APRIL 24, MONTGOMERY BLAIR STADIUM-
Starting four softball games in one day is difficult by any measure. But it's just what star freshman Michelle Linford did today, pitching in three games for her club team, the Senators, during the day, and then coming into tonight's game against the Sherwood Warriors. Needless to say, she (along with the other Senators/Blazers, freshmen Annie Denenberg and Shante Henderson) was tired. And it showed: She struggled at the plate and from the mound more than she has all year for the Blazers in a 10-0 drubbing.
"We expect a lot out of Michelle at the plate and pitching. We need her playing her best for us to succeed," said Coach Louis Hoelman. She was not at her best, forcing catcher Emily O'Brien to scramble for pitches in the dirt and over her head far more than usual. Hoelman relieved Linford in the sixth for junior Carin Cox.
Blair's defense, which had been tight in the team's blowout of Magruder last Thursday, looked hazy throughout the game. On one play, home plate was left completely unguarded with two Sherwood runners in scoring position as O'Brien and Linford went after a short ball. The team registered five errors in all.
Those errors might have been less noticeable had the Blazers been hitting as they did against Magruder. O'Brien continued to hit well and senior co-captains Amy Ernst and Becca Feiden filled out their bunt-and-run roles as well as always, but even with runners in scoring position the team couldn't get anyone across. "We didn't hit in clutch situations," said Hoelman. "We had a runner on base almost every inning but we couldn't finish it off."
Sherwood's first run came home because of the game's first two errors: First freshman left fielder Anna Szapiro dropped a fly ball to get the leadoff batter on the bases, then shortstop Ernst missed a grounder to her left, allowing the runner to cross the plate. "We're still starting off every game with an error," Hoelman said. "I think it hurts our team confidence in the field, the girls make an error or see someone else make an error and they play on their heels. They don't play aggressively; they just hope the ball won't come to them."
Linford's usual gas looked a little low starting in the second, when a Sherwood batter smashed a ball to deep right for a triple. She scored when Linford threw a wild pitch past O'Brien. It was all downhill from there. There were encouraging moments: good catches in the outfield, a few beautiful infield plays. But the Blazers were thoroughly beaten by the undefeated Warriors and their own inability to produce. "Either we have to play perfect D or hit really well," said Hoelman. "We didn't do either."
Blair next plays at Seneca Valley, April 26 at 3:30 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 »