Colonels Varsity Fastpitch Softball: 2003
|Thursday, April 3, 2003; Sport Pages|
Magruder Stays Unbeaten
The Colonels overcame the sloppy play and choppy flow better than the Blue Devils and won at Springbrook, 7-5. Magruder's patience and emphasis on fundamental plays were the difference, as the Colonels took better advantage of scoring opportunities.
Springbrook (2-1) scored four of its five runs in the third inning and left a total of 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. By contrast, Magruder (3-0) moved runners along with frequent bunts and scored in four different innings.
``We like to try everything, just to keep them guessing,'' Magruder coach Kathleen Mulholland said. ``We try to just work it and make sure they can throw those balls in there. We want to bunt and slap or hit, so they just don't know.''
The Colonels waited patiently against the hard-throwing Colleen Callan, forcing her to throw strikes. Often she didn't, walking five and hitting a batter before leaving the game in the seventh inning.
Magruder pitcher Jen Gregorski walked nine batters though, so that statistic in and of itself was not the difference. Magruder won because it capitalized on those situations; four of the six Colonels who received free passes came around to score.
Trailing 4-3 in the top of the fifth, Magruder used small-ball to tie the game. With one out, Cat Ebert walked, then advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch. Eileen Piwowarczyk, Magruder's No. 3 hitter, then bunted. Callan threw her out at first, but Ebert took off from third and beat first baseman Sarah Donnelly's throw home for a successful safety squeeze to knot the game at 4.
The Colonels took the lead in the sixth. First baseman Alison Kelly laced a double down the right field line and Catherine Canning reached first after being hit by a pitch. Callan then battled back with a strikeout and Liz Blackwell advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. It was an unusual play to give up the second out with the No. 9 hitter on deck, but it worked for Mulholland.
Alexa Datt stepped to the plate and singled up the middle, which scored Kelly and gave Magruder a 5-4 lead. Amanda Griswold then walked to load the bases for Ebert, who popped up to the center fielder Melissa Samowitz. However, Samowitz misplayed the ball, allowing Ebert to reach first and Canning to score. Piwowarczyk then grounded to second baseman Erica Holt, who mishandled the ball. Datt scored, but Griswold was nailed at the plate trying to follow her.
Springbrook mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh. The Blue Devils loaded the bases with one out. Liz Abrahamson flew out to center field, but Shannon Wright walked to force in a run. However, Samowitz popped up to second with the winning run aboard to end the threat and the game.
The walks and miscues led to an uneven flow, which Mulholland noticed.
``It was a slow game,'' she said. ``It felt really off-pace.''
But Mulholland believes winning games that don't proceed smoothly will help her inexperienced squad later in the season. As it stands now, she's pleased with the Colonels' progress after losing a huge chunk of her team from last year.
``Every single game has been a learning experience this year,'' Mulholland said. ``I don't know if it's a surprise. I knew we'd be tight in the games. And then for us to come out on top is a nice little feather in their cap. I know they have it; it's just whether we gel completely as a team early in the season.''