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Beard, Wildcats fight off jitters to turn back Hubs in comeback

March 25, 2009|By JACK HILL III

Kelly Beard was down, but not out.

The senior pitcher and the Williamsport softball team shook off an early four-run deficit on Wedneseday to scratch out a 5-4 season-opening win over North Hagerstown.

"Well, that first inning was a struggle," Beard said. "I wasn't in my groove. Once I was able to get into my groove, I had more confidence."

Beard needed all the confidence and her teammates after allowing North to score four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

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"I was just glad that we didn't get down on ourselves," Beard said. "Our team refused to quit, which is not a bad thing at all."

Beard struggled early, giving up the four runs on three hits in the first. She was touched for two more hits in the second. But after that, Beard settled down and retired North's final 16 batters.

Beard struck out 11 without allowing a walk and only gave up two earned runs.

"Kelly was dominating today," Williamsport coach Tom Dzur said. "The ball was popping into the glove. I thought her control was excellent. It was pinpoint control. She kept getting stronger as the game went along. She got into her rhythm."

Williamsport tied the score with a four-run third inning and took the lead with a run in the top of the fourth.

Ariah Giles started the winning rally with a walk and took second on a sacrifice by Brittany Heller. One out later, Giles scored on Alexis Fisher's single to right.

"I was real pleased," Dzur said. "The first inning was very shaky. Nobody quit and we came back a few innings later. This is only the first game of the season and some of the kids surprised me by hitting some line shots. They put some mustard on the ball."

Felicia Bohn got two hits, Fisher had two RBIs and Giles scored two runs for the Wildcats.

Caroline Kreiger and Alyssa Collier led the Hubs with two hits each.

"Our girls played a great game," North coach Amanda Fleming said. "We came out ready to play in the beginning. We had great defensive plays. The girls came out and started the game ready to hit the ball. They got some good hits. You know it is never going to be an easy game when you play Williamsport."

Williamsport 5, N. Hagerstown 4
Williamsport 004 100 0 -- 5 4 4
North 400 000 0 -- 4 5 1

Beard and Horchner. Re. Amalfitano, Ra. Amalfitano (4) and Breeden. WP -- Beard (1-0). LP -- Re. Amalfitano (0-1).

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