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Prep Softball: Leopards wrap up Antietam title

May 04, 2012|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG — The Smithsburg softball team celebrated Senior Day on Friday by defeating Catoctin 4-2 to claim their second straight MVAL Antietam Conference championship outright.

Smithsburg (17-1, 13-1) finished one game ahead of Clear Spring (14-2, 12-2) and two ahead of the Cougars (12-5, 11-3), who were hoping to create a three-way share of the Antietam title with a victory.

The Leopards — who finished second to Catoctin in 2010 — had other ideas.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “We have gotten better as the year has progressed. We continue to get clutch hits when we have to have them.”

Smithsburg junior Cara Ferguson — who has pitched every inning for the Leopards this season — excelled in the circle once again, tossing a six-hitter and allowing one earned run and one walk to get the complete-game victory. Ferguson struck out six.

“I struggled in the beginning,” Ferguson said, “but I managed to pull through. I was able to get some strikeouts and my defense was strong behind me. It’s very exciting to win the title and we worked very hard to get the win today. It was very close. It was intense, but it made it fun.”

“Cara did a great job hitting her spots today,” Barnhart said. “The defense played well behind her.”

The Cougars took a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat when Kaylee Krietz scored on a single to left by Sydney Reaver.

The Leopards tied the game in the second. Kinsey Shifflett singled to center and Ferguson singled to left to start the rally. Both runners moved up one base on a wild pitch. One out later, Sabrina Green hit a sacrifice fly to left to knock in Shifflett.

Catoctin regained the lead, 2-1, in the third. With one out, Stephanie Andrew singled to center. Reaver followed with an RBI triple to center.

Smithsburg took the lead for good with two runs in the fourth. With one out, Shifflett singled to left to set up Ferguson’sa RBI triple to center to tie the game. Freshman Kayla Huntzberry scored Ferguson with a sacrifice fly to center for the lead.

“We definitely pulled through when we needed to,” Ferguson said. “We selected pitches we could drive. I knew I had to explode on the ball and come through with a hit to keep us in the game.”

Smithsburg got an insurance run in the sixth. With one out, Brooke Parks doubled to right and scored when Shifflett reached on a throwing error.

“It was a tough game,” Catoctin coach Jessica Valentine said. “Smithsburg is a good team.”

Smithsburg 4, Catoctin 2
Catoctin    101    000    0    —    2    6    1
Smithsburg    010    201    x    —    4    6    2
Kinna and Andrew. Ferguson and Shifflett. WP — Ferguson (17-1). LP — Kinna.

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