Girard blanks Salem

SALEM – Even with the temperatures rising into the upper 70s, Girard’s Neco Maderitz made sure to bring the heat.

Using a powerful fastball that left Salem’s bats floundering, Maderitz and the Indians shut out the Quakers, 9-0, Wednesday.

“She’s the best pitcher I’ve ever coached,” Girard coach Renny Paolone said. “She has three or four pitches, including that fastball. She’s the most coachable pitcher I’ve ever had.”

Maderitz struck out 14 Quakers while allowing just two hits in a complete game effort. Not a single Salem player advanced past second base. Salem falls to 2-14 with the loss.

“We weren’t doing a very good staying off the high ones,” Salem coach Jodie Hippely said. “She would start low, then come up high to get our hitters to chase. We didn’t show a lot of bat speed either. She blew it right by us.”

Maderitz was dominant for much of the game, including a streak of nine consecutive Quakers retired stretching from the third to the fifth inning. Of those nine, six were retired via strikeout.

“It’s really a work ethic thing,” Paolone said. “She works year round. She’s not one of those girls who starts practicing in February. When the season ends, she will be playing summer ball. She never quits.”

Maderitz also provided crucial offensive production for Girard (10-7) at the plate. She hit a pair of doubles and had three RBIs. Girard accumulated 16 hits as a team, including five for extra bases. The Indians used their extensive bat power to find gaps in Salem’s outfield, advancing runners and bringing runs around to score.

“We made some really good plays defensively,” Hippely said. “They were just hitting the ball so well. We’ve had some games where we have shot ourselves in the foot with errors, but this wasn’t one of them.”

Salem had just two errors in the contest, both coming in the four-run third inning that gave Girard its first lead. Besides that, the Quakers were simply overmatched by Girard’s stellar offense.

“There’s always that one inning in these games that we just can’t get out of,” Hippely said. “In all of our losses, we’ve had that one inning where it all falls apart. If we stop those innings, we can compete against anybody. We still have a young team.”

Girard also received major contributions from Kylie Kulon and Mackenzie Oesky. Each went 4-for-4, including a pair of triples and two RBIs from Kulon. Callie Jay added two hits and an RBI.

Paolone hopes that this season will provide a successful launching pad for both the team and the individual players.

“(Kylie) Kulon is going to Gannon,” Paolone said. “Nico (Maderitz) is going to play ball in college too, but she’s only a junior. We want all these girls to go to college. For the time being, we got to district finals last year. Hopefully we get to regionals this time.”

Salem’s two hits came from Kristen Brown and Sarah Smith. The Quakers’ only runner in scoring position came in the first inning, when Maderitz hit the first two Salem batters with pitches.

After two scoreless innings, Girard opened up the third with four hits, a walk, and a Salem error to plate four runs. The Indians would score two each in the fourth and fifth innings to double their lead. Their ninth run was brought around by an Justine Boccieri RBI single in the seventh.