but can't stop Hatboro-Horsham from scoring.
Bishop Shanahan pitcher Kate Poppe dives for the ball, but can't stop Hatboro-Horsham from scoring.Read moreBOB WILLIAMS / For The Inquirer

Maggie Shaffer's sun-faded visor was pulled down low enough to almost cover her eyes. The space that remained visible was taken up by a pair of dark-brown athletic sunglasses that she has worn since suffering an eye injury last season.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon at Walker Field in Upper Merion, the Hatboro-Horsham righthanded pitcher's visor continued to fade, as she won her 20th game of the season.

Shaffer pitched all seven innings, striking out four and allowing only two batters to reach second base in a 3-0 victory over Bishop Shanahan in the PIAA state Class AAAA playoff quarterfinals.

"That's typical Maggie, always poised and focused," freshman teammate Kelsey Koelzer said.

With her team at bat in the sixth inning and threatening to extend its one-run lead, Shaffer stayed calm on the bench, talking with her teammates.

"I try not to get nervous," Shaffer said, "just try to calm my teammates down."

In the sixth, Shaffer found herself in the only troublesome situation of the afternoon. With a runner on third and two outs, assistant coach Erika Lee walked toward the mound to talk to her pitcher.

"She just made sure she was calm that (Shaffer) was focused on the next hitter," head coach Kelly Krier said.

Shaffer ended the threat by striking out the next batter who took an off-speed pitch on the outside corner, one pitch after the batter was late on the pitcher's fastball.

After retiring the first two batters of the third inning, Shanahan starting pitcher Katie Poppe got sophomore Val Sadowl to hit a grounder to the left side of the infield. The throw from the third baseman popped out of the first basemen's glove.

"I thought I was out when I ran past the bag and then I saw coach Lee jumping up and down," Sadowl said.

Chelsea Edwards then worked a full count, fouling off four pitches before receiving a base on balls. After Edwards and Sadowl each advanced on a passed ball, Sadowl scored for a 1-0 Hatboro-Horsham lead when Poppe's pitch sailed off the top of the catcher's glove and into the backstop.

Sadowl said that Krier, who was coaching third, had told her to be alert for a passed ball and be ready to break for the plate.

"I saw that the pitch was spinning up and I didn't swing at it because I didn't want to strike out," Koelzer said.

Poppe also threw a complete game, striking out 12 and walking one batter. Shanahan coach Ron Savisto was pleased with his sophomore's performance, but noted that it was critical for his team to be able to be mistake-free at this time of the season.

Bishop Shanahan 000 000 0 - 0 3 1

Hatboro-Horsham 001 002 x - 3 5 0

WP: Maggie Shaffer. LP: Katie Poppe. 2B:HH-Chrissy James, Val Sadowl.