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SOFTBALL: Composed Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Rallies Back to Defeat Penn Charter for PAISAA Title

By John Knebels (photos by Rick Martin), 06/07/24, 3:00PM EDT


Photos/Videos: Rick Martin & John Knebels

By: John Knebels

COLLEGEVILLE, PA – After constantly coming back from sure defeat in the semifinals, Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy stayed cool, calm, and collected in the final despite a somewhat disastrous start.

After trailing by deficits of 4-0 and 5-2, the Blue Devils quickly regained their composure and defeated Penn Charter, 10-6, on May 23 at Ursinus College for their second PAISAA softball championship in three years and third altogether.

“If we hadn’t had that semifinal game,” said SCH coach Stephanie Mill, “maybe we would have gotten a little nervous and froze up.”

Mill was referring to the Blue Devils’ 6-5, 10-inning victory over Germantown Academy two days earlier. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh and their season on the brink of completion, SCH tied the game on a two-run single by first-team all-league freshman Sami Snyder. Down 3-2 in the ninth, a groundout by first-team junior Morgan Risnychok forged a 3-3 deadlock. After GA scored twice in the 10th, freshman Elizabeth Welch knocked in a run to make it 5-4 before Risnychok delivered the most clutch hit of her career, a single that scored two runs for a walk-off triumph.

So after Penn Charter, sparked by the top-of-the-lineup trio of freshman Ellie McKernan (two hits, run scored), second-team sophomore Madelyn Bergmann (two hits, triple, two runs scored), and first-team senior Macie Bergmann (three hits, double, two runs scored), opened the PAISAA championship by batting around and scoring four runs (one earned), the Blue Devils didn’t flinch, responding with a first-inning, two-run homer by Snyder to cut PC’s edge in half. Similar details followed after falling behind by 5-2 in the second when sophomore second-teamer Sadie Friedman knocked in two runs with a single and Risnychok added a game-tying triple.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 2024 PAISAA Champions

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 2024 PAISAA Champs (Photo/ Rick Martin)

“It was only the first inning and the players themselves weren’t that worried,” said Mill. “If we hadn’t had that game (against Germantown Academy), maybe we would have been a little nervous and froze up. Some of our errors were very uncharacteristic, but you never know. That’s the way this game works sometimes. But we came right back and scored two and it relaxed everybody, and this team had plenty of time left to make a comeback.”

Snyder agreed.

“As a pitcher, it’s really important to keep calm no matter what’s happening in the field and just pitch your game because a lot of it is on you, and you have to stay calm,” said Synder. “I know we were down four and we had to come back and I just wanted to stay back on the ball (on her homer). We knew we just had to keep pushing and put pressure on them.”

Behind 6-5 in the bottom the fifth, the Blue Devils broke the game open when they sent 11 hitters to the plate and tallied five runs on the strength of a lead-off double by Snyder, three walks, three hit by pitches, and two errors. Snyder retired the last seven batters and finished with eight strikeouts.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy vs. William Penn Charter in 2024 PAISAA Title Game (video highlights/ John Knebels for PSD)

“To see how much they worked hard and to see them get all the way here with or without my help was just so heart fulfilling,” said first-teamer Kamaha’o Bode, the unquestioned leader of SCH and the squad’s lone senior. “It make me speechless. To see us come back multiple times, not only today, but against GA. I just know this team has grit and will continue to have it even after I leave.”

SCHa standout Kamaha’o Bode reflects on being the lone senior on PAISAA championship roster. (Video/ John Knebels for PSD)

Freshman pitcher Sami Snyder helped Springside Chestnut Hill Academy win the PAISAA championship. (Video/ JOhn Knebels for PSD)

Mill reflected on Bode’s graduation.

“Four-year starter and two-year captain,” said Mill. “Very local leader. Extremely passionate about the sport. Having a young team, it was great that she was the leader and such a presence up to bat. We’re going to miss that next year.”

Penn Charter coach Charles Warren’s Quakers got hot at the right time of the season.

“Since our last game against Germantown Academy, we’ve been able to come back,” said Warren. “All the girls played very hard. It’s always unfortunate feeling this way. We never really felt like we were out of it. We left nothing on the table. I’m totally proud of every one of our girls.”

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

Penn Charter coach Charles Warren emerged proud of his team’s effort in PAISAA championship loss to SCHA. (video/ John Knebels for PSD)