MERION STATION, PA 5/3/2104 – With the facility at Merion Station on the Maguire Campus at Saint Joseph’s a fan of the school or the sports of baseball and softball can see both of the events in one day, and at times from one vantage point. There are few places that such a possibility exists. Other than Saint Joe’s, the Temple University Ambler Sports Complex is such a place.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon I opted to visit the Saint Joseph’s complex to see the softball doubleheader and the baseball game. At times at once.
The day started at noon with the first game of a softball doubleheader, Saint Joseph’s against St. Bonaventure. The Hawks were wearing pink jerseys to highlight breast cancer awareness day. It was fun to see how the SJU players would go through their rituals to let each other know how many outs there were that inning.
In the third inning something magical happened. Not on the field, in the stands. After 62 years I finally caught a foul ball. How do you savor such a moment? By tossing the ball to some young fans in attendance. They gave the ball back to the team. I think they enjoyed that more than I did in getting the ball.
In the Hawks half of that inning left fielder Melissa Ruf homered to left to give her team a 1 – 0 lead. In the fourth an RBI double by Ruf scored center fielder Maria Ficca put Saint Joe’s ahead 2 – 0. After the Bonnies cut the lead to 2 – 1 SJU scored twice in the sixth second baseman Sarah Yoos singled to left center scoring Ficca and right fielder Bella Picard. Relief Pitcher Emily Rogers who came on in the fifth got her third save thanks to the team defense. With two on and none out shortstop Emily McDonough hit a liner to Yoos who turned it into a double play. Rogers ended he game catching a liner by first baseman Katie Sinclair. Niki Carillo got her 5th win of the season and the Hawks were 9 – 6 in Atlantic 10 play. And it was time to take the short walk up the hill to the baseball game at Smithson Field.
Since it was Family and Alumni Day, the Hawks had a special visitor in Phillies broadcaster and alum Jamie Moyer. The Phillie Fanatic was in attendance and made a trip to obstruct the view from the broadcast site. The starting lineup was announced by Greg Murphy of the Phillies radio and television team. And I was able to report the final score of the softball game to the Saint Joseph’s Radio Network play-by-play announcer and baseball SID Joe Greenwich.
The game started well for the Hawks against the Richmond Spiders as center fielder Chris Hueth led off with a double. He scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Collin Forgey. SJU held the lead until the fifth when Richmond tied it. Saint Joe’s got the lead back in the bottom of the sixth when Catcher Brian O’Keefe doubled home Hueth, then later scored on a single by Forgey.
It was time to check in on the softball game. The fields are close enough to see both venues from the hill. A foul ball from the baseball game could land on the softball field or stands. Hence the term “heads up” was heard quite often. The softball team was leading 4 – 1 after four innings. Yoos batted in two runs to this point. Again, I would report the score to Greenwich.
Turning around back to baseball O’Keefe added a 2-run home run to right field to give the Hawks the 5 – 2 win, their 29th of the season. It was their 10th straight win, the second longest streak in program history. Jordan Carter won his 8th game going 8 innings giving up 5 hits, 2 runs, and struck out 7. SJU held the top spot in the Atlantic 10. Hawks Win!
I walked back down the hill and got the story from softball SID Jack Jumper that the team swept St. Bonaventure winning game two 7 – 2. Third baseman Morgan Earling batted in 2 runs with a double to left center as part of a 3-run fifth inning for Saint Joseph’s. Anna Lauterbach posted her 4th win of the season going 6 innings giving up a run, 3 hits, and struck out 5 batters. The Hawks were 10 – 6 in league play and would be the #3 seed going into the conference tournament.
That ended the day. Three games in a short space and short period of time. Three for three for Saint Joe’s. If you are a fan of the sport or the school, you can’t beat it. Like the game? It was the place to be that afternoon. Many fans got to both sites. Everyone felt involved. Saint Joe’s showed how to effectively use the placement of the facility to everyone’s convenience.
If only I could have figured out how to get to the lacrosse game, I would have seen it all on Hawk Hill.
Written By: Glenn Papazian