Leopards establish lead, then hold off Cougars for victory

April 27, 2011|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG — The Smithsburg softball team built a 6-0 lead. It was just enough to win.

The Leopards withstood a comeback attempt by Catoctin on Wednesday to hold on for a 6-5 MVAL Antietam victory.

“I think we played a solid game overall, despite a few mental lapses,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “We need to continue to work hard every day in practice, so that we can peak for the playoffs.”

Smithsburg (11-2, 9-1) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when leadoff batter Shayla Murray reached on an error and scored on Brooke Parks grounder to shortstop.

The Leopards added a run in the third when Murray got hit by a pitch and eventually scored when Cara Ferguson was also hit by a pitch.

Smithsburg batted around to score four runs in the fourth to move to a 6-0 lead. Jessica Hartman, Danielle Beaver and Murray notched consecutive singles with one out to load the bases. Karah Knight ripped a base-clearing triple to left-center field. Knight scored on Sam Gladhill’s sacrifice fly to left-center.

“I just knew I had to do something,” Knight said. “The bases were loaded and you can’t leave somebody on. I’m very happy about the win. We came through in the beginning, which we usually don’t do.

“We all hit really good. We have very strong hitters all the way through the lineup. I think we have a really big chance of going far. After our loss to Boonsboro, we turned it around and worked harder.”

Knight, Murray and Beaver had two hits each for the Leopards.

“Karah Knight really helped us out with a big three-run triple when we needed it,” Barnhart said. “We did a good job of getting in the hitters’ count. We found the good pitches that we needed to hit and we were able to drive them.”

Ferguson consistently found the strike zone to get the complete-game victory while allowing just two walks. She blanked Catoctin (10-2, 7-2) for the first five innings.

“Cara Ferguson pitched an excellent game,” Barnhart said. “She hit her spots really well and she showed a lot of poise.”

The Cougars scored two runs in the sixth on a pair of throwing errors and added three runs in the seventh on a two-run triple by Rachel Marlow and a RBI infield single by Carly Farr.

Cady Baer had three hits for the Cougars.

“You can’t give a team like that a lot of runs,” Catoctin coach Jessica Valentine said. “We had some mental errors. We struggled in the beginning. We made some adjustments and we started to hit the ball really well. We had a lot of heart.”

Smithsburg 6, Catoctin 5
Catoctin    000    002    3    —    5    11    1
Smithsburg    101    400    x    —    6    10    2
Kinna, Drieu (4) and Andrew. Ferguson and Shifflett. WP — Ferguson. LP — Kinna.

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