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Sharp blasts Hawks out of the Region XX tourney

May 09, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - All season long, the Hagerstown Community College softball team overcame adversity.

The Hawks expected it.

So when the chips were down against rival Potomac State in the opening round of the Region XX Tournament at Kemps Mill on Saturday, Brooks wasn't surprised that his Hawks battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the sixth inning to pull even at 4-4 heading into the eighth.

But the ending was a shocker.

Catamounts pitcher Kasey Sharp hit a gargantuan walk-off homer over the left-field fence in the bottom of the eighth inning as Potomac State won 5-4, knocking host HCC from the tournament.

"Heartbreaker," HCC coach Dave Brooks said, as he stared hard at the left-field fence. "That was a big-time swing and she got all of it."

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"That was my pitch. I really like them there," Sharp said. "I didn't want to see us come this far and lose it. But this was a team effort long before the home run."

On the mound, Sharp's power, mixed with an uncanny riser, kept the Hawks off-balance in the early innings.

Sharp's shot dimmed an otherwise brilliant pitching performance by HCC sophomore Chelsea Jolliffe, who scattered seven hits and never allowed more than one run in any inning. Jolliffe, a Williamsport High School graduate, struck out four and walked one.

"Chelsea pitched a great game," Brooks said. "She certainly kept us in it, especially when they got multiple runners on in a few innings."

Potomac State went up 2-0 with runs in the first and third innings.

The Hawks got their offense started in the sixth. Dee Brown reached on a walk, went all the way to third on a sacrifice by Ashley Gray and scored HCC's first run on a single up the middle by Jolliffe.

Potomac State added a run in the bottom of the sixth for a 3-1 lead, before the Hawks' offense came alive in the top of the seventh.

Megan Simmons reached on a walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Brandi Drummond then drilled a 1-2 pitch to left for a double, scoring Simmons. A single by Megan Creek put Drummond on third, and a triple by Brown scored Simmons and Drummond to give HCC a 4-3 lead.

"At that point I guess I was a little nervous," Potomac State coach John Stone said. "Hagerstown kept fighting back and we knew it would be that way."

But the Catamounts were able to tie the score on a single by Heather Hedrick and a double off the fence by Reeves in the bottom of the seventh, setting up Sharp's heroics in the eighth.

"One hit beat us," Brooks said. "But I want to say that my team never quit. They battled to the end and never gave up."|None

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