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Leopards' powerful offense comes alive for ninth straight win

April 18, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — Smithsburg’s softball team extended its winning streak to nine games on Monday with a five-inning 16-2 victory over South Hagerstown in the MVAL Antietam.

Leopards pitcher Cara Ferguson earned the win with an efficient 58-pitch performance including five strikeouts.

The game was close early, as the Leopards (9-1, 7-0) held a 3-2 lead after two innings. Shayla Murray’s leadoff home run got Smithsburg going in a five-run third inning. Murray went 3-for-3.

“It was a good pitch, so I swung at it. Simple as that,” said Murray.

“(Shayla) doesn’t think much when she’s up at the plate, she finds her pitch and jumps on it,” said Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart.

Karah Knight and Brooke Parks walked and Sam Gladhill singled to load the bases. Ferguson hit a sacrifice fly to score Knight, Pam Hudson singled to score Gladhill, and Danielle Beaver’s two-run single scored Parks and Jessica Hartman.

After South Hagerstown’s Shayna Bickford and Randi Bartlett scored in the bottom of the first inning, the Rebels (0-8, 0-7) only had one more base runner in the fourth.

“I’ve been preaching that we need to play consistently. We have spurts of brilliance and then we lapse,” said South coach Angela Jeffries. “Their pitcher adjusted to our batters, but we weren’t able to adjust to theirs.”

The Rebels could not solve Ferguson, who struck out three using a changeup that ran to the outside corner.

“Tonight I shot for power and I tried to hit my spots, plus I knew my defense was behind me,” said Ferguson. “My change has really been on lately. I want to work the outside corner with it.”

Smithsburg scored two more runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth. Gladhill, Parks and Hartman each had two RBIs.

“Tonight we hit the ball really well and Cara had good control,” Barnhart said. “We just have to maintain focus and keep doing what we’re doing.”

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Smithsburg 16, South Hagerstown 2
Smithsburg    305    26    —    16    14    1
South    200    00    —    2    3    2
Ferguson and Shifflett. Bickford, Hinkle (5) and Showe. WP — Ferguson (8-1). LP — Bickford. HR — S: Murray (3rd, none on).

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