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Bulldogs stay hot by sweeping Blazers

April 30, 1999

Martinsburg over Clear SpringBy DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg softball coach Mike Mackey says his team is playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Right now, Clear Spring coach Drew Michael is the latest to be convinced.

[cont. from sports page]

The No. 8 Bulldogs scratched out a four-run sixth inning for a 7-6 victory in game one of a doubleheader Thursday, then used the stellar pitching of Tabi Merceruio in game two for a 6-3 victory and a sweep of the No. 10 Blazers.

"I think they're legit," Michael said after game one. "They deserve their ranking."

Martinsburg (16-7) didn't get there easy, though. Tied 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth in game one, the Bulldogs had four straight hits off Melanie Price to blow the game open.

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The biggest shot was the shortest of them all - Leslie Henry's blooper to right. Lacey Weller pulled up on the ball and it fell a foot in front of her, allowing the first run of the inning to score.

"We just needed to make a play in the sixth," Michael said. "We needed to have somebody step up. I told her (Weller) afterward, even if you miss, the run's going to score. There were two out then ...

"It's just a game of what if, what if ..."

It turned out to be a game of almost after the Blazers (8-6) turned in three runs in the top of the seventh and put the tying run on third with one out. After a mound conference, Christee Anderson got a pair of sharp ground balls to strand pinch runner Allison Gozora and end the game.

"Our pitching is there," Mackey said. "As long as the defense comes to play, we're all right. Christee threw real well coming off a win last night."

Brandy Rotruck had three hits for the Bulldogs, which spread its offense out in the win. It was the total opposite for Clear Spring, which got two hits and three RBIs from Karla Wright. The Blazers stayed in it despite an 0-for-16 effort from its top four batters in the lineup.

"Karla is swinging the bat better than anyone else right now," Michael said. "We're just not getting much out of the top of the lineup. Sometimes, that happens."

* In game two, Merceruio, a freshman, struck out 12 in a two-hitter for Martinsburg. Amber Hull had three hits and Emily Yost added two for the Bulldogs, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings.

"(Game one) was the first time in a while," Mackey said. "We've usually been getting those early runs. But the defense picked us up and helped us out."

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