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Jefferson goes on the defensive to win

May 06, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER - Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va.

The Jefferson softball team chose a good time to morph into a sharp defensive team Thursday against Hedgesville.

Jefferson had a tough time fielding some of the routine plays early in the game, but caught the ones that counted when the Eagles threatened as the Cougars held on for a 6-5 victory at Anderson Field.

Trailing 6-4, Hedgesville appeared primed for a late rally after its first three runners reached in the bottom of the sixth. Brittany Kolb reached on an error by Jefferson center fielder Anita Clark, moved to second on a single by Samantha Nazelrod and scored on a long single to left by Emily Cunningham to pull the Eagles to within one run with no outs.

A passed ball on a swinging third strike moved Sara Good, who courtesy ran for Nazelrod, to third and Cunningham to second with one out. After Lisa Sandford popped out to second base for the second out, Eagles cleanup hitter Taylor Munson came to the plate with a chance to take the lead. Munson smacked a hard grounder down the third-base line, but Jefferson third baseman Jessica Dibble gobbled it up and fired to first to get the Cougars - who had made three errors - out of the inning with a 6-5 lead.

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"That's been the way this team is. It's like two different teams," Jefferson coach Leslie Simpson said. "They kept their cool and kept their heads up."

The Cougars capped the game with a perfect seventh, featuring yet another a pair of defensive gems. First baseman Brooke Shipe made an out-saving dig and Dibble nabbed another hard-hit ball down the line to seal the win.

"(Dibble) made some nice plays. They all made nice plays at a time when we needed some clutch hits," said Hedgesville coach Larry Laing. "The girls have to come through when we have them in position ... and I don't know why they didn't."

The offenses for both teams were aided by errors early in the game. In the top of the first, Shipe and Jodi Haynes had back-to-back hits and scored on a pair of Hedgesville throwing errors. Katlin Thorsell later scored on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

The Eagles took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second. Jennie Finafrock and Allison Bowman each scored on Jefferson infield errors, extending the inning to allow Laura Boarman and Sandford to hit run-scoring singles to give Hedgesville a 4-3 lead.

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