LANSDALE — Pitching and defense are two of the keys to a winning softball team.

Lansdale Catholic demonstrated those two and a solid offense in picking up its second win of the young Philadelphia Catholic League season, beating Neumann-Goretti 2-0. The Crusaders are 4-1 overall.

The strong pitching came from sophomore Ashley Seal. Seal allowed only two hits, both of them bunt singles, struck out nine, walked two and didn't allow a run."That was probably her best game since she's been at LC,' Crusaders coach Paul Suder said. "She had really good command, she stayed ahead in the count, kept her fastball low and her rise ball coming out of the strike zone."Her change-up was excellent today. We called it a couple times and each time she dropped it a little bit lower, which we like to do."For me, it was the best game she's pitched so far at LC.'

Not exactly faint praise.

Seal knew that the Saints were going to be a formidable opponent. Neumann-Goretti had lost to Bonner-Prendergast on Tuesday 5-1."I heard they were doing pretty well this year,' Seal said, "so I expected a good game. I figured it was going to be a tough one but we battled through it.'

One of the things that Seal did in the game that impressed Suder was her command of her pitches."She could go up and down, inside and outside,' he said. "So far this year, this is the first game that she's been able to do that.'

Seal allowed only four baserunners. Saints' third baseman Alex Velaquez accounted for three of them with the two bunt singles and a walk and Madison Bright got on board with the other free pass.


And then there was the defense. The Crusaders played errorless ball behind Seal, something that she seems to expect from her teammates."They always do (play well),' she said. "They always back me up.'

Suder agreed."We're a very solid defensive team,' he said. "When the ball's put in play, we expect to make those plays.'

Offensively, the Crusaders managed only seven hits off Neumann-Goretti right-hander Melissa LaFauci. She didn't walk a batter nor strike out anyone but she only allowed the two earned runs."That girl wasn't overpowering,' Suder said. "She threw strikes and she didn't walk anybody and they played well behind her. We had six, seven balls hit hard and they made every play.'

But Lansdale Catholic had just enough offense to get the win.

The big blow came from senior Greta Sheridan. With one out in the second inning, she got hold of a LaFauci pitch and drove it over the center field wall for a solo home run."Greta's homer was big,' said Suder. "I think that really got us off."I don't think the score was any indication of how we hit the ball. We hit it really hard."Their third baseman made three outstanding plays. I was happy with the way we hit the ball even though we didn't have a lot of hits or score a lot of runs.'

The second LC run came in the third inning. Amanda Bradley led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Bridey Harkins, went to third with Alicia Kradzinski grounded out and scored on Kristin Szczepaniak's double down the third base line.

That was all that Seal and the defense needed.

Lansdale Catholic 2, Neumann-Goretti 0

Neumann-Goretti 000 000 0 — 0 2 0

Lansdale Catholic 011 000 X — 2 7 0

WP: Ashkey Seal 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

LP: Melissa LaFauci 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

2B: Alicia Kradzinski (LC), Kristin Szczepaniak (LC). HR: Greta Sheridan (LC).

Multiple Hits: Szczepaniak 2-for-3, 1 RBI.