Burns delivers for North County, 1-0

6th-inning double sneaks No. 2 Knights by Northeast despite Duvall's one-hitter

Softball

March 27, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Even a one-hitter is no guarantee against the North County softball team.

Senior catcher Caitlin Burns' RBI double in the sixth inning propelled the second-ranked and reigning Class 4A state champion Knights to a thrilling, 1-0 squeaker over No. 3 and host Northeast in Pasadena yesterday.

The outcome spoiled an exceptional outing by Eagles junior pitcher Kristin Duvall, who struck out seven and allowed just one hit.

But that hit came from Burns, whose two-out double to left drove in freshman second baseman Amanda Baldwin for the game's only run.

Burns, who played with Duvall on the same travel team two summers ago, said she thought her experience catching some of Duvall's pitches back then gave her an advantage.

"I know what she likes to do, and I was seeing her ball very well," said Burns, who struck out and grounded out in her first two at-bats. "Thankfully, I got a pitch I could hit."

Before Burns' heroics, the Knights (2-0 overall, 2-0 county) struggled against Duvall, a crafty right-hander who kept her opponents off-balance by hitting the corners for most of the game.

But in the top of the sixth with two outs, Baldwin reached first when Northeast freshman second baseman Ashley Gray bobbled a grounder. Burns then sent a 0-1 pitch over the head of senior left fielder Erin Hart.

The Eagles (1-1 overall, 1-1 county) had several opportunities to tie or even take the lead by placing runners on second base in the second, fifth and seventh innings.

But Northeast couldn't make a dent against North County junior pitcher Brittany Boyd, who struck out nine to earn the complete-game shutout.

"There were very few sticks out there today," said Eagles coach Marianne Shultz. "When we did get somebody on, we didn't capitalize on it."

Burns' double was a testament to the rivalry between the two programs, said Knights coach Bobby Boyd.

"When two teams like this play, it's not who wins it, but who gets the lucky break," said Boyd, whose team has won 14 straight games since last season. "Duvall threw a heck of a game. We just got the lucky break."

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