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Panthers put Gaels away early

May 05, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

If only St. Maria Goretti's softball team could erase the first two innings of Tuesday's game against No. 9 Hancock.

The Panthers managed only one hit in the two frames, but they took advantage of five walks, three errors, a hit batter and several wild pitches for eight runs and cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Gaels.

"They've got to pick it up from the very beginning and not let it get away," Goretti coach Sandi Michaels said. "But you have to give it to them for coming back and picking it up."

Hancock (11-5) didn't waste any time taking advantage of all the miscues, running the bases aggressively at any sign of trouble. The Panthers scored three first-inning runs on wild pitches.

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"We like to run and be aggressive, and fortunately we were able to do that today," Panthers coach Heather Creek said. "We only had nine players due to injuries and illnesses so we didn't have much of a bench. We had to be aggressive to pad a lead to help the defense."

Goretti (2-13) played even with the Panthers over the final five innings, thanks to a three-run third inning in which the Gaels strung together four straight hits - Erin Haney's single, Elena Prieston's double, Erin Donoghue's single and Lauren Barton's double - and took advantage of a Panthers fielding error.

Hancock starter Adrienne Kesecker went the distance, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out eight. Kesecker, Amber Fields and Ashley Creek hit RBI singles for the Panthers.

Jenn Bockrath relieved Goretti starter Prieston in the second inning, and Prieston, who moved to short, later left the game after after a hard collison on a play at second. Bockrath allowed three runs on three hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings.

"Jenn came in and did a wonderful job finishing the game," Michaels said. "And the bats picked up, even though we didn't always get (the runners) in."

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