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Prep Softball: Five-run fifth lifts Blue Devils

April 17, 2013|By SAM STEWART | Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Elizabeth Ward has shown extreme poise in her freshman year inside the circle for Greencastle.

That didn’t change on Wednesday in a seven-inning performance, while allowing one run on six hits in a 5-1 win over James Buchanan. The Blue Devils made the outing stand up with a five-run fifth inning.

Riding high after a recent 3–2 victory over Shippensburg, James Buchanan — led by Hannah Bingaman and Shania Fogelsonger — had rocketed to a 5–0 start in the Mid-Penn Colonial.

But the Rockets didn’t faze the freshman. Ward, filling in for injured Kelsey Brewbaker, just solidified herself as the ace of the team.

“I was very confident,” Ward said. “The defense behind me was very important.”

Fogelsonger led off the game with single before Bingaman blasted a bullet to the left-field fence. The throw from left beat Fogelsonger to the plate, but the crafty shortstop avoided the tag by Greencastle catcher Casey German to score.

Or so she thought.

The umpire, screened by Fogelsonger during her slide, called her out leading to an eruption in the James Buchanan bleachers.

“I thought she was out,” Greencastle coach Mark Decarli admitted with a smile after the game. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The play was heavily present throughout the first four innings as Ward and JB pitcher Taryn Miller mowed through the game. Miller (8–1), coming off the impressive win against Ship, was in a groove throughout the first four innings — allowing two hits and striking out two.

It all unraveled in the fifth inning.

Ward helped her cause by starting a rally with a one-out double to right center.

“I told myself (that) I want (to) hit this ball more than anything,” Ward said. “This was going to be the key and the start to a big inning.”

The freshman was right. The double — and increased patience at the plate — vaulted the Blue Devils to the five-run fifth.

“We had a scouting report to make (Miller) work,” Decarli said. “So the girls were getting the count in their favor and when they saw that fastball come down the middle, they unloaded on it.”

After Haleigh Regal advanced Ward to third on a bunt single, Mary Ward slapped a single down the left-field line to score the run. Casey German followed with an RBI single to give the Blue Devils a 2–0 lead.

Fogelsonger booted a grounder for an error to allow the Blue Devils to move to a 3-0 lead. Ashlynn Schaeffer capped the inning with a two-out, two-run double to the right-field fence, giving Greencastle a 5–0 edge.

Elizabeth Ward’s effort in the sixth and seventh innings sealed the victory. The Rockets scored their only run on a Janae Piper fielder’s choice in the seventh.

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