Blazers suffer seventh inning loss to Poolesville
BLAZER FIELD, April 24 —
The girls' varsity softball team (10-2) suffered its second loss of the season in a hard-fought struggle with a skilled, Poolesville Falcons team. Though the Blazers were very successful offensively, an inability to defensively hold their two run lead in the top of the seventh inning caused the defeat.
Blair Coach Louis Hoelman was not happy with his team's defensive play in the last inning. "We didn't put them away. We were up by two runs, but then we fell apart,” he said.
Blair was first to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore outfielder Molly Nicholson hit a single, stole second base, moved to third on a bunt from sophomore outfielder Becca Arbacher, and was batted into home off a single by junior shortstop Blake Morgan-Gamber. Arbacher and Morgan-Gamber then moved to second and third on a hit by junior outfielder Katlyn Harmison, who was out at first. They both then stole home on a Poolesville error, making the score 3-0 with Blair maintaining the lead.
Unfortunately, the Falcons retaliated by scoring three runs in the top of the fifth inning and one more in the top of the sixth to take a one-run lead. This didn't last for long though, as Blair pushed ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Harmison walked, junior catcher Emily Haislip hit a single, and they both scored off a long triple by sophomore pitcher Samantha Schweickhardt, who later stole home to score the third run of the inning. Going into the seventh inning, Blair's 6-4 lead made the game look promising.
Schweickhardt believes that a combination of factors, including the weather, exhaustion after playing so many games in a row, lack of practice time and the injury of senior first baseman and captain Chloe Sheridan contributed to this defensive lapse and the game's poor outcome.
When Blair defense fell flat in the top of the seventh, the Falcons were allowed three runs. Unable to penetrate Poolesville's defense in the bottom of the inning, Blair lost the game by one run with a final score of 7-6, Poolesville.
In general, Haislip believes that there were way too many defensive mistakes throughout the game. "I don't think that everyone in every position played 100 percent, and lazy mistakes were what caused the loss,” she said. But Haislip also said that Schweickhard's pitching was in no way to blame for the result. "Sam pitched an amazing game and I really wanted to win it for her, but the team didn't back her up,” she said.
On a positive note, Hoelman believes the team's concentration was much improved from previous games. "Offensively, we did everything we needed to do to win that game. We were in a good mental place. We just lost our focus at the end,” he said.
Haislip agrees that the team's offense was impressive. "We made tough plays, got clutch hits and did well capitalizing on errors,” she said.
Though this loss is disappointing to the Blazers who have had led a strong season thus far, it does not affect their division standings. The team have already finished the division in a three-way tie for first place with Sherwood and Paint Branch. According to Hoelman it will, however, affect their seeding in the playoffs which is based on the team's overall record.
In preparation for the rest of the season, Schweickhardt believes the team needs to work on better handling high pressure situations. "This season we've had a lot of games that have been down to the wire where we've had to make plays. We need to practice these real life scenarios so that we can work past that to get the win,” she said.
Editor's note: Blake Morgan-Gamber is a staff writer for Silver Chips Online.
Softball plays its next home game on April 29 against Gaithersburg at 7 p.m.
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