Six innings of "perfect" play not enough to counter late collapse against Damascus
APRIL 16, MONTGOMERY BLAIR STADIUM—
For most of tonight's game against top county team Damascus, the Blazers played their best softball of the season. The defense, which had been shaky at times during the team's first three games, was flawless. The Blazers hit the ball well against the tough Hornet pitcher and managed to put up a 4-1 lead going into the seventh. But a comebacker hit pitcher Michelle Linford in the shoulder and the Blazers' fortunes turned. Mental errors and a flurry of Damascus hits led to an extra inning and the Hornets claimed victory, 7-4.
With three freshmen starting in the field for the Blazers, inexperience has been a problem this season. It didn't show tonight, as the girls made heads-up plays one after another. And the team employed Coach Louis Hoelman's vision of a small-ball offense to a T, putting runners on base with bunts and slaps and letting the big hitters drive home runs.
And Linford was extremely impressive from the rubber. "I thought it was one of the gutsiest pitching performances I've seen in three years of coaching," said Hoelman. Linford had let up one run and one walk through six innings and then kept throwing her heart out after the line drive to her shoulder, even into the eighth.
"Basically, we played a perfect game until the last two innings, and then a couple of plays killed us," said Hoelman. A deep fly that "should have been caught," according to Hoelman, was followed by a dropped third strike. Both plays came in the seventh inning and both allowed runs to score. "Against a team like that, that's undefeated, you can't let them back in. Once we did that, we lost our momentum and our confidence," said Hoelman.
The Blazers started to look lost after Linford got hit. Senior Anna Schoenfelder dropped a routine throw at first for Damascus' first score since the third inning. Freshman left fielder Anna Szapiro and senior center fielder Becca Feiden failed to communicate on a fly ball and it dropped between them. Suddenly it was 4-3. A late throw home tied the game and it took a circus catch by Feiden to end the half-inning.
Because of the international tiebreaker rule, Damascus started the eighth inning with a runner on second. She scored on an error by Linford. Another run scored on an error by Ernst (her first of the year) and a strong hit capped it at 7-4. A heads up play by second baseman Schoenfelder ended Damascus' efforts, but the Blazers couldn't get their bats to wake up. Blair's runner on second in the bottom of the eighth, junior Carin Cox, didn't even get a chance to advance as the heart of Blair's lineup was unable to put another runner on the basepaths.
Blair will look to get back on track Monday, April 19 at Blake. The game will start at 7 p.m.
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »