Liberty holds off Westminster Leeds' sacrifice lifts Lions, 3-2 Softball

April 08, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Visiting Liberty made an early one-run lead stick with solid pitching and fine defense and went on to a 3-2 win against Westminster yesterday in a county softball game.

It was the season opener for the Lions and marked a successful return for coach Bob Burger, who coached the Lions for seven years in the 1980s. Westminster's record dropped to 2-2.

Junior Robin Leeds' second-inning sacrifice fly, which scored senior Laura Veise, proved to be the game-winner. Pitchers Andrea Dixon and Charlene Rice combined to seven-hit the Owls.

After giving up two runs in the first, Dixon settled down and pitched three solid innings before giving way to Rice in the fourth. She pitched three scoreless innings and got out of a bases-loaded jam with the help of some clutch defense in Westminster's seventh inning to preserve the win.

"It's the kind of game we expected and were fortunate to come away with a win," said Burger.

"We scrapped for a few runs and then stood tall defensively," he said. "We're not going to win a lot of games against teams that score 10 runs, so these are the games we need to win."

The first four runs in the game were scored in the first inning and all came after two outs.

Liberty freshman shortstop Jessie Horneman drove in a pair of first-inning runs with a bloop single to give the Lions a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Dixon reached on an infield error and moved to third after senior catcher Amy Wolff drilled a double. Horneman scored them both as her lazy fly ball landed just past the diamond in center field.

The Owls got those two back against Dixon in the bottom of the first when junior center fielder Julie Backof lined a triple down the third-base line to score senior Gina Hughes -- who had singled with two outs. Backof scored on the same play as the Lions were not successful in getting the ball back in the infield.

Westminster's Stephanie Harrell pitched well in a losing cause, going the distance and allowing seven hits. Westminster coach Kathy Hodgkins was pleased with Harrell, along with the team's defense, but was left puzzled on where the Owls' offense went.

"That's usually not where we're going to struggle," she said of her team's usually reliable offense.

"Stephanie pitched a nice game and the defense played well behind her. But after Julie [Backof's] triple, we didn't get much from our 2-3-4 hitters, and that's where we've been getting the runs so far this season."

The Owls had their chance in the bottom of the seventh. Harrell beat out an infield grounder. One out later, Backof doubled to right to put runners on second and third.

Laura Braun was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Leeds made a nice catch of Jessie Furbay's liner at second and right fielder Kim Ross caught a sinking liner off the bat of pinch-hitter Meghan Green to end the game.

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