PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville's problems with stranding baserunners continued against undefeated Boyertown on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite a different lineup, the Phantoms left seven more runners aboard in suffering a 4-0 softball setback at the hands of the Bears in Pioneer Athletic Conference action.
Phoenixville (2-5) has now stranded 56 baserunners in seven games for an average of eight per outing. The Bears (6-0) got a six-hit shutout from freshman pitcher Shelby Beaver, who struck out seven batters and walked none, and was aided by some timely defensive plays.
Senior Kim March pitched a strong game for the Phantoms, giving up one unearned run through six innings, before the Bears broke loose for three additional tallies in the top of the seventh inning.
March permitted three earned runs and seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
"We still didn't score," said Phoenixville coach Joe Bogus. "You have to try and make breaks when you can. The kids are a little frustrated right now. They know they are leaving runners on base. I tried mixing things up a little bit."
Phoenixville first baseman and leadoff batter Becca Clayton went 3-for-4 while Jess Pierce, March and freshman right fielder Ruth Jasienski had the other hits for the Phantoms.
No. 3 batter Kristyn Loughery lined out twice. The first time came with two on and nobody out in the first inning and resulted in a 4-3 double play.
"Either side of second base and that's a double," said Bogus.
In the fifth inning, Loughery lined out to Michelle Bishe in right field to move Clayton to third base. Bishe made a running catch in foul territory on freshman Miranda Peto to retire the side in the fourth and threw out Peto at first base on a hard hit to the outfield for the second out in the seventh inning.
Phoenixville's Courtney Heming reached base twice on fielder's choice plays and had a sacrifice bunt. In the third inning, Heming got on base, stole second base but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single to center field by Pierce. Katie Fisher made the throw to catcher Kerry Fisher for the Bears.
For Boyertown, Katie Fisher laced a two-run double in the seventh inning and scored twice. Kerry Fisher also finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
"They (Bears) have a nice team," Bogus said. "They are well-coached. Sue (Benfield) has been there a long time (35 years). They are fundamentally sound."
Benfield is pleased with how her young team is responding to the pressure of the wars in the PAC-10.
"We couldn't get our hitting untracked today (Tuesday)," Benfield said. "Their pitcher (March) threw a nice game. "Last year we couldn't buy a break, but I couldn't complain last year. This year things are falling in place.
"We are not hitting as well as I would like. But Katie had a nice hit with two strikes and two outs. Shelby pitched a nice game. I don't count the dribblers. We have been playing together. We made errors last year, but this year we cleaned up our act with a younger team."
Third baseman Beth Griesemer, second baseman Nikki Schwenk and first baseman Sara Campo are sophomores and shortstop Jamie Unger is a junior.
Boyertown visits Lansdale Catholic today while Phoenixville travels to Owen J. Roberts Thursday.