Shearer’s two homerun day powers Knights over Truman

Sophomore+Julia+Shearer+sends+the+first+of+her+two+home+runs%2C+over+the+center+field+fence+in+the+1st+inning.

Colin Davis

Sophomore Julia Shearer sends the first of her two home runs, over the center field fence in the 1st inning.

TOWAMENCIN – A sophomore is usually not expected to be a top hitter on a varsity team. In the case of North Penn, with a roster full of underclassmen, sophomore Julia Shearer has stepped up to that challenge. Being the leadoff hitter for the Lady Knights is a difficult task, but Shearer has expectations for herself that allow her to be productive in the lineup. In the midst of a mini-slump, Shearer just wanted to get on base. 

“Last week, I was going through a slump,” Shearer said. “I was just up there looking for something to hit and put the bat on the ball.”

On a 1-2 pitch, Shearer sat on a changeup and sent it over the center-field fence for a leadoff home run for North Penn. While rounding the bases, Shearer was audibly yelling “I’m back,” letting herself know that her slump was over. 

Hitting that one felt really good and I knew I had my swing back. I was so excited.”

— Julia Shearer

“They were all joking that I’d be down with JV soon,” Shearer said. “So hitting that one felt really good and I knew I had my swing back. I was so excited.” 

The sophomore was the spark behind North Penn’s 12-0 5 inning win over Harry S. Truman on Tuesday evening. Senior Mady Volpe gained another shutout, her 7th of the 2021 season. Offensively, the Lady Knights gained production from up and down the lineup as six different hitters drove in a run. Shearer went 2-3 with 2HR’s and 3 RBI’s, junior Sophia Collins went 2-2 an HR and 4 RBI’s. Sophomore Reyna Doherty went 1-1 with an RBI triple. North Penn head coach Rick Torresani noted how the offensive production from his underclassmen is a direct result of preparation. 

“It all started back in September with offseason workouts,” Torresani said. “North Penn sports is a tradition and they want to honor that tradition. They came out and worked hard before the season. We put pressure on them in the offseason so that way, in the game, there is no pressure.” 

Volpe started her outing in familiar fashion, sitting down the leadoff hitter on strikes. After a walk draw by junior Hannah Smith, the next two Bensalem hitters were retired with no problem. Shearer’s leadoff homer, in the bottom half, put the Lady Knights up 1-0 after the first inning. Senior Emily Kavulic got a two-out single off of Volpe in the second, but that was the only baserunner and the inning ended with a flyout. Sophomore Bri Wilmot led off the bottom half with a double. Torresani praised Wilmot’s ability to connect with the ball and acknowledged her being a difference-maker.

“Bri went 3-3 today and it was great,” Torresani said. “She’s hitting near .600, which is like ‘Woah.’ For her first full season, as a sophomore, it’s amazing.”

Freshman Gianna Cimino singled, putting runners at the corners. A single by senior Carley Digiuseppe drove in Wilmot and sent Cimino to third.  After a fielder’s choice that kept runners at 1st and 3rd, senior Rachel Lowry hit a hard ball to second base that scored Cimino. Shearer stepped up and replicated her at bat from the previous inning. This time Shearer took the ball opposite field and over the left-field fence for a two-run homer, stretching North Penn’s lead to 5-0. 

“They switched pitchers right before me at bat,” Shearer said. “I just hit the ball on the right part of the bat and it went.” 

Sophomore Sarah Sabocsik followed right behind the homer with a single. Fellow sophomore Anabella Smink drove in Sabocsik all the way from first with an RBI triple. The electric 2nd frame gave North Penn an early 6-0 lead.

After the run support gave her some breathing room, Volpe settled in and returned to her shutdown self. Volpe demonstrated how unhittable she truly is striking out the side while pounding the zone for strikes consistently. 

Wilmot and Cimino each recorded their second hits of the game on a single and a double. A hard hit ball by Digiuseppe was snagged for the first out. Collins blew the game wide open with a three run home run making the lead 9-0 in favour of the Lady Knights. 

“It felt really good,” Collins said. “Especially since I have not been hitting that well and getting a hit with people on ase is key.”

Another base knock was all that could be managed following the home run, keeping North Penn up 9 after 3 full innings. Once again, Volpe sat down the side in order. This time, she mixed up the results, using two groundouts and a strikeout to get the frame closed. Torresani realized how many short productive innings on the mound are for his team. 

Mady pitched so well. What more can be said, she has 7 shutouts on the year, and Mady is Mady. She’s great.”

— Coach Rick Torresani

“Mady pitched so well,” Torresani said. “What more can be said, she has 7 shutouts on the year, and Mady is Mady. She’s great.”

Volpe made an impact both in the field and on offense, hitting a 1 out single in the 4th and getting things started. Wilmot got her third hit of the game on an RBI double, giving North Penn a 10 run advantage. Doherty stepped up and hit a ball down the right field line. Wilmot scored easily and Doherty slid into third with an RBI triple. Freshman Jaclyn Diaz drew a walk and Collins singled after to score Doherty. Another big inning set up Volpe to shut the door in the 5th. 

Volpe did just that. A leadoff walk was followed by a popup back to Volpe. A dribbler up the first baseline setup a fielder’s choice that advanced the runner to second.  A second walk put runners on 1st and second, but that’s as far as they would go. Volpe got her 7th punch out of the game and shut the door on any type of comeback by Truman. 

A victory like this has Torresani excited as the season nears playoff time. 

“Now is the time we have to get ready for playoffs,” Torresani said. “

Everybody is going to be gunning for us and we got to go out and show that we are ready. Today seemed like an indication that we are.”

— Coach Rick Torresani

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North Penn will attempt to carry the momentum over to Thursday’s game at CB West with a first pitch time of 3:30. Coach Torresani is on the cusp of a historic milestone as Thursday will present him with the opportunity to earn his 400th career coaching win.