CUMBERLAND — Frankfort starts eight underclassmen, but they played well beyond their years against Bishop Walsh on Monday.
The star of the core group, All-State sophomore Avery Noel, was as advertised, striking out 15 Spartans in a complete-game, one-hit performance and scoring three times herself at the plate.
With Noel dealing, Frankfort scored just enough against All-Area arm Chloe Greise, as the Falcons topped the No. 4 Spartans, 5-1, on Monday night.
“Their senior in the circle, she’s a good pitcher,” Frankfort head coach Duke Lantz said. “That’s a quality win against a BW team that’s gonna win a lot of games.”
Bishop Walsh, entering the season off a program-best 20-6 campaign, is the older team on the whole. It’s led by senior returners Greise and Izzy Kendall, who are both committed to WVU Potomac State, Bailee Greise (Rosemont College) and Ariana Herrera.
However, the Spartans only put the ball in play seven times against Noel. Frankfort’s defense didn’t commit an error and Bishop Walsh made two, equating to a pair of unearned runs.
Frankfort struck out seven fewer times at the plate.
While the top half of Bishop Walsh’s line-up is as good as anyone’s in the area, the Spartans are still trying to figure out the rest of the order.
“I think we were out-played in all aspects,” Bishop Walsh head coach Chris Greise said. “We were out-played in the box taking third strikes. We were out-played defensively. Hats off to them. Hats off to Avery Noel, she pounded the zone and our hitters froze.”
An Aubrie Root sacrifice fly in the first inning plated Noel, who led off the inning with a two-bagger that clipped the left field fence for Frankfort’s first run.
Bishop Walsh leveled the tally in the top of the third when Bailee Greise chipped an RBI single to right field; however, that would be the Spartans’ first, and last, base hit.
Frankfort made it 3-1 in the bottom half of the third after an Adison Pritts single drove in a run. The ball snuck under the left fielder’s glove to plate another score.
Root and Raley Nestor tacked on a pair of Frankfort insurance runs on RBI singles in the fifth.
Bishop Walsh put runners on in the top of the fifth and top of the sixth, but on both occasions, Noel got out of dodge.
The latter frame showcased impressive grit by Noel, who was able to work out of trouble despite facing four consecutive full counts in the sixth. The sophomore right-hander answered back-to-back walks with an inning-ending strikeout.
Noel retired the side in order in the seventh to earn the victory. Her final line was one run allowed on one hit with 15 strikeouts and five walks in seven innings of work.
“You pitch six or seven innings, you’re getting tired,” Lantz said. “She’s got the attitude mentally to just work through it. ... Her pitch counts were higher in the past two innings.
“A less-experienced pitcher would give in on that.”
Noel paced Frankfort going 2 for 2 at the plate. Root was 1 for 1 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Breanna Bowers hit safely out of the No. 8 hole.
Chloe Greise allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
“I think Chloe did well keeping it around the zone,” coach Greise said. “There were a couple counts she had with two strikes where she went back across the middle instead of staying out and hitting her spots.”
Bishop Walsh (2-1) will look to rebound when it hosts Berlin Brothersvalley on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Frankfort (2-1) hosts Mountain Ridge (2-1) on Wednesday at 5.
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