1 good burst lifts Chesapeake

No. 2 Cougars' 4-run third beats No. 7 Northeast, 4-2


March 27, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Chesapeake Cougars ran themselves into one productive inning on offense at Northeast and let Kristie Hurman's pitching and near-flawless defensive work take over in Anne Arundel County softball play yesterday.

It all meshed together nicely for the No. 2 Cougars, who came away with a 4-2 victory over the No. 7 Eagles in Pasadena.

Hurman allowed four hits and struck out nine, needing only four pitches in the last of the seventh to retire the Eagles as the Cougars (1-1) rebounded from a 5-1 season-opening loss to Delaware power Sussex on Monday.

"We pretty much played a good, solid ballgame, and it was good to see them respond positively after Monday," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger.

The four-run third inning came with the Cougars down 1-0, and featured small ball at its best.

Meghan Hickman opened with a line-drive single up the middle, and then Emily Bolling earned a walk.

After leadoff hitter Brooke Owen laid down a sacrifice bunt to move up the runners, Amanda Santoni singled home Hickman. Tracey Dahlen grounded out to the right side to bring home Bolling; Brittany Owen had a run-scoring single, stole two bases and scored on a throwing error to make it 4-1.

"We have a good chance to go a long way this season if we play like we did today," Owen said.

With the 4-1 lead in the third, Hurman, her first season as the Cougars' No. 1 starter, retired the side three of the last five innings. She made quick work of Northeast in the seventh. Hickman made a nice grab at second, Bolling got to a liner in center and Hurman helped herself by cleanly fielding a bunt to protect the lead late.

"She had pretty good command of her stuff, and she's been working on keeping the ball down," Ellenberger said. "We're telling her to keep it in the vicinity and let the defense do its job."

Northeast pitcher Ashley Gray allowed just five hits and singled and scored the Eagles' first run with catcher Rachelle Wedell pushing a bunt between first and second to drive her in. Carolyn Jenkins singled and scored in the sixth.

"It's disappointing," said Northeast coach Marianne Shultz. "We've always counted on our defense and it wasn't there today. We had our heads down in the process [of the four-run third inning] and that's what's most disappointing. We usually work our way out of that with less harm and then battle our way back. But it's also early and we're young so this is part of the learning process."

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