'Cats arrive as Warriors' journey ends

May 17, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

BOONSBORO - The Williamsport softball team celebrated a birthday on Tuesday.

It was the day the Wildcats came of age ... and they celebrated by blowing out Boonsboro's playoff candle.

Youthful Williamsport showed the instincts of a much older team and took advantage of every opening provided by the Warriors for a 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs.

"That's what we have been emphasizing," Williamsport coach Tom Dzur said. "They have come a long way. The starting lineup today featured five players who didn't play any varsity games until the end of last season. It took the whole year, but they have come along."

Williamsport, which plays at Allegany today at 4:30 p.m., was able to get runners on base and apply the pressure needed to score runs on two critical Boonsboro errors. The icing on the birthday cake, though, came defensively while nursing the 2-0 lead in the fifth inning.


Boonsboro threatened by loading the bases against starter Jessica Bennett on walks to Courtney Long and Sam Frew and a Kim Snavely single. With Katelyn Patrey at the plate, Williamsport catcher Emily Myers took a chance.

She caught Boonsboro courtesy runner Jetta Williams leaning off third base and threw down to Courtney Hutchinson for a possible pickoff. It resulted in a rundown with Myers making the tag, but she didn't stop there.

On a signal from second baseman Jessica Patey, Myers fired to second to catch courtesy runner Megan Hart with her head down to complete the pickoff double play and get the Wildcats' out of the inning with their two-run lead intact.

"We worked on that all season and even more in the playoffs," Myers said. "I saw the big lead and we knew what to do. We had the two-run lead but (the pickoffs) gave us a boost of confidence and got us over the top. I think we have come a long way and we proved it today."

And it put a huge exclamation point at the end of all of Dzur's emphasis.

"It was magnificent the way (Myers) reacted to that play," he said. "We were in a lot of trouble. I didn't expect her throw to third. It was her call. And then, she held her composure and instead of celebrating, she made the throw to second."

The play all but snuffed out Boonsboro's chances to pull the game out.

"That all comes when you have underclassmen who are scared," Boonsboro coach Lisa Lewis said. "We practice base running, breaking down and reading the catcher. It caught me by surprise."

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jessica Patey reached on a fielder's choice grounder and stole second with two outs. Courtney Hutchinson hit a slow roller to third base that Jessica Ambrose charged but threw wide to first to allow the run to score.

Williamsport picked up the insurance run in the fourth when Myers walked and took second on a fielder's choice before Casey Siler hit a grounder that rolled up Patrey's arm at second base for an error to notch the 2-0 lead.

From there Bennett worked through the Boonsboro lineup even though she allowed the Warriors all four of their hits in the late innings. She secured the shutout with six strikeouts.

"We just made the errors in the spots when they had runners on," Lewis said. "It was bad breaks. We beat them twice in the regular season. They had nothing to lose and we played with jitters."

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