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Smithsburg wakes up in time to crush Williamsport

April 11, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT — Sooner or later, Smithsburg’s loaded softball lineup does its damage.

Last week, the Leopards scored 13 runs on 14 hits in the first three innings of a 13-7 victory over North Hagerstown.

On Monday, Williamsport pitcher Ariah Giles kept Smithsburg at bay for five innings, but the Leopards scored 12 runs on 10 hits — with help from four Wildcats errors — in the final two innings to pull away for a 14-2 victory to remain unbeaten in the MVAL Antietam.

“They had a couple innings to see (Giles), and they make the adjustments on their own,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “They were a little quick in the beginning and were fouling off a lot of balls, but they got a couple little hits and got it going.”

The Leopards (7-1, 5-0) were led by sophomore Cara Ferguson, who hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning and an RBI bloop single in the seventh in addition to pitching a three-hitter with four strikeouts. Her only mistake was a pitch Kayla Ewing crushed for a two-run homer of her own in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2.

“I let that one hang,” Ferguson said. “I definitely try to mix my speeds with the change and make sure I constantly hit my spots. I tried to work on the outside of the plate.”

“She hits her spots and has a range of pitches,” Barnhart said. “Her changeup was on today, and her location was excellent.”

Eight of Smithsburg’s nine starters had at least one hit, and seven of them had at least two.

Dani Hudson — the No. 9 hitter — had three singles and an RBI. Brooke Parks had two hits with a double and two RBIs. Danielle Beaver had two singles, a walk and two RBIs. Karah Knight had two hits with a double and an RBI. Sam Gladhill had two singles and an RBI. Kinsey Shifflett added two hits, one a double.

Even Jessica Hartman — the one starter without a hit — drew two walks and scored a run to contribute as the Leopards went 16-for-40 (.400). The bottom three in the order went 7-for-13 (.538).

“I had confidence in my team,” Ferguson said. “I know we’re a good hitting team, and we came out ready to hit the ball. We knew we had to watch out for (Giles’) drop ball, so we made that adjustment and handled it well.”

Giles allowed two runs — one earned — on six hits in the first five innings, striking out four and walking one, to keep Williamsport (2-5, 1-4) in the game. But Smithsburg scored seven runs on seven hits and two errors in the sixth, and Ferguson’s homer chased Giles out of the game.

“I don’t know if she was tired, but she wasn’t locating the ball,” Wildcats coach Jennie Finafrock said. “ She was leaving it in the middle of the plate and I had to get her out of there.”

Finafrock was more concerned about her team’s six errors, many on simple plays.

“To be honest, I don’t know if they were mental errors as much as we looked like we didn’t want to be here today,” Finafrock said. “You can’t beat the best team in the county if you look like you don’t want to be here.”

Smithsburg 14, Williamsport 2
Smithsburg    110    007    5    —    14    16    1
Williamsport    000    200    0    —    2    3    6
Ferguson and Shifflett. Giles, Artz (6) and Ewing. WP — Ferguson (6-1). LP — Giles. HR — W: Ewing (4th, one on); S: Ferguson (6th, one on).

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