All season, senior Olivia Murphy has paced the Crusaders’ softball team with her arm and bat. In the District 3 Class 4A final played at Lyons Field near Kutztown on a stormy June 4 night, the story was the same and the result too, as Bishop McDevitt bested the Hamburg Hawks, 5-0, to win district gold.
Murphy pitched a complete game shutout, giving up only two hits – neither of which set up any scoring threat. The Hawks never had a runner reach third base and, to back up Murphy in the circle, the Crusaders’ defense did not commit an error. Murphy’s ERA was a paltry 1.21 during the regular season and that was slimmed even more with the complete game shutout as the Hawks never really could catch up to the velocity and superb control thrown at them.
The Crusaders’ offense did not get going until the bottom of the fourth when they strung a few hits together and took advantage of three Hawk fielding miscues to push across five runs in the inning. The Crusaders’ offense is led by senior shortstop and lead-off hitter Maddie Lehigh, who got off her early game snide with a base hit that seemed to ignite the Crusaders.
But, in the middle of the 5th inning, a lonely thunderstorm cell drifted over eastern Berks County, which prompted a 45-minute lightning delay. Murphy, who also drove in her 100th career RBI during the game, retook the mound and was even more dominant after the weather delay with several strikeouts in the final two innings to stifle Hamburg’s offense that had been run producing all season.
In the first round of the PIAA state tournament, the Crusaders beat Berwick in a game that went extra innings in the excessive heat and humidity of an early June heatwave. Again, Murphy pitched all nine innings, giving up only two runs to lead the Crusaders into the meat of the bottom bracket of the 4A championship. Great pitching and solid defense wins on the diamond, and McDevitt has both in good supply.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness