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Blue Devils reroute their playoff road

May 24, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

NEWVILLE, Pa. - For two years, Greencastle-Antrim was unable to get past the first round of the PIAA District 3 softball playoffs against Muhlenberg. It was a different opponent, but the way things were going on Tuesday, it looked like the Blue Devils might fail again in the tournament.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and runners on in each of the next three, the Blue Devils were locked in a 0-0 tie with West York.

"I thought, 'Let's not go through this again,'" said Greencastle coach Jamie Richardson.

They didn't. The Blue Devils (21-3) manufactured two fifth-innings runs and held off the Bulldogs (12-9) for a 2-1 victory to gain a berth to play either Manheim Central or Susquehannock on Thursday.

"I felt good with what we were doing in the first inning but we couldn't get a run," said Richardson. "We didn't take (West York) lightly. Two years ago we were 12-8, so you learn not to take teams lightly."

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Again, freshman Rochelle Christman was a big part of the Greencastle rally that began after two were out and the bases empty in the home fifth.

Brittany Main and Kris Root each singled off West York pitcher Paige Sacripont before Christman came up.

On a 2-1 count, Christman bounced a slow chopper to short and showed good speed to beat the throw as Main scored the first run. Root never stopped churning on the play and easily scored what became the decisive run.

"(Rochelle) is a major bat on this team in the 4-hole," said Richardson. "She's a tough batter to face ... something special."

"The pitch was kinda outside and I got ahead of it a little bit," said Christman.

Sarah Signore dodged a potential bullet in the West York first, stranding two runners. She wasn't threatened again until the seventh, allowing only one hit.

Carly McWilliams led off with a double and stopped at third on Brittany Palmer's one-out single to left. Signore fanned pinch-hitter Katelyn Andrews but served up a single to Courtney Albright to score McWilliams.

Signore finished off the Bulldogs' rally when Ashley Delker tried an unsuccessful bunt with two strikes and went in the book as Signore's 13th strikeout victim.

"I wasn't on as much as I could have been ... I really didn't have everything but my screwball worked well for me," said Signore.

After throwing 24 innings in tournament play last week, Signore was ready for some rest for her right arm.

"She didn't throw a ball for what, four or five days, and got some rest," said Richardson.

Richardson said he thought the Blue Devils did a good job defensively, handling five pop flys in extremely windy conditions.

"I think they've worked as hard on defense all year as anything else," said Richardson.

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