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Little things loom large

Devils capitalize on Maidens' errors in 10-inning victory

Devils capitalize on Maidens' errors in 10-inning victory

April 25, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - When runs are at a premium - like they were in Tuesday's softball clash between No. 3 Greencastle-Antrim and No. 4 Waynesboro - the little things stop being little.

With Blue Devils ace Sarah Signore and Maidens ace Taryn Ashway matching each other pitch for pitch and strikeout for strikeout - each finished with 16 - Waynesboro's failure to execute twice in the field was the difference as Greencastle pulled out a 10-inning, 2-1 victory.

The Blue Devils (9-2) scored both of their runs with help from the Maidens (7-3).

In the third inning, Signore singled. Rachel Statler, the courtesy runner for Signore, took second on a wild pitch, then raced around third heading for home on Roxanne DeWalt's single up the middle. Center fielder Katie Zak came up throwing, but her throw sailed all the way to the backstop. Statler, who would have been out by 20 feet on a good throw, crossed the plate for a 1-0 lead.

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"It's those little things," Waynesboro coach Doug Stuart said. "We didn't execute early in the game. Things like not hitting cutoffs. That's execution and defense, and whoever executes and plays good defense wins."

Signore cruised through three innings, got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth, then struck out the side in the fifth and sixth to preserve the 1-0 lead.

"She was in a groove today, working up and down with different pitches," Greencastle coach Jamie Richardson said.

But the Maidens tied the game at 1 in the seventh. Ashway, leading off, fought off several tough pitches before doubling down the left-field line.

"I don't know what (pitch) it was," Ashway said. "I was looking for something nice, and if it wasn't, I just tried to foul it off and wait for my pitch."

Signore struck out Mallory Wishard, but Boo Kuhn followed with a triple down the right-field line to send Ashway home with the tying run. However, Kuhn never got a chance to score the winning run, as a popped-up bunt and a flyout to right - with Amanda Ritchey making a basket catch running in - ended the inning.

Waynesboro got runners into scoring position in the ninth and 10th, but failed to get them home.

"When you put yourself in position to win, what more can you ask for?" Stuart said.

Greencastle had an opportunity in the eighth when, with two outs, Rochelle Christman singled to center and the ball got past Zak. Christman raced around the bases and was sent home, where she was gunned down to keep the score tied.

"We're usually aggressive on the bases, as you can tell," Richardson said. "They had to make two perfect throws to get her out."

Greencastle finally ended it in the 10th. With one out, Signore - who struck out in her previous two at-bats and missed on a bunt attempt for strike one - got a bunt down and beat the throw to first.

"The game of softball, from 40 feet away, if you blink it's in the catcher's glove," Signore said. "I knew if I got the bunt down, I could beat it out."

Signore took second on a wild pitch before DeWalt hit a grounder to shortstop Emily Wilson, whose throw to first was wild and went out of play, allowing Signore to score the winning run.

"Last year, these 10- or 11-inning games, we were on the short end of the stick," Richardson said. "This year, maybe we'll be on the right end, and I think that comes down to experience and execution."

Signore allowed six hits and walked none for the Blue Devils.

"With Sarah, you know you're going to be in every game, and she's only going to give up one or two runs," Richardson said.

Ashway allowed nine hits and one walk in the tough loss. She also finished with two hits.

"I can't say enough about Ashway," Stuart said. "If there's anyone better, I don't know who it is. She has to do everything for us, hitting and pitching."

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