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No. 1 Eagles bounce back to nip 'Dogs

April 25, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Hedgesville softball coach Larry Laing was looking to see what moxy his team had with a quick turnaround following Monday's 4-0 loss to Jefferson.

The No. 1 Eagles responded in nip-and-tuck fashion, as battles usually are with Martinsburg, posting a 3-2 victory at Anderson Field on Tuesday night.

"We had some chances and didn't take advantage of them Monday," said Laing. "I told the players before the game that they were much better than they showed. And it was a big section game tonight."

The win was Hedgesville's (20-3) third in four meetings against No. 6 Martinsburg (18-7). In a meeting on April 2, Jessica Shirley bested Lexi Rodgers in a 3-0 shutout.

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Tuesday, Shirley again got the better of Rodgers as the Eagles made a 3-0 lead after two innings stand tall.

Shirley wasn't overpowering with only four strikeouts, but she scattered six hits, walked only one and relied on a steady defense that included two outstanding efforts by Brittany Kolb in center field.

"We knew the importance of the game in the section to get homefield advantage," said Shirley. "And, to beat Lexi is special because they are such a rival."

Rodgers recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed only five hits and one walk, but Hedgesville made them count with four of the hits in the first two innings.

"We talked before the game about being aggressive against Rodgers," said Laing. "I could handle swinging strikeouts being aggressive. We hit the ball and had key hits."

After Rodgers struck out the first two batters she walked Sara Forney, who went to second on a passed ball and scored on Shirley's single to left.

Samantha Mumaw led off the second with an infield hit and was sacrificed to second. Mumaw went to third after getting a late jump on Heather Payne's single to left, but managed to score on a bouncer to third by Ciera Nicholson. Mumaw broke with the throw to first to make it 2-0. Kolb then roped a double that scored Payne.

Martinsburg scored in the fourth on a two-out single by Kari Dancy and a triple by Jessica Russ that Kolb nearly flagged down in right-center.

The Bulldogs posed a serious threat in the sixth with a leadoff single by Tiffany Farmer and Rodgers' long poke for a double that brought Farmer around from first. However, Shirley buckled down and left Rodgers stranded at third.

"We left a runner at third base three times and just couldn't get a key hit," said Martinsburg coach Dean Ballenger, who also indicated that Rodgers, who has received a scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan, may get some rest for her overworked right arm.

"I'm thinking of giving her some time off the mound," he said. "She's thrown a lot of innings this year."

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