(Photos & Video’s by Lennie Malmgren and Kathy Leister for PSD)
By John Knebels
PHILADELPHIA – Through the years, Episcopal Academy has remained a consistent staple of excellence in softball. The plentiful plaques inside the school trophy case attest to that.
This year, Episcopal corralled one of its finest seasons ever.
On the strength of consistent hitting, strong defense, and at times unbelievable pitching, Episcopal finished 16-1 overall and 9-1 in the Inter-Academic League and captured its second straight Inter-Ac crown.
Although the goal of finishing undefeated did not come to fruition, EA coach Kelly Edwards cited more important results – intangibles that mean more than records.
“What has made this season so special is just how dedicated our
team has been to playing top-notch softball and how close-knit and connected they are,” said Edwards. “They are truly their own little family, and they take such good care of each other. It’s a bond a coach can only dream of.”
Among the lengthy individual and team highlights:
Along with batting .469 with a slugging percentage of .878 from the cleanup spot, sophomore pitcher Maddie Masiko allowed a miserly 13 runs in nine league games. An injury prevented her from competing in EA’s 8-2 loss at Germantown Academy in the season finale on May 16, the team’s only defeat. She finished with 150 strikeouts in only 79 innings with an earned-run average of 0.80.
Edwards compared Masiko to Episcopal phenom Alex Vuscusi, a 2015 grad who played at Princeton University and, Edwards pointed out, also wore number 7 – the same as Masiko.
“Maddie is just as talented and dominant as Alex was,” said Edwards. “Maddie had a goal this year of 150 strikeouts for the season, and miraculously, she got exactly that before being injured.”
Labeled as “stellar and humble” by her coach, sophomore catcher Hanna Mae Legaspi, who batted .347 with 16 RBI, played a major role in Masiko’s success because she was allowed to call pitches.
“She absolutely crushed it,” said Edwards. “Maddie is a powerhouse on the mound, but the pitch call is often what decides the strikeout, so Hanna-Mae certainly deserves a shout out for what she was able to accomplish behind the plate.
“On top of stellar pitch calls, she kept girls from stealing and had next to no passed balls all season. Umpires and opposing coaches alike comment on what a strong catcher Hanna-Mae is.”
Episcopal Academy sophomore pitcher Maddie Masiko. (Photo by Lennie Malmgren for PSD)
Episcopal Academy sophomore catcher Hanna Mae Legaspi. (Photo by Lennie Malmgren for PSD)
EA outscored its foes by a scary 160 to 32 with a team batting average of .379, on-base percentage of .440, and slugging percentage of .581.
Freshman shortstop Sophia Santinelli (.633 batting average; on-base percentage of .657; OPS of 1.450; 12 homers; 47 RBI) and returning freshman third baseman Sofia Foulds contributed critical performances on defense and offense.
Masiko was named league Most Valuable Player. Santinelli and senior Rylie Spor were named to first team. Foulds and Legaspi were named to second team.
“The best part about this team, though, is not their stats,” said Edwards. “It is how deeply they care about each other. We stress team chemistry, and these girls have become a little micro family this season. In my humble opinion, successful seasons always stem from teams that have good chemistry, and this crew was truly outstanding in that department.”
(Contact John Knebels at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @johnknebels.)