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April 29, 2012

Softball overtakes Northwest

by Sarah Wilson, Print Editor-in-Chief
BLAZER FIELD, April 28—

The Blair softball team (12-1) shut out the Northwest Jaguars (7-5), scoring eight runs in the process as the Jaguars struggled to get on base. With senior co-captain and pitcher Samantha Schweickhardt dominating the mound, Blair clinched the win thanks to consistent hitting and clever base running. While the Jaguars slammed a couple impressive hits into the outfield, Blair’s cohesive fielding and communication helped grab a fourth straight win of their near-perfect season.

Northwest’s tight outfielding held Blair at one run through the third inning. A double by sophomore Annie Pietanza followed minutes later by a triple by Schweickhardt that flew threw a gap in deep right brought in the first run of the game and set the tone for all at-bats to follow. By the bottom of the fourth, Blair was getting around Northwest’s defense, taking advantage of several in field errors. “Their pitching was solid but we came out really strong throughout and had solid hitting,” Schweickhardt said.

In the bottom of the fourth alone, five bases were stolen by freshman Andrea Brown and juniors Kara Madden and Sabine Lipten — who stole home for Blair’s sixth run — as the Northwest defense and catcher bobbled the ball. “Everyone was really aggressive on the bases today and the catcher wasn’t quite ready for that, so once she saw that we were stealing it seemed like she got deflated,” Brown said

Doubles by Brown and sophomore Briana Villa in the fourth maintained the batting momentum that climaxed with a sixth inning home run by Lipten. Lipten’s drive to left was overthrown to the infield as she rounded second. Taking advantage of the error Lipten continued on for the triple only for Northwest to fumble again with a dropped throw to third that allowed Lipten to slide into home for the final run. “We’ve been working a lot on getting good timing on the release so we can get good jumps off the bag, and move fast so no one can get us out,” Schweickhardt said.

While Schweickhardt’s challenging pitching often kept Northwest off the bases, several strong hits were fielded quickly by a communicative and energized defense. “Sam pitched a beautiful game, it was a shutout,” assistant coach Louis Hoelman II said. “She always pitches a beautiful game and you really build a team around your pitcher.”

In the fourth inning a grounder to third slipped by Madden and straight into the glove of Lipten at short stop, who dived to the ground behind Madden and ended the play before Northwest could round the field. Quick back up by Brown at left also kept the runner from leaving third as an overthrown ball slipped by Lipten. “We were good because of Sam and her great pitching and also the communication was there,” freshman Maria Cruz said. “The way we played together was really great.”

The varsity softball team will play its next home game against Watkins Mill on Saturday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m.



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