Reality as good as imagination for Barnisky, Applemen

March 24, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

INWOOD, W.Va. - Things didn't go exactly the way Tiffany Barnisky had imagined.

But then again, Musselman's designated hitter wasn't all that picky about it.

"It's not what I wanted, but it got the job done," Barnisky said.

She didn't hit all of the ball - it was only an infield single to second base. But it came with none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning and scored Courtni Williams with the game's only run on Thursday for a 1-0 victory over arch-rival Martinsburg.

It wasn't the most memorable of hits, but it came in a memorable situation.

"It was tough," Barnisky said. "We have been looking forward to this game all year. When you come up with the bases loaded, you just go up and hit the ball. I wasn't worried but I wanted to hit the ball through the infield to get in the run. It didn't go through, but it did get in the run."


Musselman overcame two Martinsburg scoring threats with a rally of its own in the seventh. Barnisky's hit brought an abupt end to a pitchers' duel between the Bulldogs' Lexi Rodgers and the Applemen's Faline Brown. The pair allowed a combined four hits while striking out 17.

It also ended what was a significant game - be it only the second of the season - for both teams for different reasons.

For Musselman (2-0), it was a big victory against an opponent that had been a huge monkey on the Applemen's back. A win over the Bulldogs easily becomes a benchmark feather in the Applemen's helmet.

"Anytime that you play a team that you might see in the region and it's a county team, it's big," Musselman coach Rick Kees said. "A lot of these girls play on traveling teams together and they want the one-upmanship. It's also big for us in the conference because the Apple Valley League only counts the first time you play each other for the standings."

For Martinsburg, the game became an early measuring stick.

"To be honest, we only have three returning starters and they have everyone back," Martinsburg coach Dean Ballenger said. "For us to only lose by one run is great."

Rodgers and Brown were in total control for the first five innings.

Martinsburg got its only hit of the game with Rodgers' two-out double to left, which was only held in the park by a prevailing wind that was blowing in. After that, Brown took control until the Bulldogs mounted their only other threat in the sixth.

Rodgers came up with Lauren Gregory on second and two outs, but struck out to end the threat.

"Lexi is our best stick, but she's not going to get a hit every time up," Ballenger said. "Faline pitched her well."

Rodgers kept Musselman in check, holding the Applemen hitless until the fifth inning. The wind came to Martinsburg's aid in the third when Jillian Shawyer finished a 12-pitch at-bat with a drive to the center-field fence that was caught by Tiffany Farmer.

Williams reached to open the Musselman seventh on a fielding error by Martinsburg third baseman Holly Temple. Brown moved Williams to third with a single to right and took second on the throw to the infield.

After Megan Holmes was intentionally walked to load the bases, Barnisky took Kees' advice before the at-bat and hit the grounder to second, which allowed Williams to beat Michelle Neiderer's throw to the plate to score the winning run.

"I told her to go up there and have fun and enjoy the moment," Kees said. "I said 'This is what it's all about - bottom of the seventh, bases loaded and you have the bat in your hands.'"

Brown allowed one hit while striking out 10. Rodgers took the hard-luck loss, allowing three hits while striking out seven in six innings.

The Herald-Mail Articles