Philadelphia Public League falls quickly

“This was def­in­itely the worst loss I’ve ex­per­i­enced since play­ing in high school be­cause there is no mercy rule. But I learned to play through it and keep my head up.” —Jes­sica Figueroa

The sev­enth an­nu­al Soft­ball Car­penter Cup Clas­sic took place last Monday through Thursday at Frank­lin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Phil­adelphia. The 15 par­ti­cip­at­ing teams are sim­il­ar to all-star teams — the pur­pose of the double-elim­in­a­tion tour­na­ment is to give the best high school play­ers in the tri-state area the op­por­tun­ity to show­case their tal­ents in front of col­lege scouts.

At field No. 5, Phil­adelphia’s finest Pub­lic League play­ers took on the best play­ers from Berks County, who traveled nearly 70 miles to play and did not dis­ap­point. They dis­mantled Philly Pub­lic in an ugly 17-0 troun­cing on June 21.

Jes­sica Figueroa, who’ll be a seni­or at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School, took the hill for Phil­adelphia Pub­lic and found her­self in trouble early. After walk­ing the first bat­ter and get­ting the second to ground out to second base, Figueroa sur­rendered a single and a triple, put­ting Philly Pub­lic in an early 2-0 hole.

In the bot­tom of the first in­ning, Berks County pitch­er Court­ney Al­len gave a pre­view of the en­tire game. After Phil­adelphia Pub­lic’s leadoff hit­ter, Alyssa Foronda, reached base on an er­ror, Al­len struck out the next two bat­ters and got cleanup hit­ter Tyanna Hud­son, who will be a seni­or at Frank­ford High School, to fly out. The ma­jor­ity of Phil­adelphia Pub­lic’s base run­ners reached on walks and er­rors, and no more than four bat­ters went to the plate in an in­ning.

The second in­ning got worse for Philly as Berks’ first two bat­ters reached on con­sec­ut­ive er­rors and ad­vanced with a balk. After three er­rors, a walk, a balk and a single, Phil­adelphia Pub­lic was down 6-0 after two in­nings.

Berks tacked on three more runs in the third and five more in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Down 14-0 in the sixth in­ning, Figueroa was pulled and re­placed by Frank­lin Towne Charter’s Jess Peoples, who sur­rendered three more runs.

“I don’t want to say we beat ourselves, be­cause that would take away from what Berks did, but we had a very lim­ited amount of time to get to­geth­er our team and very lim­ited time to prac­tice,” said Phil­adelphia Pub­lic coach Megan Con­dit after the loss. “Weath­er and field space really af­fected our prac­tice lately. We nev­er even had a full team prac­tice.”

Er­rors proved the most det­ri­ment­al ele­ment for the Pub­lic League, which com­mit­ted sev­en er­rors, six of which Berks con­ver­ted to runs.

“This is our second year play­ing in the tour­na­ment,” ex­plained Con­dit, who also coaches at the Aus­tin Mee­han Middle School. “We’re just go­ing to keep play­ing and be ready for next year’s tour­na­ment.” 

For Figueroa, the fi­nal score was something she saw a lot dur­ing her high school team’s sea­son, but from the win­ning per­spect­ive. Lin­coln went 10-3 and fin­ished third in the league stand­ings be­fore los­ing to North­east High School in the first round of the play­offs. The Railsplit­ters were an of­fens­ive ma­chine, pro­du­cing an av­er­age of 13 runs per game and post­ing two shutouts.

“It was tough at the be­gin­ning,” Figueroa said of the un­fa­mili­ar­ity of Berks’ bat­ters. “This was def­in­itely the worst loss I’ve ex­per­i­enced since play­ing in high school be­cause there is no mercy rule. But I learned to play through it and keep my head up.” 

The Phil­adelphia Pub­lic League mercy rule calls for for­feit­ure of a game if a team leads by 15 runs after three in­nings or 10 runs after five in­nings. That rule does not ap­ply to the Car­penter Cup Clas­sic. 

The loss was some­what of a fa­mil­i­ar set­ting for Tyanna Hud­son, who en­dured a very tough year with Frank­ford High School. The Pi­on­eers won just three games, sur­ren­der­ing an av­er­age of 14 runs per game. They also were outscored by an av­er­age of 10 runs per game.

“This was really rough,” said Hud­son, who primar­ily plays third base. “I’m used to los­ing by like eight runs, not six­teen or sev­en­teen. We just made too many mis­takes and kept drop­ping the ball. They were hit­ting the ball really well and cap­it­al­iz­ing on our mis­takes.”

Berks hit the ball ex­tremely well, get­ting at least two hits an in­ning, not to men­tion their bat­ters who reached base on walks and er­rors.

Phil­adelphia Pub­lic per­formed well in the second of its two games on June 21, yet still loss, this time to Inter-Ac, 3-1. Berks was elim­in­ated from the tour­na­ment the fol­low­ing day after four games.

Phil­adelphia Pub­lic was not alone in its lop­sided loss; Tues­day’s brack­et show­cased just three games where the win mar­gin was less than five runs.

Just four girls on this year’s Philly Pub­lic roster are eli­gible to re­turn to the tour­na­ment next year. The oth­er play­ers have gradu­ated.

“Next year I hope to start prac­ti­cing early and win some games,” said Con­dit. ••

Re­port­er Dave Nes­cio can be reached at Dave.Nes­

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