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Blazers play opener in midseason form

March 20, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING -- It was hard to tell Clear Spring's softball team was playing its season opener on Friday.

The Blazers appeared to be in midseason form.

Damara McDonough was solid in the circle, the top three hitters in Clear Spring's lineup combined for three hits, four walks, five runs and four RBIs, and the Blazers were sharper than Boonsboro in a 6-2 MVAL Antietam victory.

"We beat a good team," Blazers coach Ron Baker said. "Boonsboro is an excellent team. We knew we'd have to battle and get some breaks, and we got them, but we also played hard and with determination. Our girls were really focused today."

Clear Spring (1-0, 1-0) took control with a pair of three-run innings in the third and fourth.

In the third, Boonsboro pitcher Amber Welch -- making the first varsity start of her career -- walked Heather Schlotterbeck and Amber Forrest, the second walk coming after getting ahead 0-2 in the count. McDonough followed with a deep fly ball over the head of left fielder Jessica Manuel for a two-run double. McDonough took third on an error and scored on Hannah Leizear's infield single.

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"(Amber) was nervous," Warriors coach Lisa Lewis said. "Now the first-game jitters are gone and she's got to focus on throwing first-pitch strikes and working the corners."

With one out in the fourth, Breanne Purdham hit a hard grounder that took a bad hop into Boonsboro shortstop Breanne Lohman's chest. Lohman's throw was just late as Purdham reached on the infield single. Schlotterbeck followed with an RBI triple to the right-field gap and Forrest doubled down the left-field line to drive in Schlotterbeck. Forrest scored on Leizear's groundout.

"Hitting is contagious," Baker said. "All it takes is one or two girls making something happen, and they all can catch fire. We know we can win now."

Boonsboro (0-1, 0-1) scored its runs in the fourth and sixth innings. In the fourth, Hayle Payne lined a double to the fence in right and she went to third on Lohman's flyout and scored on Manuel's sacrifice fly to right. In the sixth, Lohman reached on an infield single, went to second on Manuel's sacrifice bunt, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Courtney Alves' groundout to second.

That was all McDonough gave up. She allowed five hits and three walks while striking out four in a complete game.

Both teams made some nice defensive plays. Boonsboro catcher Alison Griffith made a diving grab in front of home plate in the second, and Katie Marshall threw a rocket from center field to double up Leizear at third base for a double play in the third. Forrest made a leaping grab at second base to rob Manuel of a hit in the second.

Clear Spring 6, Boonsboro 2
Boonsboro 000 101 0 -- 2 5 2
Clear Spring 003 300 x -- 6 8 1

Welch and Griffith. McDonough and Leizear. WP -- McDonough (1-0). LP -- Welch (0-1).

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