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Hancock unable to solve Blazers

May 02, 2002|BY BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - There is an old adage that says almost only counts in the game of horseshoes.

Or, maybe anytime Hancock plays Clear Spring in the game of softball.

Leadoff hitter Tawnya Blair ripped a 2-2 pitch over second base to drive in Karen Worthington in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Blazers came from behind to beat Hancock 3-2 Wednesday.

For the Blazers, the win continued a streak over their backyard rivals that extends back to the Class 1A West championship game in 1994 - the last time the Panthers came out on top in the series.

But for the present-day Panthers, who have lost four of five, the game marked another outing with an all-too-familiar ending and left first-year coach Heather Creek wondering "what if."

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"This is getting to be a habit we really don't want to start," Creek said. "We worked hard today and we were in a position to win, but in this game anyway, Clear Spring had the last say."

The Blazers (10-6) plated the initial run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Blair singled up the middle and came home on Jamie Poffenberger's line drive single to right-center. That lead held up until the Panthers came to bat in the fifth.

Stacey Yeakle did her part, pitching out of potential trouble in the third inning as Hancock stranded Katie Golden on third.

Golden also settled in after the first inning, stonewalling the Blazers without a hit or walk until the fatal seventh inning.

"That's the way all these games between these two schools end up," Clear Spring coach Drew Michael said. "It is hard to think back and find games that weren't close."

Close, but ... well, you know the rest.

The Panthers plated two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead. Freshman Ashley Creek beat out an infield hit down the line and Sharon McCarty bunted her way on at first allowing Creek to reach third. The Panthers then executed a double steal scoring Creek and moving McCarty to second.

Golden helped her own cause by singling in McCarty.

"It was a perfectly executed inning," Creek said. "We were aggressive and the kids really worked the short game."

The Blazers, although feeling somewhat desperate, did not panic.

"Coach Michael told us how important it was we win this game," Jackie Wolfe said. "I don't think we were as nervous as we were confident."

Wolfe, the No. 9 hitter, laid down a perfect bunt to keep the inning alive for Blair's heroics.

"We needed to put an 'L' on them and get this game for us," Michael said. "One win could mean the difference in how the playoff seedings come out."

Hancock drops to 9-6. Ashley Creek had two hits for the Panthers.

No. 10 C. Spring 3, Hancock 2

Hancock 0000200-261

Clear Spring 1000002-370

Golden and Pittman. Yeakle and Keeney. WP - Yeakle. LP - Golden.

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