Western pitcher Tracy Gruzs wasn't as effective yesterday in Game 1 of the City-Wide A Conference championship series against Southern of Baltimore as she was in Monday's playoff victory.
But the result was the same for the host Doves, who beat the Bulldogs, 8-4, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Western (11-1) will attempt to sweep the series at 3:30 p.m. today at Riverside Park.
Gruzs, a sophomore, went the distance yesterday, allowing four runs and six hits, but only two of the hits came after the third inning, even though she showed signs of tiring in the last three innings.
"I was more focused for this game, but all my pitches weren't working," said Gruzs, who allowed one run and struck out six in Monday's win over Poly. "The heat was bad, but I've got a tendency to tire in the latter innings."
After Southern (11-4) had roughed up Gruzs for three runs in the top of third inning, the Doves scored seven in the bottom half.
With Western trailing, 4-2, and runners at first and second, Sonya Jones' single to left got away in the outfield, allowing both runners to score.
Jones scored the tie-breaking run on a passed ball by Southern. Ann Phillips' run-scoring single was followed by a pair of Bulldogs miscues -- a throwing error at the plate and another passed ball -- to complete the rally.
"In three games against them, we haven't been able to put together a good defensive game," said Southern coach Jack Neussman, whose team has lost each meeting with Western this season. "We're a better defensive team than we showed today, but we're going to play better tomorrow and, hopefully, Friday."