CLEAR SPRING — Amber Forrest started the 2011 softball season right where she left off in 2010 — mixing pitches, throwing strikes and leading Clear Spring to victory.
Forrest pitched a five-inning one-hit shutout with six strikeouts, and Haley Thorn had three hits — including two doubles — and drove in four runs in the Blazers’ 17-0 victory over Hancock in the season opener for both teams Monday.
“Amber is Amber,” Clear Spring coach Ron Baker said of his ace, who went 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA last season and earned Herald-Mail All-County First Team honors. “She was hitting her spots. I think there were only two balls hit hard.”
The Blazers (1-0) scored at least five runs in three of the four innings in which they batted. They took advantage of Panthers pitcher Tiffany Younker’s wildness, as she allowed eight walks and hit three batters in three innings.
Clear Spring scored five runs in the first inning on a bloop single by Heather Schlotterbeck, Thorn’s RBI single, four walks and two hit batters.
After Jenna Knable singled to lead off the second, Thorn reached base on a 6-4 fielder’s choice that retired Knable. Thorn stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a steal of home when Sara Elwood drew a throw from catcher Jessica Martin while stealing second, making the score 6-0.
Thorn’s two-run double and RBI singles by Knable and Sarah Blickenstaff highlighted the Blazers’ five-run third inning.
Emily Harvey relieved Younker in the fourth and found the strike zone, but also found the barrel of Clear Spring’s bats and was hurt by two errors as the Blazers capped the scoring with a six-run frame.
Schlotterbeck and Forrest led off with back-to-back doubles, and one out later, Thorn capped her day with an RBI double.
“Thorn was the difference today,” Baker said. “She knocked the cover off the ball.”
Thorn later scored on an error, Blickenstaff drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder and Mollie Kemp came off the bench to hit an RBI single.
Sara Wagner got Hancock’s lone hit off Forrest in the third, a hard grounder through the hole at short. Younker struck out five.