Amy Finlayson struck out the first seven batters and went on to pitch a two-hitter as Bel Air defeated No. 13 Aberdeen, 6-3, in a Harford County non-league game yesterday at Aberdeen.
"Without a doubt, when your pitcher throws seven strikeouts in a row, people are going to be confident," said Bel Air coach Valerie Cooper. "It helps at both ends of the field, because the kids feel good batting and they feel good in the field."
Finlayson, a junior right-hander, finished with 10 strikeouts and one walk. She also got some help from her offense early, and Bel Air never trailed.
The Bobcats (2-1) managed just five hits, but almost all figured in run-scoring rallies. The Eagles also helped Bel Air with seven errors.
In the second inning, Bel Air used its first two hits along with two Aberdeen errors to post a 2-0 lead.
After Sherry Godbee reached on an error and Ashleigh Carter singled, both moved up on a passed ball. Shelby Robbins followed with another single to drive in Godbee. Carter later scored on an error.
The Bobcats added another run in the third as Danett Jablecki scored on Carter's fly ball.
In the fourth inning, the Eagles committed three errors to help the Bobcats score three more runs on a single hit by Jamie Kocher.
The Eagles' error-plagued defense overshadowed a fine pitching performance by Jackie Elliott. Another junior right-hander, Elliott allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked two.
"People have got to remember we have a young team out there," said Aberdeen coach Janie Robinson, who has only three seniors with more than a year of varsity experience. "The problem I'm facing is I don't have any leadership on the field. Jackie can't turn around and tell everybody what to do."
Aberdeen didn't get a hit until the fifth, but the Eagles loaded the bases with their first three batters of the inning. Krista Matherly walked and Lisa Williamson and Melissa Gerdom hit back-to-back singles.
Matherly scored on Tinisha Moore's fly ball. Williamson came home on Michele Bennett's ground out. The Eagles got their final run in the sixth after Tonia Moorehead reached second on an error. She stole third and later scored on Billie Jo Sill's ground out.
Co-champions in Harford County last season, the young Eagles (0-3) have struggled this year.
The Eagles, however, will get another shot at Bel Air. The two meet in a Harford County league game later this season.