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Golden silences Berkeley Springs

April 20, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Silence is Golden. Michelle Golden, that is.

Except when she has a bat in her hands.

The Southern Fulton pitcher retired 20 of the last 22 Berkeley Springs hitters she faced on Tuesday afternoon, then crushed a triple to start a four-run seventh inning as Southern Fulton put away a close game to win, 8-2.

Early on, all the shouting was coming from the Berkeley dugout. Its first five batters (5-9) teed off on Golden, using a walk, two singles and a fielder's choice for a 2-0 lead.

But when Golden found her changeup, the shouting stopped.

"Michelle didn't feel real comfortable out there early," Southern Fulton coach Brown Cutchall said. "It was just fastball, fastball, fastball - and they teed off. ... She's got to mix them up, when she does that, she's tough. That was the difference."

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And Berkeley coach Greg Brown knew it.

"After that first inning, I thought, 'Hey, things might be good,'" said Brown, whose team has lost five straight. "But she's tough ... She's good enough to adjust to things like that. You saw it today."

After that early outburst, Golden didn't allow a runner past second base. And her teammates started making noise in the third despite not hitting a ball farther than 35 feet.

The Indians used a bunt single, a passed ball on a strikeout, a wild pitch and an error to score three runs for a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

"We tend to have one bad inning every game and it comes back to haunt us," Brown said. "But that's part of the game. We've got to get that out."

That extra batter was exactly what Cutchall was looking for after Ashley Waugh shut down his team in the first two innings.

"We don't come up popping the ball," Cutchall said. "We pick up on those errors, take that extra base ... we'll take whatever they give us."

They didn't get much else until the seventh, when Southern (5-2) did use its bats to drown out a final Berkeley rallying cry, with four runs on four hits, all starting with Golden's triple.

"Our three and four hitters, Michelle and Amy (Fischer), have really been hitting the ball well," Cutchall said. "And Heather Smartt (the leadoff batter) has been getting on base a lot. That sets up the 3-4, and they've been cracking the ball."

Golden, Fischer and Smartt all had two hits for Southern, while Missy Mellott had three - two of them crucial bunt singles.

"Other teams really capitalize against us," Brown said. "We just can't get that hit when we get the opportunity."

In this case, Golden never gave them the chance.

"We're both pretty young teams," Cutchall said. "And they played good. But they left us a little bit here and a little there, and that's what we were looking for."

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