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Rebels swing away, knock off Hubs

April 17, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

South Hagerstown softball coach Angie Jeffries made a promise she could keep ... with exceptions.

"I told them if they would swing the bats hard, I'd stop calling the bunt sign," the first-year coach said. "I don't know if I would have stuck to it, though."

She didn't have to find out. The Rebels held their coach to her word by swinging away to mount three rallies - including a key two-run outburst in the fourth inning - to knock off cross-town rival North Hagerstown 4-1 Friday in a MVAL Antietam matchup.

The bottom half of South's lineup held Jeffries to her promise by going 4-for-9 with an RBI, two walks, a hit batter and three runs scored after the Rebels failed to push a run across in the first while using sacrifice bunts. It set up No. 2 hitter Christina Line's two-run double in the fourth to break a 1-1 tie and drive in the winning runs.

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"That doesn't usually happen for us," Jeffries said of the performance of the bottom four hitters. "We have been working on attacking the ball. We had been taking a lot of pitches and getting a lot of strikes. I've been trying to convince them that the first pitch is the best one to hit, especially in high school."

North (2-7, 0-4) took a 1-0 lead in the first with an unearned run. Sara Austin painted the left field line for a two-out double off South pitcher Jamie Fowler and scored when Christine Lohr dropped Sierra Routzahn's fly to left field.

The Rebels (4-4, 2-2) tried to get the run back in the bottom of the inning as Fowler led off by reaching on third baseman Cara Thompson's throwing error. But South failed to score after moving the runner to third by using sacrifice bunts by Line and Heather White. The one-run rally approach was scrapped shortly after that.

South became more patient as it became more aggressive. The bottom half of the lineup loaded the bases to set up Fowler's one-out single to tie the game at 1-1 in the second.

North pitcher Kelly Toms lost her control in the fourth inning as the Rebels took control of the game. Keli Dofflemyer drew a lead off walk, stole second and took third on Brooke Powell's single. Toms struck out the next two hitters before Line's double to right-center gave the 3-1 lead.

"Sometimes Kelly gets down on herself, but something snaps to get her back quickly," North coach Amanda Fleming said. "I thought our defense played well today, but South just had some things fall in today."

South added an insurance run in the fifth as Kara Williamson led off with a single and eventually scored on two-out single by Dofflemyer, the No. 7 hitter.

Fowler shut down North after the first inning, allowing just four other hits while striking out eight. Powell led South with two of the team's eight hits.

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