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Blazers take down Sentinels

May 14, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING -- A year ago, Fort Hill pounded Clear Spring 11-0 in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals on the way to the region championship.

On Thursday, Damara McDonough, Heather Schlotterbeck and the rest of the Blazers paid the Sentinels back in the 1A West first round.

McDonough pitched a seven-hitter with seven strikeouts in one of the best outings of her career, and Schlotterbeck set the tone with a double on the first pitch Fort Hill starter Cierra Miller threw and finished with two hits and an RBI in Clear Spring's 5-2 victory.

The Blazers will host Southern Garrett -- a 5-3 winner over Smithsburg -- on Monday in the 1A West quarterfinals.

McDonough (5-2) worked a 1-2-3 first inning before the Blazers (15-4) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Schlotterbeck led off by ripping a liner to the gap in left on a first-pitch fastball. McDonough walked, and with one out, Amber Forrest ripped a two-run double to the gap in right.

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"I know (Heather's) going to rip the ball when she's up there. She's a spark plug," Blazers coach Ron Baker said. (Amber) strokes the ball. She dealt with a lot of adversity early in the season, but check out her (.328) average now."

McDonough worked a 1-2-3 second before getting touched for two runs on three singles -- including Destiney Jones' two-run knock -- in the third. McDonough allowed a single in each of the last four innings, but maintained her composure and did not give up another run.

"I've been pitching since second grade, and this is what I've been working for," said McDonough. "All my pitches were working good. I think I kept them off balance. Our defense was strong. All of us were focused and ready. Fort Hill had some hits, but I was confident in myself tonight and my team. It was all about sticking together."

"(Damara's) a senior. She's supposed to do that," Baker said. "She worked the ball in and out and was very good. ... When my leaders are seniors, my job is a lot easier."

Clear Spring took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third without a hit, taking advantage of two errors by the Sentinels (13-8). In the fourth, Morgan Purdham drew a one-out walk and took second on Sarah Blickenstaff's sacrifice bunt before scoring on Schlotterbeck's RBI single for a 4-2 lead.

In the sixth, Purdham led off with a walk, took second on another sacrifice bunt by Blickenstaff and came around to score on two wild pitches to give the Blazers a 5-2 lead.

Clear Spring made no errors behind McDonough.

"Tonight, we stepped up," Baker said. "We didn't have a bad inning."

Clear Spring 5, Fort Hill 2
Fort Hill 002 000 0 -- 2 7 2
Clear Spring 201 101 x -- 5 4 0

Miller and Lewis. McDonough and Leizear. WP -- McDonough (5-2). LP -- Miller.

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