PHOENIXVILLE - Pottsgrove sophomore Gabi Ermish pretty much took Thursday afternoon's softball game into her own hands as the Falcons reached the .500 mark for the early part of the season.
Ermish walloped a solo home run to start the game and then proceeded to pitch a four-hitter against Phoenixville with no earned runs allowed, nine strikeouts and just one walk as Pottsgrove beat the Phantoms, 8-1, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference contest.
The Falcons moved to 3-3 both in the PAC-10 and overall under first-year head coach Julie Davis.
The Falcons scored one run in the top of the first inning, and the contest remained that way until Pottsgrove exploded for six runs in the fifth inning against the Phantoms (1-5, 1-6).
Offensively, Ermish finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in as Pottsgrove banged out 12 hits on the day. Cori Dickinson also had two hits and a double for Pottsgrove.
Jenna Trythall, Rachel Cherubini and Shawna Maggio (double, three RBIs) fashioned two-hit outings for the Falcons.
"I am a little sore,' said Ermish, who also pitched Pottsgrove's victory over Perkiomen Valley Wednesday. "I threw yesterday and a game today. This was my second game (in two days).'
However, she stayed in control against Phoenixville by mixing up her pitches efficiently. She kept the Phantom hitters off balance by throwing a changeup, curveball along with a riseball at times.
So once the Falcons got her the big lead, it was just a matter of time before the victory became official.
"I thought they (Falcon hitters) did really well today,' said Ermish of her teammates. "I was happy with it.'
Ermish limited the Phantoms to one unearned run in the sixth inning as well as four singles. Kelly Knapp went 2-for-3 for the hosts with a first-inning infield hit and then a single to left field in the seventh that allowed Nicole Lemon (walk) to score Phoenixville's lone run. Lainey Michaud and Courtney Panepinto also singled for the Phantoms.
"Absolutely, we put it all together today,' said Davis, a former coach at Harry S Truman and Conwell Egan in Bucks County. "It was a team effort, and we kept on them for the big inning. We talk about momentum all the time. It's that team effort. That is what we have been working on.'
In the fifth inning, Pottsgrove sent 10 batters to the plate. The Falcons tallied their six runs on five hits and a walk, capped by Maggio's bases-loaded double to left field.
Freshman Jess Eldridge pitched the first 42/3 innings for Phoenixville and ended her stint with five strikeouts and one walk. Jennifer Rennard moved in from second base to complete the pitching chores.
"We are young,' said Phoenixville first-year head coach Jennie Moore. "Our starting pitcher is a freshman,a nd the rest are all sophomores and juniors.'
Moore praised Ermish for her effort against a Phoenixville ballclub that has struggled offensively during the early portion of the schedule.
"She pitched a really nice game,' said Moore. "We just didn't hit the ball. That has been our problem in the past four games. We are not giving ourselves opportunites to put runs on the board. We are not hitting. We have to keep hitting, and eventually they will fall. Our games have been close. We have been playing better defense. we have been hitting the ball (contact), but today we struck out more times than we have been.'