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Panthers blank Spartans

April 11, 2002|BY BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - For Hancock softball coach Heather Creek, the seventh inning of Wednesday's 4-0 victory over McConnellsburg was deja vu all over again.

And in the end, it really was a familiar finish for Spartans coach Craig Elbin.

Definitely, the two have seen this happen before.

Hancock grabbed a seemingly comfortable four-run lead heading into the final inning, only to watch McConnellsburg load the bases with two outs and bring the tying run to the plate. The Panthers, though, closed the deal, as Katie Golden got a strikeout to preserve a victory - and the legs of her teammates.

"I told them that if we lost this game in the last inning, they can leave the gloves at home and bring the running shoes tomorrow," Creek said. "We lost too many of those games in the same scenario over the last few weeks and I know they are tired of it. I know I am."

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The Panthers had dropped four of their five games - and led in the sixth inning of all of them. But Golden knew she and her teammates were would not let this one get away.

"I said, 'Oh no you don't,'" Golden recalled about the final batter. "I made up my mind I was going to throw hard and strike her out."

For McConnellsburg (3-3), the seventh inning was a prime example of the near-misses the Spartans suffered throughout the game.

"We played well defensively today," Elbin said. "Right now, we need a boost to regain that confidence we had. We are playing each phase of the game well, but we need to put it all together again."

In the second inning, Steph Paylor singled to left and went to second on Kelly Johnston's bunt. But with third base seemingly uncovered, Elbin told Paylor to advance.

It was covered, though. A perfect throw from second baseman Kate Pittman nailed Paylor, as Hancock third baseman Cassie Bingaman recovered in time. Golden then struck out Heather DeShong to end the inning.

In the fourth, Darcy Everetts drove a ball to deep center and was thrown out by Alicia Barnard trying to stretch a double into a triple.

"I'll tell you, I respect Barnard out there in centerfield," Elbin said. "I know I won't do that again with her there."

"I knew it would take a good throw to make a big play," Barnard said. "At that point, we needed a big play. Every play was big in this game."

Everetts had another strong outing on the mound, allowing just four hits and walking three, but the aggressive baserunning of the Panthers baffled and frustrated the Spatans. They scored twice from third on passed balls.

Hancock 4, McConnellsburg 0


McConn. 000 000 0 - 0 4 2

Hancock 003 010 x - 4 41

Everetts and DeShong. Golden and Chiaruttini. WP-Golden (6-4). LP-Everetts (3-3).

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