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Blue Devils writing their own history

Greencastle-Antrim advances to quarterfinals of PIAA Class AAA state tournament

Greencastle-Antrim advances to quarterfinals of PIAA Class AAA state tournament

June 03, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

NEWVILLE, Pa. -- Greencastle-Antrim's softball team likes making history. Maybe that's because the Blue Devils are getting pretty good at it.

Fresh off winning their first-ever PIAA District 3-AAA title last week, the Blue Devils kept rolling with their first-ever state tournament victory, scoring four runs in the fifth inning Monday on the way to a 5-3 triumph over Nazareth Academy at the Heishman Softball Complex.

"I just want the girls to not be satisfied," Greencastle coach Jaime Richardson said. "(If they) keep working, good things can happen."

Good things already are happening for the Blue Devils (22-4), who will face Milton in the quarterfinals on Thursday at a time and place to be announced.

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Greencastle pitcher Autumn Appleby (15-2) continued her string of strong outings. She got hit hard three times -- Erica Cipolloni led off the fourth inning with a home run to right-center field, and in the sixth, Emily Grzywna hit an RBI triple to center and Megan Fields followed with an RBI double to right-center -- but she was otherwise effective.

Nazareth (20-3) starter Amanda Fernandez was just as tough, mixing speeds to baffle the Blue Devils through three innings. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Greencastle finally broke through.

Katy Bobbitt led off with a single down the left-field line. Rochelle Christman followed with a fielder's choice to short, with Bobbitt out at second. Christman took second on a wild pitch and scored on Kayla Pond's single up the middle for a 1-1 tie.

"It was just really nice to get a hit," Pond said. "I haven't been hitting well. I was excited to (drive in) a run, and I think that boosted the spirits of everyone else."

In the fifth, Nazareth sent Cipolloni to the circle in relief of Fernandez, and the hard-throwing Cipolloni was just what Greencastle needed. Kali Ball beat out an infield single, and Cheyenne Melius ripped a two-strike pitch into the right-field gap for an RBI double and a 2-1 lead.

"I'm a sucker for a changeup," said Melius, who struck out in her first at-bat against Fernandez. "When it's a fast pitcher, you don't get fooled, you just swing and either you hit it or you don't. That's how I like it. I just kept my hands back and waited for it to come."

Brittany Norling pinch ran for Melius and reached third on a wild pitch. Reagan Fuller walked, and another wild pitch scored Norling for a 3-1 lead and moved Fuller to second. That was the last pitch Cipolloni threw as Nazarene put Fernandez back in the circle.

"They made that change, and the first pitcher had us off a bit," Richardson said. "When they made that change and went to a faster pitcher, our kids adjusted, put the ball in play and had a big inning."

Greencastle scored two more runs when Pond's grounder to second was booted for an error, making it 5-1.

Nazareth made it interesting with the two runs in the sixth, but in the seventh, Appleby made her pitches and induced three routine groundouts to give Greencastle a historic win.

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