Blair moves on to Wednesday's semifinals with a 5-0 win
May 17, MAGRUDER FIELD—
The varsity softball team (16-3) will go on to the next round of the playoffs following a 5-0 victory against Magruder (2-1-14). Blair played a sound game with very few mistakes and dominated both offensively and defensively.
Blair's defense shut Magruder down with a combination of solid pitching by senior Eve Brown and consistent fielding from her teammates. Junior Rebecca Arbacher made several key plays in left field and freshman Annie Pietanza came up with big hits to bolster the Blazer offense.
Head coach Louis Hoelman said the team performed well in spite of the new challenges they had to deal with. The game was postponed from Monday to Tuesday, and then switched to Magruder's field at the last minute. Blair also had to face a team and a school that has been through emotional trauma in the last week with the death of three students. Blair players wore black ribbons on their uniforms in remembrance and the game was more somber than usual.
Offensively, the Blazers came out a little weaker than usual – but Pietanza would step up in a big way. The freshman hit three nearly identical shots into the outfield over the course of the game, each of which resulted in a double. Hoelman noted Pietanza as the MVP of the offense despite being surrounded by more experienced, upperclassmen teammates. As a team, Blair displayed strong hitting and base running during the second inning in particular, when the first three runs were scored.
Blair beat Magruder earlier in the season 12-0, and the game was stopped in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule. The results from Tuesday's game were less lopsided, but the Blazers said they were still proud of their play.
The Blazers went straight to the quarterfinals because of their first round bye. On Thursday, they return to Blair to face Gaithersburg in the semifinals. Gaithersburg beat Blair by one run in a heart-wrenching game earlier in the season, and the Blazers want revenge. "They beat us in the regular season and we definitely could have won," Brown said. "This is our chance to redeem ourselves."
Last year's softball team was eliminated in the quarterfinals, so the current Blazers are excited to be moving past this stage. It remains to be seen who will compete in the finals, but Blair is confident in its chances to go all the way.
The varsity softball team will play Gaithersburg in the quarterfinals on Thursday, May 18 at 4:00 p.m. at home.
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