North rallies to edge Blazers

March 28, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — North Hagerstown was down, but not out, in its MVAL Antietam softball game against Clear Spring on Monday.

The Blazers were up 7-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, after rallying for five runs against the Hubs’ Lauren Harbaugh in the top of the frame. However, two innings and six runs later, North was celebrating an 8-7 victory, much to the delight of Hubs coach Amanda Fleming.

“The first thing I said to my players was how proud I was of them,” said Fleming. “We produced runs, we hit the ball hard and we made this win happen.”

Harbaugh and leadoff batter Danielle Wissinger singled to start the fifth. A throwing error and singles by Alyson Breeden and Faith Ricker scored Harbaugh, Wissinger and Shannon Plunkett to cut the Hubs’ deficit to 7-5.

Harbaugh got hit by a pitch in the sixth inning to reach base, and Wissinger followed with another single. Breeden brought them both home with a two-run single to tie the game and later scored the go-ahead run on a single by Amanda Firey.

“The top of the lineup are our power hitters, and the rest of the lineup just finds ways to get on base,” Fleming said.

“They may have the best leadoff batters in Washington County,” Clear Spring coach Roland Baker said. “We hit the ball but so did they. This a tough loss on the road.”

The Hubs (1-2) and Blazers (2-1) were locked in a 2-2 contest through fourth innings. Harbaugh and Clear Spring’s Amber Forrest had nearly identical pitching lines, each tossing two strikeouts and two walks.   

But then Clear Spring blew the game open. A sacrifice bunt by Sarah Elwood brought in Jenna Knable, followed by an error that scored Haley Thorn. Jose Stotler knocked in two runs with a double, and Heather Schlotterbeck scored Stotler with a double of her own.

Harbaugh might have labored in the fifth inning, but Fleming didn’t lose faith in her. Harbaugh regained her composure and held the Blazers to one hit and no runs over the final two innings.

“I just asked her to believe in herself. This was her very first start and I’ve seen her pitch a few innings,” said Fleming. “I knew she could dig deep and get herself out of it.”

“If a couple of situations went different, it could have changed things, but this game was up for grabs and we let it get away,” said Baker.

North Hagerstown 8, Clear Spring 7
Clear Spring    001    150    0    —    7    11    4
N. Hagerstown    200    033    x    —    8    9    2
Forrest and Knable. Harbaugh and Breeden. WP — Harbaugh. LP — Forrest.

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