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Sier's single sends Smithsburg over South

May 14, 2003|by CELESTE SHEPPARD/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - Nicki Sier, the lone senior on the Smithsburg softball team, overcame her emotions and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Leopards over South Hagerstown 4-3 in the Class 1A West quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Sier stepped in with the bases loaded, but for a moment, the situation was too much. Sier, who had struck out twice, cried as she stood in the batter's box.

Smithsburg coach Brian Getz approached Sier for some encouragement. Getz believed in Sier, but she wasn't so sure.

"It was really scary. I thought we had already lost the game," Sier said. "Even though I was nervous, I didn't give up and did what I had to do."

Sier delivered a single to plate Candace Stanford and put the Leopards into a semifinal game today at Boonsboro.

While an upper classman delivered the late-inning heroics, sophomore pitcher Alyssa Reed who kept the Leopards in the hunt.

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Reed threw a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts by making an adjustment in her pitching motion midway through the game.

In the top of the third, the field umpire determined Reed was presenting the ball wrong by putting her hands together too many times before throwing.

After the umpire's ruling, Reed gave up two hits and threw a wild pitch to allow South's first run.

"I got mad and it affected my game for a moment," Reed said. "But I knew that I needed to work harder so I came out and did what I had to do."

"I just told her to pitch her game, which she did," Getz said. "She was coming off a week without pitching a game and pitched a great game."

The Rebels took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth as Ashley Atkinson drove in Jamie Fowler, who started the inning on second base under international tiebreaker rules.

In the Smithsburg half of the inning, Candace Stanford and Annie Brucksch each singled to load the bases and Fowler hit Julie Weaver with a pitch to score the tying run, setting up Sier for the game-winner.

Fowler pitched for the second night in a row for the Rebels, giving up six hits and six walks while striking out 11.

"Jamie looked great," South coach Sabrina McCoy said. "This is one of the better ball games I have seen her pitch."

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