Almost Perfect!

Varsity Softball (9-1; 13-3) in its second consecutive I.A.A.M. championship game appearance on Saturday May 12 soundly defeated Park School, 14-2, at Harford Community College to earn the Quakers their first title since 2005. (The School also won the championship in 2004.) The Bruins had beat the Quakers 14-5 earlier in the season, a game plagued by a "terrible" 3rd inning and the loss of  Julia Parker ’20 to a concussion, according to coach Ken Zalis. “The team could have gone in a very different direction [following the loss] but they came together after that and played with a passion for each other, no one else…this season was about them,” he said.

That passion was evident from the get-go on Saturday with back-to-back singles by Tyler Rifkin '18 and Katie Capizzi ’18, who will play D-I softball for Towson University next year. After a double-steal, the Quakes had 2nd and 3rd with no outs when Lucy Meigs’ ’18 popped-up short then retired Julia Parker and Olivia Nengel ’20 to get out of the jam. In the bottom half, Rifkin walked the first batter of the game, but then settled down and struck out the next two batters before enticing the third to ground out to second baseman Bridget Barry ’18, ending the 1st inning scoreless.

The second inning opened with Amelia Martin ’20 grounding out to first, Barry being hit by a pitch, and Grace Bowen ’20 striking out. With 2 out and a runner on 1st, the Quakes erupted for an 8-run streak that began with Sophie Rosenberg ’21 being hit by  a pitch, followed by Rifkin ripping a single to score Barry, and Capizzi being walked to load the bases. Consecutive singles by Meigs. Parker, Nengel, Martin, and Barry brought the Quaker fans to their feet.

Rifkin took over from there, retiring the Bruins’ batters in order in the 2nd and 3rd inning with four strikeouts. The Quakes added another run in the 4th as Nengel, who singled and took 2nd on a Martin “fielder’s choice,” scored on power-batter Bridget Barry’s second straight RBI single. (Barry would go 2 for 4 in the game.) Rifkin walked the lead-off hitter (her 2nd for the game) in Park’s half of the 4th, leading to the Bruins’ first run of the game on a throwing error. After four innings the Quakes led the game, 9-1.

Friends answered the Park run in the 5th inning with two more of their own as Rifkin hit a one-out single to left (her 4th hit of the game). Capizzi followed with a slap single and both advanced on a double steal as Meigs faked a bunt. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Meigs was up again and this time hit a hard shot to shortstop to score Rifkin, followed by Capizzi who would score on a wild pitch one batter later.

Rifkin continued her dominance in the Bruins’ 5th and 6th as she struck out the side in the 5th and added 2 more in the 6th. The 7th inning opened with the Quakes up 11-1 and 3 outs away from the title, but our offense wasn’t done yet. Grace Bowen grounded out to the pitcher to start the inning and pinch-hitter Abby Rosenberg ’21 grounded out to second. Like they had done for the entire game the Quakes then started another 2-out rally as Rifkin walked, Capizzi slapped a single to short, and both pulled off their third double-steals of the game, bringing Meigs up again for her last plate appearance in her 4-year Friends career. As she had done so many times before, Meigs stroked a clean single to right field, plating Rifkin and Capizzi (she had 5 RBIs in the game). Julia Parker followed with another single, putting runners at the corners with 2 outs. Nengel collected her 3rd hit of the afternoon, plating Meigs with the 14th and final Quaker run of the day.

In the bottom of the 7th Rifkin retired the first batter of the inning on a “major" league pop-up that Sophie Rosenberg drifted back and snagged. The next batter then hit a clean single to left field, the first hit Rifkin had allowed all game. Two more hits followed as Park cut the lead to 14-2. Rifkin struck out the next batter for her 14th K of the game (she was also 4 for 4 with four runs scored) and, following a Park player’s ground out to shortstop Sophie Rosenberg, the celebration began.

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