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Garnand calls on experience to top Hubs

April 24, 2008|By Jack Hill III

SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg junior pitcher Bethany Garnand knows how to get out of jams - she does it all the time while playing for the Tri-State Thunder travel softball organization year-round.

The experience benefitted her on Wednesday, when she helped the Leopards pull out a 7-5 victory over North Hagerstown.

"That helps me out with my pitching game," Garnand said. "It gives me a lot of repetition. I didn't have my best game pitching, but my players in the field really helped me out today. The offensive support that I got helped me out tremendously. I knew that I had a lot of backup, so that made me throw a lot harder."

North (7-5) threatened in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Caroline Kreiger doubled to right and moved to third when Alyssa Collier singled to center. Collier later stole second.

But Garnand got both Shanan Plunkett and Lindsay Irving to strike out swinging to end the game and give Smithsburg the win.

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"I knew that Shanan and Lindsay were solid hitters," Garnand said. "But I just threw hard and didn't think about it. If I would think about it, then that would slow my pitches down."

Garnand struck out 10 and gave up only one walk and three earned runs for the complete-game win, raising her record to 8-5.

"Bethany stepped up her pitching and threw an awesome game," Smithsburg coach Brian Getz said. "She kept them guessing. She moved the ball around. She got the strikeouts when they counted. The defense also stepped up. Our girls came out and hit the ball. They really believed in themselves. Our girls were focused and they were determined to win."

Smithsburg (8-5) got on the scoreboard first in the first inning on Garnand's solo homer to left with two outs.

North tied the score at 1 in the second when Schnee Keller singled home Tanaishia Russ.

The Leopards took the lead for good at 3-1 with two runs in the bottom of the second. Paige Decker singled home Danielle Beaver and later scored on a throwing error.

Smithsburg added three runs in the third on an RBI fielder's choice grounder by Dani Hudson, an RBI triple to right by Beaver and an RBI single to left by Tiffany Souders to build its lead to 6-1.

The Hubs scored four runs in the fifth to chop the lead down to 6-5. The first two runs scored on errors and the last two runs scored on a two-run triple to right by Plunkett.

The Leopards got their final run in the bottom of the fifth when Katie Sprecher doubled to left and scored on a throwing error.

"I was proud of the girls for the comeback that they made in the fifth inning," North coach Amanda Fleming said. "We laid down a couple of bunts and ran the bases well. But it was too little, too late."

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