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Blazers rout Rams

May 20, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • Clear Spring's Jenna Knable is tagged out by Southern Garrett catcher Lyndsey Glotfelty in a painful arrival at home plate in the second inning of Wednesday's Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinal game.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING -- It was the kind of situation that always puts a smile on Clear Spring softball coach Ron Baker's face.

First inning, two outs, bases loaded with a 4-3 lead and Heather Schlotterbeck -- one of Washington County's most dangerous hitters -- at the plate.

"She's the spark plug. I've said it before and I'll say it again," Baker said.

As she has done so many times this season, Schlotterbeck came through once again, ripping a double to the fence in the right-field gap to clear the bases and give the Blazers a 7-3 lead on the way to a five-inning 14-4 victory over Southern Garrett in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals on Wednesday.

"If the game is on the line and I have to pick someone to hit, I pick Heather every time, and I'll win more than I'll lose," Baker said. "I've never seen anyone more consistent in the batter's box, and she's only a sophomore."

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Clear Spring (16-4) will host Williamsport (13-7) this afternoon at 4:30 in the 1A West semifinals.

Schlotterbeck -- who hit .500 with 13 extra-base hits in the regular season and is 4-for-7 with two doubles and four RBIs in two playoff games -- put the cap on Clear Spring's seven-run first inning after starting it with one of five walks Southern Garrett starter Alysha Horner surrendered in the frame.

"She threw it right down the middle to me," Schlotterbeck said. "I just wanted to get a hit, and it turned out to be a double. I knew we were going to hit the ball and knew we could come back after falling down 2-0."

The Rams (6-13) -- who upset Smithsburg in the first round last week -- took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against Blazers starter Amber Forrest on two singles and a throwing error that scored both runners. That was one of four errors for Clear Spring.

But the Blazers' offense -- and six walks and three errors on Southern Garrett's part -- made up for their miscues.

"Tonight, we did the talking with our bats," Baker said. "We were OK on defense -- we've had sharper days -- but we made the plays we had to make."

In the first inning, Hannah Leizear hit an RBI bloop single and Clear Spring used aggressive base running -- including a double-steal of second and home -- to score two more runs.

Breanne Purdham capped a three-run second inning with a two-run homer just over the fence in right for a 10-3 lead.

"I was real surprised," Purdham said. "I thought I popped it up at first, and then it went out."

Clear Spring ended the game with a four-run fifth on four hits and two Rams errors to enact the 10-run rule. Sarah Blickenstaff and Damara McDonough hit RBI singles before Haley Thorn finished things with a walk-off RBI double.

It sets up a showdown with Williamsport, a team Clear Spring beat twice in the regular season but is coming off an impressive 10-3 upset of top-seed Catoctin in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

"We know Williamsport has had some bad times, and we know they're a good team," Baker said. "We've never taken them lightly, and we won't tomorrow."

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