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Red-hot Wildcats reach Class 1A title game

Red-hot Wildcats reach Class 1A title game

May 23, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

GLEN BURNIE, Md. - If hitting really is contagious, Williamsport's softball team may want to put off finding the cure until after this weekend.

The Wildcats have a state title to win first.

Williamsport left North Point's young squad feeling ill in the Maryland Class 1A semifinals Tuesday, scoring four runs in the first inning and eight more in the second on the way to a five-inning, 14-1 rout of the Eagles, giving the Wildcats a spot in the championship game.

"I told the kids, 'If I could have bottled this from Day 1, I would have,'" Williamsport coach Tom Dzur said.

The Wildcats (17-5) will play Colonel Richardson (18-3) - a 2-1 winner over Bohemia Manor in Tuesday's other semifinal - on Friday or Saturday at a time to be determined.

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Williamsport wasted little time putting away North Point (9-12), a second-year school with no juniors or seniors that blasted its way through the relatively weak 1A South region to reach the state semifinals at Bachman Park.

After pitcher Kelly Beard worked her way out of a two-on, two-out jam in the first, Emily Myers singled to start the bottom half - the first of three straight singles by the Wildcats.

Jessica Bennett and Beard followed with hits - Beard's scored Myers - and Jessica Patey's grounder led to a double error that allowed Bennett and Beard to score and Patey to reach second. Patey stole third and scored on Casey Siler's groundout for a 4-0 lead.

"After Emily got the first hit, (the adrenaline) started flowing and we went from there," said Alexis Fisher, who did her damage in the second.

Fisher led off the inning fighting off a 1-2 pitch the opposite way through the hole at short for a single. Myers singled to center, and one-out walks to Beard and Patey forced Fisher in to make it 5-0.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Emily Huff doubled to left center to clear them and make the score 8-0.

"We've been hitting good the last few games," Huff said. "We got over our nerves and went for it. We want to hang a banner on the (gym) wall."

Beth Decker's single drove in Huff, and Ali Zube walked to bring Fisher up for the second time in the inning. Again, the freshman fell behind in the count, and again she took a two-strike pitch the opposite way - but this time she did so with authority, driving it deep down the left-field line for a three-run home run and a 12-0 advantage.

"Everything, if it was pitched outside, I went for it," Fisher said. "I didn't think it would go as far as it did, it felt like the first one I hit. I think it was the adrenaline."

"I've watched them develop over the year, especially the freshmen, and it all comes to fruition in a game like this ... that's very pleasing as a coach," Dzur said.

Singles by Beard and Patey in the third led to Williamsport's other two runs. Beard took care of the rest with her drop ball and a nasty changeup, allowing five hits and one run while walking two and striking out three.

"I was throwing (the changeup) for strikes today, so I'd rather throw that than the drop," Beard said. "I like the way we're playing. Everyone's hitting the ball."

"Some of her changeups were outstanding, just back-breakers," Dzur said. "The pitching's been good, the fielding today was fine, and hitting - we just pounded the ball."

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