One run enough to boost N. Carroll

With bats mostly silent, No. 8 Panthers persevere, beat South Carroll, 1-0


April 03, 2003|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last year, North Carroll's softball team was everybody's favorite maulers at the plate, hitting its way to a berth in the state Class 3A title game.

This year, coach Lloyd Ford says the Panthers will need to play little ball to compete. Yesterday at South Carroll, a little little ball was good enough.

The eighth-ranked Panthers (4-0, 3-0) spoiled an excellent outing by South Carroll pitcher Becka Roland to claim a hard-fought 1-0 win in a Carroll County league game.

North Carroll had to make several good defensive plays to preserve the win, including a play at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"We graduated four of our top five hitters," Ford said, "so we have to find other ways to win. This is what we're going to be dealing with on a regular basis until we start to hit."

The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth largely because of Roland, who struck out 14. The Panthers used one of her few mistakes to take the lead.

Roland retired the first two hitters in the sixth but walked the Panthers' Allie Honkofsky, who advanced to second on a passed ball, and scored when catcher Emily Trainor singled between second base and the shortstop.

The Cavaliers (2-1, 1-1) started the bottom of the sixth with a double over the third base bag by Lisa Heinrich, one of her two on the day. Heinrich advanced to third on a wild pitch, then her luck ran out.

With Heinrich on third and Michelle Middleman on first, South Carroll's Megan Gorsuch grounded to second baseman Jessica Pickard, who fired the ball to first baseman Jenna Trumpower. Trumpower threw the ball back to Pollard, who fired a dart back to Trainor, the catcher, to nail Heinrich at the plate and preserve the lead.

"We practice that every day," Pickard said. "I was running toward second, and I didn't see her break, so I just threw it and our catcher made a great play."

The Panthers had a chance to score earlier in the game, but a running error between third and home allowed South Carroll catcher Gorsuch to tag out pitcher Jessica Smith at the plate to keep the game scoreless.

"We haven't been hitting, so we had to turn the defense up," Smith said. "I believe in my infield, and I knew they would carry us until we started hitting later in the game."

Said Ford: "I wouldn't say this is a rebuilding year for us. It's more like a remolding year. We're young, but we have some experience. We can still win; we just need to do it a different way."

For South Carroll, the loss was tough to digest.

"We would have liked to win, but it's the one mistake that usually wins the game," said coach Charlie Fazenbaker. "If you're asking, am I angry, then no. We shouldn't be angry, but we should learn from this."

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