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SOFTBALL: Inter-Ac Title in Grasp as the Season Reaches Final Week of Play

By John Knebels Photos: Lennie Malmgren, Ryan Nix, Zamani Feelings, 05/06/24, 7:00PM EDT


Photos: Lennie Malmgren, Ryan Nix & Zamani Feelings

By: John Knebels

PHILADELPHIA – Though technically a regular-season bout, Tuesday afternoon’s much-anticipated softball duel between Episcopal Academy and host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy amounts to a pseudo-championship game.

A win by undefeated Episcopal (8-0) would clinch an outright title for the second consecutive season and provide a third straight crown overall since EA and SCH both finished 11-1 in 2022. A victory by SCH (7-1) would virtually assure a fourth championship (two outright) since 2017.

“I am very excited about this upcoming game, and I know the rest of the team is as well,” said Episcopal junior and reigning league Most Valuable Player Maddie Masiko. “We don’t take SCH lightly, as we know they have a talented lineup and solid defense.”

Episcopal’s only Inter-Ac challenge occurred on April 16 when the Churchmen edged SCH, 2-1. Though EA has outscored its league foes by 74-4, competing against the rival Blue Devils poses a distinct threat.

Masiko, whose pitching numbers (Career: 411 strikeouts, 45-2 record, 0.84 earned-run average; Season: 16-0, 0.71 ERA, 155 strikeouts) continue to defy logic, expects a championship-type atmosphere.

“I love pitching in tight games and I find those are the games where I improve the most,” said Masiko. “I learn new things about myself, like my ability to perform under pressure, especially in games that are a one-run difference like the last one. I find tight games to be wildly rewarding. 

“I’m very excited and grateful to be competing for the Inter-Ac title. This year, our team is so amazing and everyone pitches in to every win. I’m so proud of how far we have come and still have yet to come.”

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy particularly relies on freshman pitcher Sami Snyder (7-1, 1.09, 85 strikeouts, 12 walks), second-year captain and lone senior Kama Bode (team-best .517 average), and junior Morgan Risnychok (team-high 14 runs scored, .500-plus batting average).

“We’ve played fundamentally solid softball all season,” said SCH coach Stephanie Mill. “With Sami on the mound, the team knows that they have the ability to win any game. Kama is a vocal leader to a young team and can be relied on to make both the routine and difficult plays at first base. Morgan has also been a great addition to the lineup.

“We lost a very close 2-1 game against Episcopal the first time around. They believed they could win and have been working hard to win each game so that Tuesday we would be playing for first place. They know what they need to do, and being at home is also an advantage.  If they come to the field mentally ready to play, I’m confident we have the skills to win the game.” 

After an 0-2 start, Penn Charter won four of its next six. At 4-4, the Quakers have a strong probability to place third in the standings. Senior Macie Bergmann (.400 BA, 12 runs scored, two homers, 18 RBI), sophomore sister Madelyn Bergmann (.362 BA, 17 RS, 9 RBI, 14 stolen bases), and junior Ryan Hatty (.488 BA, 21 RS, homer, 8 RBI) have paced the offense; Hatty has doubled as an effective pitcher (6-3, 70 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched).

“The Bergmann sisters have been ‘thunder and lighting’ for us this year,” said PC coach Charles Warren. “Madelyn gets on, gets over, and Macie is almost sure to get her in as well as put herself in scoring position.”

Penn Charter went 6-3 in the month of April, outscoring opponents, 57-37, over that time period while stringing together 59 hits.

“The future generation of Penn Charter,” said Warren, “is looking bright, returning all but one defensive starter.”

Germantown Academy (2-3) defeated Baldwin, 7-5, and Notre Dame, 21-9. Baldwin School’s 1-5 record includes a 14-1 win over Notre Dame and close losses against Germantown Academy, 7-5, and Springside-Chestnut Hill, 6-3. Notre Dame Academy (0-7) has tallied 16 runs in its last five league games.

(Contact John Knebels at or on X – formerly Twitter – @johnknebels.)