St. Luke's, fueled by Marissa Ruschil, wins Western New England title
Updated 1:57 pm, Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Pitching in her fourth playoff game-and second championship contest-in under a week, St. Luke's senior ace Marissa Ruschil spun seven one-hit, shutout innings Sunday to secure the Western New England (WNEPSA) title, beating Chesire Academy 2-0.
In what quickly shaped up as a classic pitcher's duel, Ruschil matched zeroes with Cheshire Academy's Hannah Gailey until the Storm's two-run fourth inning rally spoiled Gailey's shutout bid. It would be enough to support Ruschil, who also earned the win in Wednesday's FAA title game against Holy Child.
Only three reached base for visiting Cheshire Academy, two via walk. Ruschil completed four 1-2-3 innings in her seven innings of work. But it was her contribution with the bat that helped set the stage for the pivotal rally. Following a walk to her younger sister and battery-mate Noelle, Ruschil dunked a single in front of center fielder Devin Morrison-one of her two singles on the day. Senior Avery Bachman slapped a ball to first. The relay home was too late to beat the sliding Noelle Ruschil.
Two batters later, freshman left fielder Courteney Newman hit a towering sacrifice fly to her counterpart, scoring the elder Ruschil. The three hits in the inning exceeded the Storm's output in their lone outing against Gailey and Cheshire Academy earlier this season: a 3-0 blanking in early April. The Storm lost only once more after that, finishing the season with an 11-game winning streak.
The team last won dual championships-FAA and New England's-in 2013, when the four seniors on this year's squad were sophomores. The Dickinson College-bound Ruschil aimed to return to the title game this season. Gathered with three fellow seniors post-game, Ruschil reflected on the successful campaign. "Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win," she said, her voice trailing off. "And we did," added an exultant Avery Bachman, the team's first baseman.