7th-inning runs lift Scorpions

April 06, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

When Hammond catcher Amy Nestor picked off Oakland Mills' Jenny St. Clair at third in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Golden Bears appeared on the brink of a huge comeback victory.

With the Bears ahead 9-8 and one out, pitcher Nicole Owe intentionally walked Valerie Brammer to load the bases. Before Brammer reached first, Nestor fired a strike to Jessica Cyran at third, catching St. Clair off the base.

That left the Scorpions, who had led the game 8-0, in a deep hole. With two out and runners on first and second, the Scorpions were down to their No. 9 batter. Oakland Mills coach Joe Staub sent up pinch hitter Ashleigh Snell instead.

When Owe tossed a wild pitch, pinch runner Kristie Greene made a slow break for third. Nestor recovered the ball in the dirt and fired down to third, but the ball sailed over Cyran's head into left field.

By the time the Bears came up with the ball, Greene had scored and Brammer followed her in to give the host Scorpions a 10-9 victory yesterday in the Howard County league opener for both teams.

"Every once in a while you get lucky," said Staub. "[Nestor] is such a good player and you'd never expect her to do that. But on the other hand, we played hard, and we would have been disappointed to have lost the game."

The Scorpions (1-1) ran up their eight-run lead in the first two innings. They sent 11 batters to the plate in the second, scoring seven runs on three singles, three walks and a couple of Hammond errors.

Kristen Ostlie had the big hit -- a two-run double while St. Clair also had an RBI single.

"We're not really a team that usually leads by a lot," said Ostlie, a senior center fielder. "It felt pretty good, but it felt even better to come back and win at the end. We needed this win for our confidence."

Hammond (0-3) did not get a hit off Scorpions' starter Diane Browne in the first two innings, but the Bears rocked her for eight straight singles in the third. Cyran, Nestor, Candi Holmes and Rebecca Robinson all knocked over runs in the inning.

Browne, who had good control all day, allowed 14 hits but only two extra-base hits. One of those, a two-run homer to Holmes in the seventh, tied the game at 8-8.

After that, Robinson blooped a single to shallow center to score Tanja Owe from third with the go-ahead run.

At 5-2, Browne can't overpower the opposition, so she hits the corners and keeps the batters off balance.

Yesterday, the junior walked just one batter and struck out five -- including the final two batters of the Bears' six-run inning.

"I'm not real fast and I'm small, so I don't have the power most big girls do," said Browne. "I concentrate on mechanics, because if my mechanics are perfect, I get maximum speed."

On the other hand, Bears freshman Nicole Owe got off to a shaky start, but she settled down after the first two innings, allowing only two base runners between the third to sixth innings.

Although she gave up only half as many hits as Browne, Owe, who has good speed, walked eight and tossed a handful of wild pitches. She only struck out two, but one of them ended the Scorpions' seven-run second-inning rally.

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