Karen Hay struck out seven, allowed just five hits, walked one, hit another batter and threw three wild pitches in seven innings' work in the opener of the Amateur Softball Association Junior Olympic Fastpitch tournament.
Her counterpart, Jen Holsinger, walked seven, struck out five and yielded three wild pitches in seven innings last night at Columbia's Cedar Lane Park.
Guess who got the win?
Hay's Tangerine Machine, one of three Anne Arundel-based teams competing in the 18-and-under tournament, made mistakes at the worst possible moments, allowing Holsinger's Columbus (Ohio) Jets to notch a 5-4 victory and banish the
Machine to a losers' bracket game tomorrow morning at 8 at Cedar Lane Park.
The Machine committed three errors with two outs in two different innings, leading to three unearned runs, and failed to capitalize on the Jets' lone miscue, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning with the tying run on third base.
"Both teams kicked around a couple of balls, but we just didn't take advantage of it," said Machine coach Tom Conley.
"I think if we had to come back [today], it would be tough, but they have a day, and we can start focusing on what we have to do."
For her part, Hay, a senior at North County High School, confessed to a bit of nerves, increased by her first appearance in a national tournament. Her composure was further rattled after a pair of first-inning errors by second baseman Tammy Kuebel, both with two outs.
"That put some pressure on me," said Hay.
After the first error, Hay gave up a run-scoring triple to Columbus catcher Cathy Holland and hit designated hitter Michele Federer with a pitch. The second run scored when first baseman Meg Wilkinson reached base on Kuebel's second error.
But the Machine came back to tie the score in the second, and went ahead in the third, when Hay drove in catcher Heather Issac with a two-out base hit to left.
The lead seemed to settle down Hay on the mound, as she held the Jets scoreless for four innings.
In the fifth, however, things went south, as Hay gave up three straight hits to start the inning, with two runs scoring on a base hit to center and the third coming on an error as leftfielder Tina Armstrong dropped a fly.
The Machine mounted one final threat in the seventh, with two down, on two base hits, a high throw to first and a walk. Shortstop Stephanie Lazor scored and the stage was set for first baseman Melissa Scarborough to drive in the tying and go-ahead run, but she struck out.
"We got a break at the end," said Conley. "We were one hit away from making up for all the mistakes, but we couldn't put the bat on the ball. But our kids played hard and that's all I can ask."
In other games played yesterday, Frederick County's Lewistown Tigers defeated N.J. Chips, 5-2; Texas Rose (Tex.) beat Broken Arrow Mustangs (Okla.), 3-1; OTB Yearlings (N.Y.) beat Southern Illusion (Fla.), 3-2.
The defending champions, Gordon's Panthers of LaPalma, Calif. beat Homer Hawks (Ill.), 2-0; Dynasty (Calif.) beat Mankato Peppers (Minn.), 5-0; OKC Ultimate (Okla.) beat Johnstown (Pa.) Jewels, 3-2; and the Wild Ones defeated Manchester (Mo.) Mustangs, 1-0 in 13 innings.